SAMe

Background

SAMe, also known by several names as S-Adenosyl Methione, S-adenosyl-L-methionine,  Ademethionine or Adomet, is the amino acid methionine bound to an ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) molecule; this molecule circulates in the blood naturally and acts as a ‘methyl donor’. In fact, SAMe is a methyl-group donor in the biosynthesis of hormones, neurotransmitters, nucleic acids, proteins, and phospholipids, which is often used as natural treatment alternatives for depression and arthritis.  Studies show that SAMe might be helpful for osteoarthritis as it improves the joint symptoms. SAMe supplementation may support emotional well-being by helping to balance neurotransmitters in the brain.[1]  SAMe is produced naturally within the human body from the precursors adenosine triphosphate and L-methionine. It is a natural supplement for reducing depression sometimes grouped in with nootropics and cognitive enhancers.

Benefits

There are certain researchers who think that SAMe may be just as effective as many anti-depressant medications presently available. SAMe is very helpful for relief from depression, osteoarthritis, and liver diseases.[2]
The efficacy of SAMe in relieving depressive syndromes and disorders is superior with that of placebo and comparable to that of standard tricyclic antidepressants. Since SAMe is a naturally occurring compound with relatively few side-effects, it is a potentially important relief for depression.[3]
The most common health benefits of SAMe include –

  • Reduce depression and anxiety [9]
  • Improve heart health [10]
  • Lessen abdominal pain, osteoarthritis, bursitis, tendonitis [11]
  • Reduce chronic lower back pain [12]
  • Effective for dementia, Alzheimer’s disease [13]
  • Help people against the aging process, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS),
  • Improve mental performance [14]
  • Help people who have liver disease, and Parkinson’s disease [15]
  • Used for attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) [16]

SAMe is also used for multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, seizures, migraine headache, lead poisoning, to break down a chemical in the body called bilirubin, or to help with disorders related to the buildup of a chemical called porphyrin or its precursors.[4]

How it works

SAMe has been noted to effectively cross the blood-brain barrier after intravenous administration.[5] SAMe helps to stimulate DNA cell division and repair, control gene transcription, the formation of neurotransmitters and phospholipids. In fact, it can even help to repair damage to cells, supporting their normal growth and differentiation and also serves to support cognitive function. SAMe also works by stimulating polyamine synthesis and increasing transsulfation. Polyamines catalyze the synthesis of a number of essential substances within the body. Many of these are essential for cell growth, gene expression and even neuron regeneration. Through transsulfation, this supplement is the precursor to the important amino acids cysteine, glutathione, and taurine.[6]
Some in vitro studies have suggested increase acetylcholine muscarinic receptor density following SAMe administration to both young and old rats. These two mechanisms may underlie the importance of SAMe in regulating cholinergic function in the brain, and may underlie possible therapeutic effects to Alzheimer’s Disease.[7]

Considerations

Side effects of SAMe are rare, and when they do occur they are usually minor problems such as nausea, digestive upsets, headache, restlessness, and insomnia. Although SAMe has been used to relieve cholestasis during pregnancy, its safety during pregnancy has not been established. Again, SAMe may decrease the effects of levodopa (L-dopa), a drug used to treat Parkinson’s disease. It’s also possible that SAMe might interact with drugs and dietary supplements that increase levels of serotonin (a chemical produced by nerve cells), such as antidepressants, L-tryptophan, and St. John’s wort.[8]  So, it’s always wise to consult an experienced physician before starting any supplement.

Recommendations

Though SAMe is a popular supplement for depression, there does not seem to be a generally accepted recommended dose for SAMe. However, depending on your purpose for its use, the daily range can be between 400 and 1,600 mg. If you look for help with depression, you can take between 800 and 1,600 mg; for osteoarthritis, take between 600 and 1,200 mg per day. For relieving of fibromyalgia, the suggested dosage can be 400 mg, twice per day for six weeks.
SAMe is best taken in several daily administrations. Start with a low dose on the order of 200 mg and then only increase slowly only when your body adjusts. Seek for advice from your doctor before doing that.

Sources