SAMe

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The beneficial effects of SAMe supplements are profound because of the central role SAMe plays in so many metabolic processes. Currently, there are four main uses of SAMe as a dietary supplement: depression, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and liver disorders.

 

What is SAMe and what does it do?


SAMe is formed in the body by combining the essential amino acid methionine with adenosyl triphosphate (ATP). B12 and folic acid are involved in the manufacture of SAMe, so a deficiency of these nutrients can lead to insufficient SAMe production.

SAMe is involved in over 40 biochemical reactions in the body. It works closely with folic acid and vitamin B12 in 'methylation' reactions. Methylation is the process of adding a single carbon unit (a methyl group) to another molecule. SAMe is often more effective at transferring methyl groups than other methyl donors. Methylation reactions are essential in the manufacture of many body components, especially brain chemicals, and in detoxification reactions.

SAMe is also required in the manufacture of all sulphur-containing compounds in the human body, including glutathione and various sulphur-containing cartilage components, including chondroitin sulphate.

 

SAM in depression:


Based on the results of clinical trials, it appears that SAMe is probably the most effective natural antidepressant. In fact, in these studies, SAMe has shown better results than conventional antidepressant drugs with fewer side effects. In addition to generalized depression, SAMe has been reported to produce significant effects in relieving postpartum (post-pregnancy) depression and in reducing anxiety and depression associated with drug detoxification and rehabilitation. SAMe supplementation in patients with depression is thought to improve mood through its ability to:
  • Raise serotonin, dopamine and phosphatidylserine levels.
  • Improve neurotransmitter binding to receptor sites, resulting in increased serotonin and dopamine activity.
  • Achieves fluidity and functionality of the cell membrane in the brain.

SAMe and fibromyalgia:


Fibromyalgia is a common cause of chronic musculoskeletal pain, depression and fatigue. SAMe has been shown in at least four clinical trials to produce excellent benefits in patients suffering from fibromyalgia. Improvements are noted by a significant reduction in the number of trigger points and painful areas, as well as improved mood. SAMe appears to be a very important supplement in these patients.

 

SAMe and liver disorders:


SAMe has been shown to be quite beneficial in several liver disorders, including cirrhosis, Gilbert's syndrome (defined below) and oral contraceptive-induced liver damage. Its benefits are related to its function as the main methyl donor in the liver and promotion of detoxification reactions.

 

SAMe and osteoarthritis:


SAMe has also shown impressive results in the treatment of osteoarthritis. A deficiency of SAMe in joint tissue, like a deficiency of glucosamine, leads to loss of gel form and absorbent qualities of cartilage. As a result, cartilage degeneration and osteoarthritis can develop.

SAMe has been studied in a total of 21,524 patients in detailed clinical trials. In these studies, SAMe demonstrated similar reductions in pain scores and clinical symptoms to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, indomethacin, naproxen and piroxicam. Although these drugs are associated with a significant risk of toxicity, side effects and actual disease promotion in osteoarthritis, SAMe offers similar benefits without risk or side effect.

SAMe is usually recommended at a dose of 200 to 400 mg twice daily. SAMe is generally extremely well tolerated. No significant side effects have been reported with oral SAMe other than occasional nausea and gastrointestinal upset. SAMe is considered safe during pregnancy and lactation.


 

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