[What You Might Not Know] Benefits of SAM-e: The Supplement

What you might not know about the benefits of SAM-e:

SAM-e is the acronym for S-adenosylmethionine and also known as SAMe. No wonder we call it SAMe (pronounced Sammy). It is approved by the FDA and used as a prescription in Europe for over 30 years in the treatment of various psychiatric and medical conditions. In the US, it’s been used as a supplement since 1999 and is available over the counter. 

I’m going to just call it SAMe for the purpose of this article.

SAMe is actually made in the body using folate and vitamin B12. Those low on folate and/or vitamin B12 often are running low on SAMe too, especially in people with depression or dementia (Sharma, et al., 2017). SAMe is not found in foods so our bodies have to manufacture it or we can take a supplement if we are low. 

SAMe is involved in over 100 methyl reactions in the body and is key in helping maintain cell-membrane integrity. It also is important for disease prevention and delaying disease progression. According to Mischoulon (2018) of the Psychopharmacology Institute and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, SAMe is also important for neurotransmitter synthesis. In particular, serotonin, dopamine, and acetylcholine, among others. It does cross the blood-brain barrier so is required by our brains.

For Depression:

Serotonin and dopamine are the ‘feel-good’ or happy neurotransmitters in the brain. Serotonin and dopamine being the main happy chemicals. The brain releases more dopamine when we do something pleasurable or eat something we crave. Low levels of dopamine can prompt addiction to drugs or alcohol to try to increase it. Some stimulants increase levels of dopamine in the brain. 

SAMe increases the levels of these feel-good hormones and is probably the reason it works for depression. To be honest, the research results are mixed in regard to SAMe for depression, but David Mischoulon M.D. (2018) felt there are enough positive results to say that, yes, it does indeed work for depression. The studies that did the best had people taking higher levels of SAMe, from 400-3200 mg a day.

For Osteoarthritis:

SAMe has been very useful for osteoarthritis pain. In fact, some studies have shown that oral SAMe is as effective as prescription painkillers (WebMD, 2019) for osteoarthritis pain, with less side effects. That is impressive. It takes longer to work, it’s a longer term treatment, but many people found relief without the side effects of prescription painkillers. Talk to your doctor about SAMe for arthritis pain.
 

For the Liver: 

SAMe is used for liver disease and in pregnant women who have too much bile in their livers in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy, a condition called cholestasis. Always check with your doctor before taking SAMe if you are pregnant. Apparently, SAMe synthesis is lower in people with liver disease and so adding it, in theory, helps the body in multiple ways. There isn’t a lot of research on SAMe and liver disease so talk with your doctor about SAMe if you have liver disease.
 

For Fibromyalgia: 

Researchers found people with fibromyalgia experienced significant improvement in pain levels when taking SAMe. 

 

For Alzheimer’s: 

Studies done with early-stage Alzheimer’s patient who were given SAMe along with some other neutriceuticals showed improvement in cognitive symptoms, mainly in memory function and word-finding. Since other supplements were included in the studies I read about, more research is needed to see the individual contribution SAMe may have for Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Common strengths available in SAMe supplements is about 400 mg per capsule. Check with your doctor for the proper dosing for you, but here are some general guidelines I found from the research.

For Depression: 800-1600 mg per day of oral supplement. Better results seen with 1600 mg per day.

For Osteoarthritis and Fibromyalgia: 600-1200 mg per day.

For Neurocognitive Disorders: 1600 mg per day.

Who Shouldn’t Take:

People with bipolar disorder should not take SAMe. It can cause increased mania.
 
People with HIV. With decreased immune function, a complication could result from SAMe. 
 
Anyone taking a prescription medication should check with your doctor before taking SAMe, just to be sure.
If you have diabetes and are on insulin, check with your doctor. 
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Puritan's Pride SAM-e 400 mg-30 Caplets

Puritan’s Pride SAM-e 400 mg-30 Caplets

SAM-e is a vital substance thats found in most of your cells and is essential to many biochemical reactions in the body. Because of that, it serves many roles,including promoting joint comfort and liver health,but its worth noting that SAM-e can support emotional well-being as well.** Discovered by Italian scientist Giulio Cantoni in 1952, SAM-e has been used extensively in Europe for more than 20 years. SAM-e may play a role in increasing the synthesis and breakdown of certain neurotransmitters and enhance the sensitivity of nerve receptors in the brain.** To put it simply, SAM-e could help in supporting your mood.** Because of age or other factors, levels of SAM-e can fluctuate or decline. And since SAM-e is not readily available in an everyday diet, a supplement may be just what you need to keep you moving with ease and feeling sunny and healthy. Supports mood and emotional well-being.** Promotes healthy joint mobility and comfort.** Supports liver health.** Contains a 10 day to one month supply of caplets.


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Thank you for reading about the benefits of SAMe! Please leave any questions, comments or your experience with SAMe below. And join the mailing list for updates on upcoming articles and information. 

Related Article: Best Natural Treatments: Depression

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4 thoughts on “[What You Might Not Know] Benefits of SAM-e: The Supplement”

  1. Hi,

     I thought your post was very instructive and sparked my interest. Can you advise me is this legal to buy and use in the UK?  I often wondered about the best vitamins/medications to take? Also, should i first consult a doctor in case of side effects? (I’m a big scardy ha ha) It does look very interesting however. thank you for your helpful advice.

    Kind Regards 

    Ron

    Reply
    • HI Ron. Thanks for reading! It appears to requires a prescription in most parts of Europe as it’s considered a drug there. It’s considered a supplement in the US. Well if you are on other medications, you might want to check with your doctor, but other than that, it has shown very few side effects. 

      Reply
  2. Hello Paula,

    This is a very informative article about SAMe supplement.  As you have mentioned SAMe seems like a good solution for wide range of diseases. Among everything its ability to increase the levels of feel-good hormones is very remarkable. Nothing beats good mental health and happiness. I have spent a lot of time with people who are suffering from depression and anxiety. So I have seen how eating delicious food and doing experiences never failed to bring a smile to their faces. I have read about the effects of serotonin and dopamine on our brain. So I am glad to hear that SAMe supplement help increase those hormone levels in our brain. Could you please tell whether there are any specific age that we might naturally have a low level of SAMe in our body?

    Reply

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