Since I became interested in the field of nutrition approximately ten years ago, early on my attention turned to a nutrient known as SAMe (S-adenosyl methionine). SAMe is a powerful antioxidant and is critical in the methylation cycle. This cycle provides the body the ability to repair cells and detoxify.
In the mid 1980s, a prestigious medical journal known as the American Journal of Medicine did an entire symposium on SAMe documenting benefits for various disease conditions. In the last several years, SAMe has become an extremely popular, over-the-counter supplement, although interest in this nutrient has lessened over the last couple of years. This may change very soon.
A government report recently concluded that the dietary supplement, SAMe, appears equally effective as prescription drugs for both depression and osteoarthritis. This was released in an evidence report summary on the supplement that was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources. A group of researchers examined 102 clinical trials regarding SAMe. This team of researchers worked for more than three years to conduct a literature review on these 102 clinical trials. The team’s key findings on SAMe included that it was thought to be as effective as prescription anti-depressants; that it worked as effectively for osteoarthritic pain as non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs and that it may even help some liver conditions. Although SAMe appeared to be as efficacious as standard anti-depressant medication, it did not have any of the side-effects of prescription anti-depressants such as headaches, weight gain and most significantly, sexual dysfunction.
This is exciting news. It provides individuals with a healthy alternative for health benefits with osteoarthritis and depression.
SAMe has also been shown in several clinical trials to be effective for fibromyalgia, a disabling condition effecting millions of individuals in this country. SAMe also may lower homocysteine levels. High levels of homocysteine have been proven to cause strokes and heart attacks. It is critical that SAMe be consumed at levels that are effective; most studies used 800 mg – 1,600 mg per day. It is also important to understand that SAMe must be taken in a stabilized and standardized tablet form (this is one of the rare examples of a nutrient that is superior in a tablet form). SAMe is 50% elemental, so a product must provide 800 mg gross to equal 400 mg elemental.
The best supplements for for SAMe have about 800 mg/400 mg tablet. This supplement should provide 400 mg elemental SAMe per tablet, two tablets per day can provide the level of SAMe needed to produce benefits.