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Mental Health, S-adenosylmethionine - Information and benefits

Mental Health > supplements-vitamins: S-adenosylmethionine

S-adenosylmethionine [S-ah-den-oh-syl-METH-eye-oh-neyen]


S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) is the active form of the sulfur containing amino acid methionine. It is involved in over 40 biochemical reactions in the body and often requires the cofactors folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12. SAMe is used to treat depression and migraine headaches. It slows the progression of osteoarthritis and reduces pain in fibromyalgia. It also helps with liver function. SAMe is associated with few side effects. It can cause a mild stomach upset and nausea.

In people with bipolar disorder (manic-depressive), SAMe may cause the manic phase of the disorder and should not be taken. SAMe may increase homocysteine levels, especially in those with low folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 levels. Serum cholesterol and homocysteine levels should therefore be monitored before treatment and periodically during therapy. SAMe should not be taken unless specific therapeutic goals are determined. The beneficial effects are gradual, occurring over several weeks. Doses include: depression, 400 milligrams four times a day; arthritis, 400 mg three times a day; fibromyalgia, liver disorders and migraine headaches, 200-400 milligrams twice a day. SAMe is available as an enteric coated tablet.

It is best to take it with the cofactors vitamin B6 (50 milligrams), vitamin B12 (1000 milligrams) and folic acid (800 micrograms) to prevent the possible buildup of homocysteine. Although SAMe is a precursor of methionine, high doses of methionine do not provide the same activity as SAMe. Bacteria in gut can synthesize significant amounts of SAMe but high intake of methionine does not increase its levels. There is no significant dietary source of SAMe. Dietary sources of methionine include dairy products, fish, meat, sunflower seeds, egg yolks.

What does S-adenosylmethionine do for you?

S-adenosylmethionine, which is often sold as SAMe, may ease your migraine headaches. SAMe may also help if you live with depression. And, SAMe may help rebuild cartilage.

Where does SAMe originate?

Your body uses friendly bacteria to make SAMe from proteins in your stomach.

How does SAMe work?

Your body uses SAMe to make other valuable compounds that work as antioxidants. Your body also uses SAMe to make substances that help regulate your mood. SAMe helps your joints function and may help you ease the pain of joint inflammation.

Who can take SAMe?

If you're not getting a diet with enough vitamin B12 or folic acid you may need SAMe.

When should you not take SAMe?

If you or a loved one live with bipolar disorder, don't take SAMe. The supplement may induce a manic episode. If you don't get enough folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 in your diet, be careful about taking SAMe, which can raise the levels of other substances that might increase your risk of heart disease. Some people get mild stomach upset and nausea when they take SAMe.

What is the recommended SAMe dosage?

There is no Recommended Dietary Allowance for SAMe. Don't take it unless you have specific therapeutic goals. It will take several weeks for you to notice any difference. For depression start with 200 milligrams twice a day and gradually increase to 400 milligrams 4 times a day.

Did you know that:

If you don't get enough protein in your diet, you may not have enough SAMe in your body.

Mental Health > supplements-vitamins: S-adenosylmethionine