SAMe (s-adenosylmethionine) is a naturally occurring longevity nutrient1 that can be produced by the body. It may also be chemically manufactured. As with other substances, aging results in a natural production decline.
Discovered in 1953, SAMe is a precursor to the substances spermidine and spermine. It is manufactured in the body from the the amino acid methionine.
Due to its inherently unstable structure, SAMe is not found in significant quantaties from dietary sources. Therefore, SAMe must be obtained through supplementation.
2. What does it do and what scientific studies give evidence to support this?
SAMe is a remarkable substance that is utilized by the body in many ways.
SAMe has been widely recognized as an effective way to treat osteoarthritis2, depression3, 4, 5, 6, fibromyalgia, and liver conditions. It is used by the body to repair joints1, produce neurotransmitters1,7 and it has been shown to be as effective as some antidepressant medications.8,9
Clinical research has demonstrated that SAMe may be helpful in treating migrane headaches10, increasing sperm activity in infertile men11, as well as protecting and dexotifying the liver, and maintaining cardiovascular health. It may also serve to inactivate estrogenic compounds.
3. Who needs it and what are symptoms of deficiency?
Everyone can benefit from supplementing with SAMe.
Populations that may benefit most from the supplementation of SAMe include: persons suffering from arthritis, fibromyalgia, liver conditions, depression or other psychiatric conditions, athletes, and the general population.
Because of the ability of SAMe to treat a host of physical and mental disorders, for persons suffering from such conditions, SAMe, while not a cure, can provide welcome benefit and relief.
Athletes may benefit from SAMe's ability to maintain neurotransmitter balance, liver health and cardiovascular health, as well as its ability to neutralize estrogenic compounds. No studies yet exist to suggest that SAMe can minimize estrogen levels as well as pharmaceutical drugs, but theoretically the minimization of any estrogen may drastically potentate the affects of free testosterone on skeletal musculature.
The general population may benefit from supplementing with SAMe as SAMe plays a key role in maintaining psychological health, and is a longevity nutrient that theoretically will slow physiological hypertrophy associated with aging. Signs of deficiency include rapid aging, arthritis, and depression.
4. How much should be taken? Are there any side effects?
Follow label directions. When used according to label directions, SAMe is a safe product. Rare side effects can include gastrointestinal upset and feelings of nausea. Persons currently taking medications of any type should consult with a qualified medical practitioner prior to SAMe supplementation. Persons suffering from depression, parkinsons12, alzheimers or other physical or mental illnesses should consult with a physician prior to supplementation with SAMe.
5. Where can I get it?
There are different brand names that manufacture supplemental SAMe.
1. Gastelu, Daniel, M.S., MFS. All about SAMe. www.bodybuilding.com
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8. Bell KM, Potkin SG, Carreon D, Plon L. S-adenosylmethionine blood levels in major depression: changes with drug treatment. Acta Neurol Scand 1994;154(suppl):15-8.
9. Bressa GM. S-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAMe) as antidepressant: meta-analysis of clinical studies. Acta Neurol Scand 1994;154(suppl):7-14.
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11. Piacentino R, Malara D, Zaccheo F, et al. Preliminary study of the use of s. adenosyl methionine in the management of male sterility. Minerva Ginecol 1991;43:191-3 [in Italian].
12. Charlton CG, Mack J. Substantia nigra degeneration and tyrosine hydroxylase depletion caused by excess S-adenosylmethionine in the rat brain. Support for an excess methylation hypothesis for parkinsonism. Mol Neurobiol 1994;9:149-61.