SAMe is a biological compound that is found in every cell in the human body. It is important because it plays a key role in methylation which is a process that activates more than a hundred different processes in the body – from preserving joint health, protecting against heart disease, and producing neurotransmitters such as serotonin.
The average adult makes about 6 to 8 grams of SAMe per day. Most of this is made in the liver where it works to detoxify the body of poisons such as drugs, alcohol, heavy metals, pesticides and solvents. Numerous research studies have found that raising the level of SAMe in the body helps to reduce the age related biological processes that result in diseases such as depression, osteoarthritis and liver disorders.
Research has shown that SAMe stimulates cartilage to grow which is a component in reversing osteoarthritis. Cartilage is the spongy cushion between the bone and the joint which gradually deteriorates in osteoarthritis. Also SAMe has been shown to reverse damage in the synovial fluid in the joints caused by factors common in rheumatoid arthritis.
SAMe compares favorably to the pain relieving action of NSAID’s such as aspirin and Tylenol which are commonly used to relieve the pain associated arthritis. However, with SAMe, there are no side effects and the SAMe actually helps the liver.
The liver benefits greatly by the presence of SAMe. SAMe significantly reduces elevated bilirubin levels. It also helps to protect liver cells and preserve liver function in hepatitis C patients. SAMe inhibits alcohol induced liver damage, prevents and sometimes cures cirrhosis and helps prevent and cure fatty liver.
SAMe is also effective in alleviating all forms of depression. Studies have indicated that SAMe is roughly 15 percent more effective for the treatment of depression than traditional pharmaceuticals.
SAMe helps alleviate fibromyalgia – specifically in reducing the number of trigger points, reducing fatigue, reducing morning stiffness and improving mood.
SAMe is available as a supplement – usually in 200 mg tablets. It should be enteric coated so that it is not destroyed by the acid environment of the stomach. As with any supplement, the form is important. SAMe is expensive because of the processes needed to make sure that it is in what you buy. The cheaper versions tend to be the wrong form, or they were not manufactured correctly, and they do not perform as well. Do not be taken in by the cheaper brands if you want this supplement to work. If it does not say “S,S form” on the label, do not waste your money. For maximum benefit of SAMe, buy a reputable brand and take it with B vitamins.
Note that there are some contraindications for SAMe - these include bi-polar disorder, manic/depressive, and Parkinsons. If you have any of these, do not take SAM-e without medical supervision.
Margaret Durst owns The Green House, a vitamin, herb and health food store in Mason, Texas. www.naturalcowgirl.wordpress.com