What other names is SAMe known by?
Ademetionine, Adenosylmethionine, Adénosylméthionine, S-Adenosyl Methionine, S-Adénosyl Méthionine, S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine, S-Adénosyl-L-Méthionine, S-Adenosylmethionine, S-Adénosylméthionine, S-Adenosylmethionine Butanedisulfonate, S-Adenosylmethionine Tosylate, S-Adenosylmethionine Tosylate Disulfate, SAM, SAM-e, Sammy.
What is SAMe?
SAMe is a chemical that is found naturally in the body. It can also be made in the laboratory.
SAMe has been available as a dietary supplement in the US since 1999, but it has been used as a prescription drug
in Italy since 1979, in Spain since 1985, and in Germany since 1989. Researchers discovered the potential usefulness of SAMe for treating osteoarthritis
by accident. They were studying SAMe's effect on depression
when the patients they were following reported an unexpected improvement in their osteoarthritis
SAMe is used for depression
, heart disease
, osteoarthritis, bursitis
, tendonitis, chronic lower back pain
, Alzheimer's disease
, slowing the aging
process, chronic fatigue syndrome
), improving intellectual performance, liver disease
, and Parkinson's disease
. It is also used for attention deficit-hyperactivity
), multiple sclerosis
, spinal cord injury
, migraine headache
, and lead poisoning
Some women use SAMe for premenstrual syndrome
) and a more severe form of PMS
called premenstrual dysphoric disorder
Is SAMe effective?
SAMe can relieve pain
and some of the other symptoms of osteoarthritis about as well as aspirin
and similar drugs
, but it may take twice as long to work. Most people with arthritis
need to take SAMe for about a month before they feel better.
There is also scientific evidence that SAMe can relieve depression
and some fibromyalgia symptoms
SAMe also seems to help protect the liver
. People with liver disease
in the early stages sometimes do better when they take SAMe and might even be able to delay the need for a liver transplant
. But people with advanced liver disease are not as likely to be helped by taking SAMe.
There isn't enough information to know if SAMe is effective for the other conditions that people use it for, including: heart disease
, bursitis, tendonitis, chronic low back pain
, improving intelligence, staying young, multiple sclerosis
, spinal cord injury, seizures
, migraine headache
, and others.
Likely Effective for...
- Depression. Taking SAMe by mouth or by injection seems to reduce symptoms of depression. Several studies have shown that SAMe can be beneficial and might be as effective as some prescription medications used for depression (tricyclic antidepressants). Some research also shows that taking SAMe might be helpful for people who do not have a good response to a prescription antidepressant. However, SAMe should not be taken in combination with a prescription antidepressant without the monitoring of a health professional.
- Osteoarthritis. Taking SAMe by mouth seems to work about as well as aspirin and similar medications, but it can take twice as long to start working. Most people with arthritis need to take SAMe for about a month before they feel better.
Possibly Effective for...
- Symptoms of AIDS-related nerve problems. Taking SAMe intravenously seems to improve some symptoms caused by AIDS related to nerve problems.
- Fibromyalgia. Some research suggests that taking SAMe by mouth improves symptoms of fibromyalgia. However, evidence on the use of SAMe intravenously for fibromyalgia is inconsistent. Some research suggests it may reduce symptoms, while other research does not.
- Liver disorder in pregnancy (Intrahepatic cholestasis).. Taking SAMe by mouth or intravenously seems to helpful in treating liver disease during pregnancy.
- Sexual dysfunction. Research suggests that taking SAMe in addition to antidepressants improves sexual dysfunction in men with depression.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Alcohol-related liver disease.Evidence on the effect of SAMe in alcohol-related liver disease is inconsistent. Some early research shows that taking SAMe by mouth or intravenously reduces some symptoms associated with liver disease, such as jaundice and ankle swelling. However, it does not affect some liver function tests or reduce death or complications.
- Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Research on the effects of SAMe in people with ADHD is not clear. Early research suggests that SAMe might reduce ADHD symptoms in adults. However, some research also suggests it does not improve symptoms.
- Gilbert's syndrome. Early research suggests that taking SAMe by mouth or intravenously might help the liver process a substance called bilirubin.
- Hepatitis. The effects of SAMe in people with hepatitis is unclear. Some early research suggests that taking SAMe by mouth or intravenously improves liver function in people with hepatitis.
- Liver disease (cirrhosis). Evidence on the effect of SAMe for liver disease is inconsistent. Some early research suggests that taking SAMe by mouth or intravenously improves liver function in people with liver disease.
- Schizophrenia. Early research suggests that SAMe might reduce aggressive behavior in people with schizophrenia.
- Blood infection (Sepsis). Some early research shows that taking SAMe in addition to conventional treatment reduces the amount of time needed to recover from a septic infection.
- Quitting smoking. Early research suggests that SAMe does not help people quit smoking.
- Heart disease.
- Chronic low back pain.
- Improving intelligence.
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
- Multiple sclerosis.
- Spinal cord injury.
- Migraine headache.
- Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate SAMe for these uses.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).