S-Adenosyl methionine (SAMe) is a naturally-occurring compound found in every tissue and fluid in the human body. SAMe has an important role in building the immune system, building cartilage, maintaining cell membranes as well as producing and regulating brain chemicals like dopamine, serotonin and melatonin. 1,3,4
S-Adenosyl methionine does not occur in food, rather SAMe is produced within the body as well as being chemically synthesized as a health supplement. SAMe is made from the amino acid methionine and the chemical ATP that serves as a major energy source for body cells. 1,5
Natural S-Adenosyl methionine levels in the body tend to decrease with age. 3
S-Adenosyl methionine Health Uses and Health Benefits
S-Adenosyl methionine health benefits include being a powerful mood lifter and antidepressant. S-Adenosyl methionine is often used to treat mental disorders like depression. S-Adenosyl methionine for anxiety has proven effective but can worsen anxiety if taken in high doses. 1,2,3,5
S-Adenosyl methionine health benefits also include being an effective form of pain and inflammation relief treatment for bone and muscle-related disorders like osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and fibromyalgia syndrome. 1,4,5
The main ailments that S-Adenosyl methionine uses include:
- Depression - SAMe is a recognized antidepressant that works to chemically alter dopamine, melatonin and serotonin levels in the brain. S-Adenosyl methionine is a powerful mood lifter and is available without a prescription in capsule and tablet form. SAMe should not be taken as a supplement to prescribed antidepressant medication without a doctor’s advice.
- Fibromyalgia Syndrome - S-Adenosyl methionine is effective in reducing pain and inflammation symptoms common with fibromyalgia syndrome sufferers. SAMe also helps alleviate fatigue, morning stiffness and depressed mood.
- Bipolar Disorder - Bipolar disorder is also known as manic-depressive disorder where excessive mood highs and lows are experienced. S-Adenosyl methionine is a proven antidepressant that works to elevate brain levels of dopamine, melatonin and serotonin. Bipolar sufferers should not take SAMe supplements with other bipolar medications without a doctor’s consultation. S-Adenosyl methionine may increase anxiety and manic highs.
- Pain, Chronic - S-Adenosyl methionine uses include reducing tissue inflammation associated with chronic pain. SAMe also raises dopamine levels in the brain which act as a natural painkiller.
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder - Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental disorder causing an obsessive preoccupation about body image. S-Adenosyl methionine supplements elevate brain levels of serotonin and dopamine that may improve compulsive behavior associated with body dysmorphic disorder.
- Lupus - Lupus is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease that causes pain and progressive suffering throughout the body. S-Adenosyl methionine has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce lupus symptoms.
S-Adenosyl methionine Side Effects and Precautions
S-Adenosyl methionine side effects can be serious if taken in large doses. SAMe for anxiety may be aggravated and people suffering from bipolar disorder may experience increased manic states. Behavioral changes and severe mood swings are known to occur with large SAMe ingestion. 1,3
Clinical studies for S-Adenosyl methionine primarily have been for injectable forms of SAMe and not for unregulated capsule and tablet forms available as health supplements. S-Adenosyl methionine side effects can occur when taking large dosage sizes so always follow the dosage recommended on product labels. 1,6
S-Adenosyl methionine side effects can also include allergic reactions from taking supplements. Symptoms include skin rash, hives, itching, nausea, vomiting, and swelling of airways. 5,6