SAMe: A Lesser Known, But Very Important Supplement
SAMe may be one of the most important compounds your body produces.
And yet, if you’re like most people, you’ve probably never heard of it.
Known in the scientific community as S-adenosyl-L-methionine, SAMe is produced in your liver from the amino acid methionine.
There are no natural dietary sources for SAMe. If your liver doesn’t produce enough of this vital compound, supplements are the only alternative.
Why is SAMe important?
SAMe is critical to a process called “methylation”. This is merely the transfer of a methyl group…one carbon atom plus three hydrogen atoms…from one compound to another.
Doesn’t sound like anything super special, does it? But the truth is that methylation might be one of the most important processes in your body.
Think of the human body like a complex machine with lots of different systems. Adding or subtracting a methyl group to or from certain key molecules (like your DNA) turns these systems “on” or “off” at the appropriate time.
If methylation doesn’t occur properly, these “switches” won’t work correctly, which could prevent your body from producing critical compounds such as:
- Nitric oxide
- Plus many more
Due to its importance to the methylation process, SAMe influences more than 35 major bodily processes. Your cardiovascular, neurological, reproductive, waste removal, and other systems won’t work properly if your body doesn’t produce the SAMe it needs.
Are SAMe supplements useful?
Methionine…the amino acid precursor to SAMe…is present in many foods. Eggs, meat, fish and some nuts and seeds are particularly good sources. Methionine can also be taken as a supplement.
However, if your liver is unable to produce enough SAMe naturally, then increasing the supply of methionine won’t help.
As a result, researchers have investigated the use of SAMe supplements to treat aging-related medical conditions such as:
Low SAMe levels have been linked to depression in several medical studies. This connection makes sense due to the link between SAMe, methylation, and the production of neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.
Researchers have found that people with mild depression seem to respond well when given SAMe supplements. There may be several possible reasons:
- SAMe slows the breakdown of neurotransmitters so they work for longer
- SAMe causes faster production of neurotransmitter receptors
- Some research indicates SAMe makes nuerotransmitter receptors work more effectively
Interestingly, both depressed and non-depressed people in the studies had elevated neurotransmitter levels if they received SAMe.
Chronic Liver Disease
Many patients with chronic liver disease have low levels of SAMe. Studies suggest these low levels of SAMe can cause and/or increase liver damage.
Several studies have shown increased SAMe levels when patients received it either through injections or supplements. However, the results are still considered preliminary and more research is needed.
Patients who received SAMe to treat depression reported an interesting side effect…reduced joint pain.
As a result, SAMe has been recommended to treat joint pain resulting from inflammation such as osteoarthritis.
In some studies, SAMe supplements were as effective as NSAID pain medications such as ibuprofen or Celebrex. Although SAMe typically took longer to act than traditional anti-inflammatory drugs, it also caused fewer undesirable side effects.
Is SAMe a Good Option for You?
Renew Youth is about more than hormone therapy. We can help you evaluate which supplements, including SAMe, will contribute to finding your “new you”.
Call us at 800-859-7511 or use our contact form to set up your free 30-minute consultation.