What Is It?
More commonly known as SAM-e, S-adenosylmethionine (S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine) exists in our bodies. As we know we’re filled with all sorts of substances, including amino acids that keep us working like well oiled machines. Unfortunately age or various stressors deplete stores of many of them and we need to supplement since foods alone usually aren’t enough. We’re lucky to live in such technologically advanced times that allow us to replace what we use via many fine products.
SAM-e specifically targets cell maintenance, nerve production, and helps with upkeep of emotional health. Since our site exists to promote good health, especially in people that train hard in bodybuilding or other athletic endeavors, you may wonder why we’d talk about moods. It’s important to remember that all our systems are connected and continually interact. You may notice that when you get plenty of exercise, you feel more alive and upbeat. When you overdo it you may experience stress and exhaustion that in turn lead to depression.
To boil this information down further; SAM-e specifically targets the cells that make and repair cartilage. That’s because it stimulates proteoglycans in the blood which is where cell building starts. Bodybuilders and other athletes often develop painful joint problems because they wear out the cartilage in their major joints. Not only that, but everybody most likely will suffer the ravages of osteoarthritis as they age. SAM-e offers a natural way to restore motion and stop pain without the side effects caused by non-steroidal anti inflammatory (NSAIDS) and other prescribed and over-the-counter remedies. More and more studies show that these drugs cause digestive and even heart trouble in some cases. Even that good old standby aspirin now carries label cautions. It’s much more desirable to treat our bodily ailments with substances that occur naturally in our systems.
How Does It Work?
Although every live cell contains SAM-e, most of us will benefit from supplementing with it. It plays a vital roll in many… more than 40, of our internal biochemical processes. Aging depletes our stores of valuable cell builders and dries out natural lubricants that keep our joints, ligaments, and all connective tissue moving smoothly. SAM-e is another victim of this process. Also some of us have deficiencies in B vitamins that help us properly synthesize SAM-e or in SAM-e itself. Low levels of SAM-e may lead to problems such as depression, cartilage and general cell degeneration, hormonal imbalances, and pain from arthritis and fibromyalgia.
Another benefit of taking SAM-e supplements is more glutathione. With so many toxins in our environment, including air, water, and food, we need lots of this and other antioxidants to protect us from related harmful effects. Methylation is a crucial chemical action that occurs continually in the body. Without SAM-e it wouldn’t happen. Methylation helps maintain healthy brain function and also regulates neurotransmitters and hormones. For example it aids the brain by making its cells ready for serotonin and dopamine, which create good moods and a sense of well-being. Many also believe that it helps us generate new cartilage and thus stave off the ill effects of osteoarthritis.
Who Should Use It?
Many feel that everyone benefits from taking SAM-e as it contributes to nerve, liver, brain, and heart health, as well as promoting longer lives. Some specific groups that should definitely consider adding SAM-e supplementation to their regimen are:
- Bodybuilders – As mentioned earlier, bodybuilders and power lifters put enormous strain on their joints every time they work out. SAM-e contributes to not only preserving cartilage but also helps repair that which is already damaged
- Athletes – Everyone that exercises regularly and especially those that keep a regular training schedule or participate in extreme sports need to stay in tip-top shape. Although they work out to improve their bodies, they seriously strain muscles and joints while doing so. Additionally we all age and as we do so our joints and other musco-skeletal systems deteriorate. SAM-e supplements help slow this process and rebuild structural cells already damaged
- Arthritis – Millions of us suffer the mild to severe debilitating symptoms of this painful condition. Although there are many anti-inflammatory drugs on the market to help ease the pain, most of them cause side effects that may ultimately only add fuel to the fire. Supplementing with SAM-e offers a safer, more natural alternative
- Fibromyalgia – More and more people suffer from this chronic condition that causes pain in muscles, tendons, ligaments, as well as making patients feel depressed and exhausted. Taking SAM-e has proven beneficial to many patients because it helps with both pain and depression
- Depression – SAM-e use in Europe as a treatment for depression has been going on for over twenty years. Because of our stressful lives, poor diet and exercise habits, millions of people suffer from depression. Many of them don’t like the idea of taking anti-depression medication. Others are willing to try it but don’t like the side effects. Once again SAM-e presents a natural alternative
- Liver disease – SAM-e is a recognized treatment by many healthcare professionals for liver toxicity. People with cirrhosis or low bile production often experience reversals of these conditions and restoration of healthy liver function
SAM-e is most often sold in tablet form of varying strengths. Many of them are enteric coated to allow passage directly into the intestines rather than dissolving in the stomach. This ensures getting the full benefit from the SAM-e supplement.
We all experience different reactions when we take supplements or even try new foods. It’s always important to follow label directions and not operate on the belief that more is better. SAM-e shows few side effects, but may include nausea and gastric distress. In some instances those taking higher than normal doses have suffered headaches, dizziness, and insomnia, in addition to digestive problems.
It’s always wise to seek advice from your doctor, nutritionist, trainer, or other healthcare professional when starting something new. With SAM-e it’s especially true if you have depression or other mental or physical problems or if you take prescribed medication.
Disclaimer: These uses are suggestions resulting from various studies. They are not to be considered medical advice. If you experience symptoms related to these conditions or wish to improve any functions, consult a healthcare professional.
The United States and Canada differ from Europe in that no government agency regulates products considered supplements. That means if you want to try SAM-e you’re somewhat on your own in finding the best brand. In other countries many of our natural remedies, including SAM-e supplements are considered drugs and must be prescribed by a medical professional. Doctors recommend it to patients suffering from arthritis, depression, and liver ailments.
We urge you to research SAM-e and other natural remedies before you buy them. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) regulation doesn’t guarantee that a specific treatment will workOein fact sometimes the agency adds cautions or withdraws approval as problems arise. At least their endorsement offers a semblance of a safety net. When you explore the world of supplements it’s smart to listen to others using them, carefully read labels to make sure the ingredients come from good sources and don’t contain a lot of sugar and fillers, and buy from companies you’re familiar with.
People use SAM-e for serious ailments that are often treated with prescription medications. If you’re under a doctor’s care, be sure to let him or her know that you want to use SAM-e supplements. They may need to lower your dose of prescribed meds or take you off of them altogether. Also, pay close attention to your body. Many of us are so busy that we go through our lives somewhat oblivious to all the chemistry going on inside us. Notice what makes you feel good and what doesn’t. Ultimately each of us is in charge of our own organism and it’s up to us to be as fit and healthy as possible.
Some researchers worry that SAM-e converts into homocysteine. It’s an amino acid that helps cells function correctly and builds protein. Too much homocysteine may increase blood clotting and harm blood vessels thus triggering heart disease. Ingesting B vitamins prevents homocysteine from building up in the blood and converts it into methionine.
To sum up then; we must use common sense. Alcohol related liver damage won’t improve, even with SAM-e supplementation unless the person rectifies their alcohol abuse. However SAM-e will reduce toxin levels in the liver as it’s known for its cleansing abilities. If you want to try SAM-e for depression, don’t just arbitrarily think of it as a mood booster or mix it with existing medications. Yes, most of us would rather take a substance our bodies are already familiar with, but we need to do so responsibly.
Good nutrition, exercise, plenty of rest all contribute to our health. Supplements, including SAM-e are like icing on the cake. They enhance our already good habits. It’s important to be aware that supplements aren’t miracle workers. We need to do our part to get the full effects from them.
Although SAM-e use in Europe has been ongoing for years, the US lags behind in research and clinical trials. As with so many other natural products, public demand for alternative care is prompting further studies.
Medical doctors often remain skeptical of supplements that mimic natural substances because they receive so much information from the major drug companies. They are basically trained in medical school to prescribe lots of chemicals. Thankfully times are slowly changing. Many physicians advise caution when taking SAM-e but agree that studies to date show excellent results.