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Understanding SAMe medicines: Uses, Side effects & Safety

Team AckoJan 17, 2024

S-adenosyl-L methionine or SAMe is a naturally occurring chemical in the human body. It is present in every live cell and acts as a methyl group donor in over 100 distinct cell reactions. Abnormal SAMe levels in the body have been linked to liver disease and depression. Thus, it’s crucial to understand it in detail. Read ahead to learn more about this medicine




How does SAMe act on the body?

S-Adenosyl-l-methionine is a dietary supplement often used to treat depression. It raises dopamine and norepinephrine levels while increasing serotonin turnover. According to neuroimaging studies, SAMe's effect on the brain appears comparable to other antidepressants.

When you feel good about something you've accomplished, your brain experiences a spike of dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine is responsible for your feelings of pleasure, happiness, and motivation. Serotonin regulates your mood and is in charge of happiness. 

What are the clinical uses of SAMe Medicines?

SAMe has been widely researched for depression, osteoarthritis, and liver diseases.

  1. Depression: At least 40 human studies for depression have been conducted, with many demonstrating favourable results.

  2. Osteoarthritis: SAMe provided similar pain relief and improved joint function in individuals suffering from osteoarthritis. The studies also showed fewer adverse effects than traditional painkillers.

  3. Liver disease: S-adenosyl-L methionine has also been investigated for treating liver illnesses. 

  4. SAMe is also being looked at in relation to mental diseases. 

  5. According to the American Psychiatric Association, SAMe is a choice for persons who prefer natural therapy. According to the Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments, SAMe may be used as a first or second-line therapy for mild to severe depression. Other stated advantages need further proof for verification.

Are SAMEs Medicines safe?

Though SAMe's side effects are relatively minor they, at times, can cause the following:

  • Digestive issues: diarrhoea and constipation are examples of digestive issues

  • Insomnia/sleeplessness

  • Dizziness

  • Irritability

  • Anxiety

  • Sweating

  • If you have bipolar disorder, do not use S-adenosyl-L methionine without consulting your doctor. The supplement may exacerbate anxiety and mania.

  • If you have a weakened immune system, see your doctor before using SAMe. People with compromised immune systems may be more vulnerable to a pneumocystis infection. It may promote the development of this bacterium.

  • It is unknown whether S-adenosyl-L methionine may affect a developing foetus. If you are pregnant, do not take this product without seeking medical counsel.

  • It is unknown if S-adenosyl-L methionine enters breast milk or if it might affect a breastfeeding infant. If breastfeeding a child, do not use this product without seeking medical advice.

How to take SAMe medicines

SAMe is a prescription medication in some countries, including India. It can be taken orally. Apart from this method, it can also be taken through an IV and injected.

Be cautious if you are on other drugs

Caution is needed if you are already taking a CNS stimulant drug. SAMe is not to be taken with antidepressants, amphetamines and antipsychotics, and cough suppressants. People who have Parkinson's disease should consult a doctor before taking S-adenosyl-L methionine. The bottom line is SAMe interacts with many drugs. 

Points to note

  • S-adenosylmethionine is a synthetic version of a naturally occurring molecule in the body. 

  • It is yet to be FDA-approved and is currently in use as a herbal supplement.

  • SAMe is currently under trial for various health conditions. 

  • It has shown promising efficacy in certain states like depression, osteoarthritis, and liver disorders, and it has the potential to change the trajectory of how other diseases are managed. 

  • More research is needed to understand its pharmacologic effect better. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some frequently asked questions on S-adenosyl-L methionine.

Is SAMe effective?

SAMe has mainly been researched for depression, osteoarthritis, and liver problems. Although there are some indications that it may be beneficial for several disorders, the data is inconclusive.

What effect does SAMe have on joints?

SAMe increases cartilage formation and may have antidepressant and pain killing qualities. SAMe helps lower functional limits and, to a lesser extent, pain in osteoarthritis patients.

Is SAMe beneficial to the liver?

SAMe supplementation may increase liver function, bile flow, and survival. (S-adenosylmethionine) at high doses may enhance survival and liver function in alcoholic liver cirrhosis.

Is SAMe safe for everyone?

The data on SAMe's long-term safety and safety during pregnancy are insufficient to draw any conclusions.



Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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