SAM-e supplements are marketed for use in connection with a variety of conditions including osteoarthritis, depression, fybromyalgia, and liver disease. Many individuals maintain that SAM-e is as effective for pain relief as aspirin, but does not produce the same side effects such as stomach irritation. It is also believed by some people to be more effective for relieveing depression than many common anti-depressants. Since SAM-e is not regulated by the FDA, it does not require a doctor’s prescription. However, in other regions such as Europe, SAM-e is sold as a prescription drug for treating depression, arthritis, and liver disease. SAM-e is normally produced in the liver from the amino acid methionine found in most healthy diets. Both folic acid and vitamin B12 are required for the synthesis of SAM-e, and deficiencies of either of these vitamins may result in low concentrations of SAM-e in the central nervous system. Lower than normal levels of SAM-e have been detected in individuals with liver cirrhosis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression. Suggested Benefits of SAM-e While healthy people do not need to supplement with SAM-e researchers suggest that many people may benefit from this supplement. Suggested benefits of SAM-e supplementation include the following: Osteoarthritis. A number of double-blind studies indicate that SAM-e may help individuals with osteoarthritis. Studies show that SAM-e may reduce stiffness, pain and swelling in arthritic joints, as well as improve overall joint health. Results of some studies even go as far as to suggest that SAMe may be as effective in some instances as ibuprofen and naproxen. However, there is no evidence that SAMe will be effective in any form of arthritis other than osteoarthritis. Liver Cirrhosis. Preliminary research indicates that SAM-e may also be helpful for various liver conditions including cirrhosis. In one trial, people with liver cirrhosis caused by alcoholism who took SAM-e for two years experienced a nearly 50 lower death rate and/or liver transplantation rate, compared with study participant who received a placebo. The results of this trial, however, where not statistically significant. The results of similar trials conducted using people with less severe forms of cirrhosis has yielded more promising results. Fibromyalgia. Preliminary research suggests that SAM-e may assist those with fibromyalgia. In one double-blind study in which people with fibromyalgia were given supplemental SAM-e showed beneficial effects, such as a decrease in fatigue, pain sensation, and stiffness. Study participants also noted a significant improvement in mood. Notwithstanding, not all studies have reported such beneficial results. Depression. SAMe may be helpful for promoting mood and emotional well-being and has been used by some people for the treatment of depression. This has resulted in a series of preliminary studies using oral and parenteral SAMe to treat depression. While the results of these studies are promising they are still inconclusive. Additional research suggests that SAM-e may also be helpful for cholestasis, liver injury due to alcohol, Gilbert’s syndrome and migraines. It may also anti-depressant and hepatoprotective activities.
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