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SAMe

Medically reviewed on June 7, 2018

What is SAMe?

SAMe is found in all living cells as a naturally occurring molecule. A supplement or biochemical commercially produced in yeast cell cultures, one SAMe manufacturing process utilizes fermentation of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Scientific Name(s)

S-adenosylmethionine, S-adenosyl-L-methionine, Ademetionine (as toluenedisulfate or 1,4-butanedisulfonate), ADE-SD4

Common Name(s)

SAMe, SAM

What is it used for?

Traditional/Ethnobotanical uses

SAMe was discovered in Italy in 1952. Since that time, numerous clinical studies have been performed to determine its effectiveness. SAMe has been used in Europe, where it has been available by prescription since the 1970s, to treat arthritis and depression. It has been available in the United States as a supplement under the Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act since 1999.

General uses

SAMe has been studied for the treatment of depressive disorders. Although it has been shown to be equivalent to tricyclics, it has not been compared with newer antidepressant agents. Information regarding its use in osteoarthritis is conflicting and information regarding its use in liver disorders and hepatitis is limited.

What is the recommended dosage?

Depression: 200 mg to 1,600 mg/day. Liver disease: 800 to 1,000 mg/day. Osteoarthritis: 1,200 mg/day initially, then maintenance 400 mg/day.

Contraindications

SAMe should not be used in patients with bipolar depression because of reports of increased anxiety and mania.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Trials conducted in pregnant women documented no harmful effects.

Interactions

None well documented.

Side Effects

Available data indicate nausea, diarrhea, constipation, mild insomnia, dizziness, irritability, anxiety, and sweating to be the most commonly reported adverse reactions of SAMe. Data from long-term use of SAMe are lacking.

Toxicology

Toxicological studies concluded that SAMe is safe even at the highest doses.

References

1. SAMe. Review of Natural Products. Facts & Comparisons [database online]. St. Louis, MO: Wolters Kluwer Health Inc; January 2014.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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