SAMe

background

SAMe is made in the body from a reaction between methionine, which is an essential amino acid, and adenosine triphosphate, a molecule that carries energy. SAMe is involved in many different reactions in the body.
SAMe has been used to treat psychiatric illnesses, infertility, liver problems, premenstrual disorders, and musculoskeletal conditions.
SAMe has been widely studied for osteoarthritis and depression. There is evidence that SAMe may help reduce the pain of osteoarthritis.
Some evidence is available for the use of SAMe for depression, fibromyalgia, and bile flow problems during pregnancy. SAMe has also been studied for its potential anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects. However, higher-quality studies are needed before conclusions can be made.

Related Terms

Ademetionin, ademetionine, adenosylmethionine, Ade-SD4, AdoMet, Geptral (Russian), Gumbaral (German), Heptral (Russian), S-adenosine-L-methionine, S-adenosyl-L-methionine 1,4-butanedisulfonate, s-adenosyl-L-methionine 1,4-butanedisulphonate (stable salt form), S-adenosylmethionine, S-adenozilmetionin, SAM, SAM-e, SAMe tosylate disulfate, SAMe-butanedisulphonate, Sammy, Samyr®, sulfo-adenosil-L-metionina (Spanish), sulfo-adenosyl-L-methionine sulfate-p-toluensulfonate (stable salt form), sulfoadenosilmethionina (Italian), sulfo-adenosyl-methionine.
Selected combination products: GNC Triflex with SAM-e (chondroitin, glucosamine, MSM, SAM-e).

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
 
Osteoarthritis (Grade: B)
SAMe has been widely studied for the treatment of osteoarthritis. There is evidence that SAMe may reduce the pain of osteoarthritis and may be well tolerated. Results suggest that SAMe may be more effective than placebo and as effective as anti-inflammatory drugs.
ADHD (Grade: C)
Early evidence suggests that SAMe may benefit adults with ADHD. Higher-quality studies are needed before conclusions can be made.
Bile flow improvement (Grade: C)
Some evidence suggests that SAMe may treat symptoms linked to bile flow problems. However, information is still limited. SAMe has been studied during feeding through the vein for the treatment of bile flow problems. Higher-quality research is needed in this area.
Bile flow improvement (pregnancy) (Grade: C)
Firm conclusions are lacking on the use of SAMe for bile flow problems during pregnancy. Early research suggests that SAMe may lack benefit over placebo in treating symptoms of the condition. In the available studies, SAMe appears to be well tolerated in mothers or newborns. Information on the use of SAMe before the third trimester is lacking.
Depression (Grade: C)
SAMe has been widely studied for use in depression and bipolar disorder. However, high-quality studies are lacking. Some available evidence suggests that SAMe may be more effective than placebo. Most trials comparing SAMe to antidepressants are short-term only (less than three weeks). It is known that antidepressants require at least 4-6 weeks to show full effectiveness. Trials lasting for six weeks suggest a lack of significant effect of SAMe. High-quality research that compares SAMe to other antidepressants and lasts at least six weeks is needed. Firm conclusions are lacking at this time.
Fibromyalgia (chronic muscle pain) (Grade: C)
Fibromyalgia is known to cause chronic pain and depressive symptoms. SAMe has been studied for the relief of these symptoms. Evidence is mixed with regard to possible benefits of SAMe. More research is needed before firm conclusions can be made.
Liver disease (general) (Grade: C)
Early evidence suggests that SAMe may benefit people who have liver disease. The use of nutrition supplements, such as SAMe, has been studied for liver disease. High-quality clinical trials are needed before conclusions can be made.
Nervous system disorders (genetic) (Grade: C)
Early research suggests that SAMe may improve cognitive problems associated with various genetic disorders. SAMe has also been studied for nervous system disorders related to genetic disorders, such as Lesch-Nyhan syndrome (a condition that affects the breakdown of purines, natural compounds in the body). More high-quality research is needed to form conclusions.
Schizophrenia (Grade: C)
Early research suggests that SAMe may treat some symptoms of schizophrenia. These include aggression, quality of life, and depression. However, SAMe may cause irritability. More research is needed in this area.
Sepsis (severe response to infection) (Grade: C)
Early human research suggests that a combination treatment involving SAMe may protect the liver in people with sepsis. More studies are needed to determine the effects of SAMe alone.
Sexual function / libido / erectile dysfunction (Grade: C)
Early human research suggests that SAMe may benefit sexual function. Further research is needed in order to make a firm conclusion
Smoking cessation (Grade: C)
Supplementing with SAMe has been suggested as a way to help smokers quit. Early study has found a lack of effectiveness. Higher-quality research is needed to make conclusions.