If you live with a condition like osteoarthritis or depression, you may already know how it can affect other aspects of your health, contributing to issues like weight gain, difficulty sleeping, and chronic pain.
One remedy said to ease depression, arthritis, and other conditions is the supplement SAMe, also known as ademetionine or S-adenosylmethionine. SAMe is the synthetic form of a compound that is produced naturally in the body from methionine (an essential amino acid) and adenosine triphosphate (an energy-producing compound).1
Commonly Known As
SAMe isn’t found naturally in food. The body typically makes what it needs for good health, however, some disease states and low levels of methionine, folate, or vitamin B12 are believed to contribute to low levels of SAMe.
It’s thought that SAMe can help promote the production of chemicals known to play a key role in a variety of processes in the body.
SAMe is typically used for the following health issues:
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
SAMe is also said to enhance mental performance, boost liver health, slow the aging process, and help people quit smoking.1
SAMe shows promise in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee or hip. It is said to relieve pain and have anti-inflammatory properties, and some research suggests that it may promote cartilage repair.1
In a research review published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2016, scientists analyzed eight previously published clinical trials comparing SAMe to the antidepressants imipramine, desipramine, or escitalopram, or a placebo.2
In their conclusion, the review’s authors state that the use of SAMe for depression needs to be investigated further in larger and better-planned trials “given the absence of high-quality evidence and the inability to draw firm conclusions based on that evidence.”2
In a research review published in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2010, scientists looked at 70 previously published clinical trials evaluating the use of various types of complementary therapies for chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Along with magnesium, L-carnitine, acupuncture, and several types of meditation practice, the review’s authors named SAMe among the therapies with the most potential for further research on their effectiveness against these conditions.3
SAMe may improve liver function in people with chronic liver disease, suggests a research review published in the journal PLoS One in 2015. However, in evaluating the 12 previously published clinical trials included in the review, the authors also found that SAMe may have limited benefit in treating certain liver conditions such as viral hepatitis and cholestasis.