S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe), which is generated from the sulfur amino acid L-methionine and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) by the action of methionine-adenosyl-transferase, is another beneficial physiological sulfur compound.
Its ability to donate methyl groups is what makes SAMe essential for the production of nucleic acids (DNA, RNA), proteins, specific vitamins, neurotransmitters, antioxidants, hormones, and phospholipids. It also contains sulfur with the consequent benefits of its contribution.
Main uses of SAME
While endogenous depression and other related psychiatric disorders have commonly been associated with impaired metabolism of monoamines such as serotonin and norepinephrine, there is evidence that some of these abnormalities may be related to poor methylation ability.
Numerous studies show that SAMe is effective in treating depression. SAMe donates methyl groups in the brain to aid in the resynthesis of brain compounds that improve mood from their degraded by-products. Ingestion of SAMe supplements leads to increased activity and binding to brain receptors for neurotransmitters that enhance mood (eg, essential for the production of dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, and serotonin). Alzheimer’s patients have low levels of SAMe, and scientists believe that supplementation can improve cognitive function and reduce depression associated with the disease.
Although it has been shown to be ineffective in treating manic depression, SAMe’s effectiveness in treating other types of depression in people of any age is comparable to some prescription antidepressant drugs. Additionally, according to new research, SAMe can support normal sleep patterns and help people with insomnia.
It has been shown to be an analgesic and anti-inflammatory compound, and to stimulate proteoglycan synthesis by joint chondrocytes. SAMe has proven to be very important in the manufacture of cartilage components. It is an important component of joint tissue, and its deficiency leads to a lower integrity and tolerance of cartilage to wear and tear.
In a double-blind study, supplementation with SAMe increased cartilage formation, as demonstrated by magnetic resonance imaging, in 14 patients with osteoarthritis of the hands9. A total of 21,524 patients with osteoarthritis have been treated with SAMe in published trials. In double-blind trials, SAMe (400 mg three times daily) has shown symptomatic improvements in pain and inflammation as good, and in some cases better, than those obtained with NSAID drugs (eg, aspirin, ibuprofen , indomethacin, naproxen, and piroxicam). However, unlike NSAIDs, SAMe is not associated with an inhibition of cartilage repair.
Supplementation with S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) may be beneficial in fibromyalgia. A beneficial effect was observed on subjective symptoms of pain and fatigue, in addition to a significant decrease in depression and anxiety.
– Lipotropic agent
SAMe is a form of methionine, which inhibits the accumulation of fatty deposits in the liver.
– Liver protection
Methionine enhances the production of cysteine, a component of glutathione, the powerful liver protective tripeptide that neutralizes the myriad compounds known to damage the liver. Methionine’s role as a lipotropic agent also helps reduce depressed liver function due to excessive fat accumulation.
The important role SAMe plays in liver health may offer benefits to patients with a variety of liver diseases.
Furthermore, SAMe can be an effective treatment for damaged or blocked biliary function.
Through its conversion to cysteine, methionine can aid in detoxification due to increased glutathione synthesis. Glutathione facilitates detoxification in the liver and cells by neutralizing certain toxins, free radicals, and by-products of metabolic and hormonal waste products.
It helps detoxify cell membranes, helps the body eliminate residues of steroid and thyroid hormones and even remnants of neurotransmitters.
Furthermore, studies suggest that SAMe can control elevated levels of homocysteine in the body, which are a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Methionine appears to be helpful in reducing the severity of reactions to both food-related and respiratory allergens. This is due to its ability to detoxify histamine, the main chemical involved in allergic reactions.
Methionine can facilitate the elimination of excess estrogen in the body. Elevated estrogen levels are very often associated with delayed liver function due to accumulation of fat. Excess estrogen is a causative factor in most cases of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
– Histadelic disorders
Various psychological disorders (eg, some cases of schizophrenia and depression) are often associated with excessive levels of histamine. Methionine has been used successfully in the treatment of these disorders, when they are due to elevated histamine levels.