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What is Sam-E?

Our bodies make S-adenosyl-L-methionine naturally, but when S-adenosyl-L-methionine is taken as a supplement it can function as a very powerful drug.

It is also known under several other names, including s-adenosylmethionine. S-adenosyl-L-methionine is very important in the body as a methyl donor and is needed for more than thirty different reactions in the body.

Besides treating depression, S-adenosyl-L-methionine is also used in treating arthritis and fibromyalgia.

As we age, we become less efficient at producing S-adenosyl-L-methionine.

Benefits of SAMe:
People who want more natural solutions for depression often wonder if there is anything available in a health food store that can cure depression.

Although there are many prescription antidepressant medications available, not everyone who is depressed wants to take prescription drugs for depression.

Some people experience unpleasant side effects with prescription antidepressants. Many people prefer to take natural substances instead of pharmaceutical drugs, whenever possible.

Many people have heard about spectacular results for treating depression that have been achieved with a natural substance known as S-adenosyl-L-methionine. S-adenosyl-L-methionine is found in many health food stores.

So is S-adenosyl-L-methionine really the magic, natural antidepression pill some people claim it to be?
One of the many effects that S-adenosyl-L-methionine has in the body is that it seems to boost various neurotransmitters in the brain such as dopamine and serotonin.

Research & Trials:
There have been over forty studies of S-adenosyl-L-methionine done that have shown it to be an effective treatment for depression. Most of these studies were done in Europe and were fairly small trials done over a relatively short period of time. No one yet knows if there are any long term negative effects of taking S-adenosyl-L-methionine over a period of many years.

Although it is much more common for doctors in Europe and other parts of the world to prescribe S-adenosyl-L-methionine as a treatment for depression, in North America, very few doctors are knowledgeable about the use of S-adenosyl-L-methionine in treating depression.

Doctors in North America tend to put their faith in those drugs that have been approved by the FDA after undergoing very large, very expensive drug trials paid for by large drug companies. Most North American doctors tend to ignore treatments based on herbs and other natural supplements.

Studies of S-adenosyl-L-methionine done in Europe show that S-adenosyl-L-methionine can relieve depression in about 70% of cases. This 70% success rate in treating depression is better than a placebo, and it equals the rate of cure of prescription antidepressants.

Its very unlikely that S-adenosyl-L-methionine will ever undergo major clinical trials like those that are used to evaluate new drugs for the FDA in the United States. The reason is that S-adenosyl-L-methionine is a natural substance and it can never be patented. That means no drug company could make big profits from it.

Some people who have used S-adenosyl-L-methionine for depression claim that this substance lifted their mood in a matter of just two or three days. When a depressed person takes prescription antidepressants, it can take as long as six weeks to start getting an improvement in mood.

Side Effects:
Although the supporters of S-adenosyl-L-methionine claim there are few significant side effects when taking this supplement, this is not entirely true. There are side effects of taking S-adenosyl-L-methionine that you should be aware of.

Some people experience gastrointestinal discomfort when they take S-adenosyl-L-methionine including nausea, gassiness, and bloating. This discomfort can usually be prevented if you take enteric-coated pills, and swallow them with a meal.

S-adenosyl-L-methionine can be very stimulating to people who take it, to the point where some people become very agitated, anxious, and cant sleep. This side effect of S-adenosyl-L-methionine is cumulative and can increase the longer you take it, especially if your dose is too high.

For this reason its better to start with a very low dose of S-adenosyl-L-methionine until you know whether you experience any negative side effects.

Although some manufacturers of various brands of S-adenosyl-L-methionine say you should take 400 mg of S-adenosyl-L-methionine a day or more, if you want to relieve depression, this dose can trigger anxiety and insomnia in some people. In fact, people have reported experiencing agitation and an inability to sleep even at doses as low as 100 mg a day.

A starting dose of 50 mg a day may help avoid this potential side effect of agitation and insomnia.

If you have bipolar depression, you should not take S-adenosyl-L-methionine. In some cases, it can aggravate the manic stage of this type of depression.

S-adenosyl-L-methionine can also cause problems when taken with other types of antidepressants.

There is another potential problem you might encounter if you take S-adenosyl-L-methionine. S-adenosyl-L-methionine can increase the levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine is associated with a higher risk of heart disease. If you add more Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, and Folic acid to your intake of S-adenosyl-L-methionine, you can help convert the homocysteine back into a harmless substance.

What to look for when buying SAMe:
S-adenosyl-L-methionine is a very expensive supplement, so if you decide to take it, choose a reliable brand that actually contains the substance it claims to be.

Consult your doctor first:
If you decide to self medicate with S-adenosyl-L-methionine you might end up causing a conflict with some other drug you are taking. Every case of depression is different. Even though S-adenosyl-L-methionine appears to have good results in alleviating depression in some people, its very important to work with your doctor in finding the best treatment that works for you.

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