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SAM-e Supplement Health Benefits, Side Effects

SAM-e supplement, also known as S-adenosylmethionine is a synthetic amino acid made from a natural amino acid known as methionine. A lot of people rave about the SAM-e supplement health benefits. In the United States of America, this supplement is available as an over the counter drug. Though S-adenosylmethionine is naturally present in all cells of the body, it begins to decline with age, causing side effects of depression and moodiness. Stabilizing the quantities of this amino acid in the body can help deal with the side effects of depression and moodiness.

There are several SAM-e supplement health benefits, which are as follows:

  • Arthritis: SAM-e supplements can help maintain the health of the cartilaginous tissues, especially in the joints.
    Since the supplement has anti-inflammatory properties and can help in healing of tissues, it is considered to be an excellent medication for both arthritis and osteoarthritis.
  • Cancer: Though there is no solid evidence to support this, SAM-e supplements can be used to reverse the damage caused to your organs due to chemotherapy for cancer. A recent research has shown some positive effects of SAM-e supplements on liver injuries induced by chemotherapy. In the study, it was found that SAM-e supplements can help reduce and reverse liver injuries despite cancer metastases to the liver.
  • Depression: SAM-e can help develop better neurotransmitters. It is because of this that the supplement is considered to be excellent for the treatment of depression. Compared to the traditional tricyclic antidepressants, SAM-e supplements are considered to be much better for the treatment of mood disorders and depression. Since the amino acid occurs naturally in the body, it has much less potential side effects and is therefore superior in its treatment of neurological disorders.
  • Liver Health: Apart from dealing with liver injuries caused due to chemotherapy, SAM-e supplements can also help improve the health of the liver. Though the long-term effects of the supplement on the health of your liver are not clear, in the short-term, the supplements can help improve and enhance liver functioning.

Some proponents of SAM-e supplements claim that there are other benefits of the supplement. However, there is no evidence to support such claims. Some of the other benefits, as suggested by these proponents include having a health pregnancy and improving performance of athletes. However, these are simply claims without much backing with any evidence.

SAM-e Supplement for Joint Problems:

  • SAM-e supplements can be really beneficial for arthritis. The supplements are most well known for their benefits to arthritis and depression. The supplements can incorporate sulfate group, therefore creating a protective sheath around the cartilaginous tissues all through the body. Owing to these healing properties, SAM-e supplements can be used for treatment of arthritis, fibromyalgia, and joint pain.
  • Some studies have further gone on to suggest that the supplements can lessen pain and reverse the damage caused to the cartilage. In people who have osteoarthritis, SAM-e supplements can help reduce and control pain, improve functioning of the joint and decrease the other potential side effects caused due to arthritis.
  • There are studies that suggest the supplements can help improve symptoms of joint pain and other muscular pain related to fibromyalgia and other disorders. Although it is available as over the counter supplementation, SAM-e should only be consumed for the treatment of joint problems after consultation with a doctor.


There is no one recommended dosage for this supplement. The dosage is usually recommended by the doctor and depends on the kind of condition you have, as well as its severity. The standard dosages for depression range from 100 to 400 mg a day. The usual over the counter dose is about 200 mg, so you may have to halve the pills before consuming them. If you are consuming any other methyl producing medications, you should ideally lower the dosages of SAM-e supplements.

There is, however, conflicting data about the correct dosage for SAM-e supplements. Some patients only respond to higher dosages and may require a regular dosing of 600 to 1200 mg per day. Patients who have mild depression usually do not need such large dosages. If you consume more SAM-e supplements than you require, you may experience counterproductive side effects.

Side Effects Of SAM-e Supplement

There are a lot of side effects of consuming high doses of SAM-e. Here are some of them:

  • For a lot of people, consuming a dose higher than 50 to 100 mg could cause adverse effects such as anxiety and restless. This is especially bad for those who suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. The dosages should also be carefully calibrated for those who have high blood pressure and hypertension.
  • Long term use of SAM-e supplements may cause insomnia, frequent headaches, and disorientation.
  • SAM-e supplements may cause a variety of side effects when consumed in conjunction with stimulants, dietary supplements, and anti-depressants.
  • You may experience nausea if the SAM-e supplements are consumed on an empty stomach.
  • Another effect on health from consuming SAM-e supplements includes heart palpitations, breathlessness, and other breathing problems. In rare cases, some patients may experience fibrillations and arrhythmias.
  • Younger users of SAM-e supplements may experience racing heart, anxiety attacks, and pounding on consumption of the supplements on a regular basis. These side effects can be reduced if you consume vitamin B complex supplements along with your SAM-e supplements. You could also increase your water intake to reduce the side effects of these supplements.
  • Though rare, SAM-e can also cause hemorrhages and other circulatory problems. Some people may experience a sudden drop in their white and red blood cell count. However, there are no studies to provide evidence that can back up this claim.
  • A small amount of SAM-e supplement of about 50 to 100 mg consumed every alternate day will not usually cause any side effects. However, consuming a dosage higher than this could cause an anxiety attack.
  • Dosages of 400 mg or more could trigger off gastrointestinal symptoms. Some people could experience stomach issues such as bloating, indigestion, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Some others may experience regurgitation and acidity. Even on small doses of SAM-e supplements, some people may experience several mild gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomach pain.
  • Allergies are another rare side effect of SAM-e supplements. Since SAM-e is present in the body naturally, the supplement should ideally not trigger any allergies. However, in a rare case, the supplements may cause allergic reactions.
  • A small study has shown that SAM-e supplements can also cause high blood pressure and heart attacks in those who consume large quantities of the supplement.
  • For men and women who are suffering from insomnia or sleep related disorders, SAM-e supplements are not very good. Since SAM-e supplements can cause alertness as a side effect, preexisting conditions of insomnia can worsen.
  • Those who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder should not consume SAM-e supplements as these could trigger off manic episodes and cause a lot of other problems. These manic episodes are often difficult to contain. Those who are predisposed to develop bipolar disorders may also experience side effects. The supplements may even help trigger the condition.
  • Though there are no specific side effects related to consuming SAM-e supplements during pregnancy, it is best to consult a doctor before you consume them when you are pregnant.
Submitted on January 16, 2014