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Background on SAMe


INTRODUCTION:This remarkable supplement, SAMe, was featured in the March 22nd 1999 issue of Newsweek. Only a handful of other supplements have ever rated their own page in a weekly magazine.While no supplement can be the ‘magic bullet’ cure-all for all the body’s ills, SAMe is remarkably popular among those suffering from a seemingly unrelated group of bodily ills and ailments (including depression, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and migraine headaches), with comparably few side effects or cautions for long-term use, as is, the biologically active *precursor formula version (Moodcaps™). SAMe itself is a naturally occurring compound found in the body that regulates the action of key brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine, which play a role in combating depression. It also generates enzymes that may help repair joints and the liver. SAMe was discovered by Italian scientists in 1952, and much of the research on the compound and its possible benefits have been conducted in Italy and other European countries.It is being marketed as a supplement in the U.S. However, it has been evaluated over the years as a treatment for depression, arthritis, and certain forms of liver disease in dozens of European trials involving thousands of patients.Approved as a prescription drug in Italy, Germany, Spain and Russia, SAMe has been used successfully for three decades without producing any significant adverse effects, though mild digestive upset occasionally occurs.

Banishing the Blues

Levels of SAMe are lower than normal in many people with depression, and a 1994 study by University of California researchers found that as SAMe bloodlevels rose the symptoms of depression eased.Also in 1994, a major review in Acta Scandinavia, Neurologica evaluated the results of more than a dozen clinical trials of SAMe for depression.

This analysis revealed that SAMe was consistently more effective than a placebo in relieving depressive symptoms and that its efficacy was comparable to that of standard anti-depressants such as the Tricyclics and the newer generation of anti-depressants that followed namely the SSRI’s (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors).

It appears that about 70% of depressed patients respond to SAMe, roughly the same proportion that benefit from treatment with the Tricyclics or the SSRI’s.

Three important pluses for SAMe:

  • It does not cause the side effects that have been linked to anti-depressant drugs, including dry mouth, blurred vision, headache, drowsiness, insomnia, nervousness and poor sexual function.
  • It typically works much more rapidly than the prescription drugs. “Most people taking SAMe, see some effect within 10 days”, says Baylor University’s director of neuropharmacology Teodoro Bottiglieri, Ph.D.By contrast, people often have to take standard anti-depressants for several weeks – even a month or more, before the clouds of depression start to lift.
  • SAMe is a natural body product and therefore also without any of the possible side effects of herbal products such as St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum).
  • Moodcaps are without reported side effects and do not interact with other products.

SAMe has been used to treat all levels of Clinical Depression (DSM – IV Multiaxial Formulation).
Although the precursor formula, Moodcaps, is an over the counter (O.T.C.) nutritional medicine, it is advisable to include the Health Care Practitioner, GP or psychiatrist, especially in cases of severe clinical depression where the patient may be suicidal.

The *precursor formula Moodcaps™ does not only have to be reserved for those suffering from depression. Anyone with a low mood or any one of the ±20 different symptoms associated with depression can use Moodcaps™ and get relief. Moodcaps™ should not be taken by anyone with manic depression (bipolar disorder), unless under medical supervision because it may intensify the manic “up” episodes.Easing Arthritis Pain

There is also evidence that SAMe can foster joint health by preserving the gel-like, shock-absorbing nature of cartilage, and it may even help repair damaged cartilage.That SAMe could relieve more than low spirits, became apparent when some individuals who had been taking the compound for depression reported an unexpected bonus-relief from painful and often long-standing symptoms of osteoarthritis.More than 2 decades ago, a large trial in Italy found that SAMe was more effective than a placebo, and as effective as the NSAID anti-inflammatory, in relieving the pain of osteoarthritis.

It also appeared to be safer, causing none of the stomach bleeding that occurs in some patients taking the NSAID’s.

Protecting the Liver

Ongoing research suggests that SAMe may be effective for liver disease. SAMe is the body’s major source of glutathione, sometimes dubbed the “master antioxidant”, a substance that detoxifies harmful compounds and helps repair liver damage. By boosting glutathione levels, SAMe protects tissues from damage caused by free radicals produced by the process of oxydation.

For example, a controlled trial in Spain (Journal of Hepatology, 6/99) found that long-term use of SAMe may delay the need for a liver transplant and improve survival rates in patients with alcohol-induced cirrhosis.

Easing Fibromyalgia

SAMe has also shown promise in treating fibromyalgia. A 1991 European study that compared SAMe with a placebo in 44 fibromyalgia sufferers found the supplement eased symptoms of the disorder, including pain, fatigue and depression.

What is SAMe?

Click here to read more about SAMe.


Stop Depression NowNatural Highs Patrick HolfordOptimum Nutrition Patrick HolfordDepression The way Out

1. Stop Depression Now:
Richard Brown MD Putnam ISBN 0-399-14530-3
2. Natural Highs:
Patrick Holford and Dr Hyla Cass ISBN 0749924540
3. Optimum Nutrition for the Mind:
Patrick Holford ISBN 0749922989
(*See Reference to SAMe under Moodcaps™)
4. Deperession The Way Out:
Neil Nedley ISBN 13978-0-9661979-4-5, ISBN 100-9661979-4-1 page 100-104

168 scientific studies (part of the literally thousands conducted at the world’s leading research centers including Harvard Medical School, the University of California and Kings College in London) ranging from 1972 to 1998 and covering all aspects of the uses of SAMe.

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