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SAM-e Supplements


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SAM-eSAM-e is a compound your body makes from an amino acid called methionine, which is commonly found in food. Cells in the body use SAM-e to make cartilage and repair cell damage. SAM-e, as a dietary supplement, is marketed for its ability to promote joint health and emotional wellbeing. The active ingredient in SAM-e is S-adenosylmethionine. SAM-e supplements seem to work just as well to decrease the pain of osteoarthritis as some over-the-counter products, including ibuprofen (brand name Motrin®) and naproxen (Aleve®). SAM-e also shows promise in the treatment of depression. In a few small studies, it was equally effective when compared to tricyclic antidepressants, like doxepin (Sinequan®) or imipramine (Tofranil®). However, more studies are needed to better understand these benefits and determine appropriate doses. SAM-e should be taken on an empty stomach in daily doses of 400 mg to 1,600 mg with a maximum of 3,600 mg per day. Since the potency of dietary supplements may vary, be sure to follow the instructions on the product packaging.

Sources: Glorioso, S. "Double-blind multicentre study of the activity of S-adenosylmethionine in hip and knee osteoarthritis," International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology Research 5 (1985). Salmaggi, P. "Double-blind, placebo-controlled study of S-adenosyl-L-methionine in depressed postmenopausal women," Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics 59 (1993).Grazi, S., M. Costa. SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine). Prima Publishing, 1999.The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Pharmacists Letter Inc., 2001.Pepping, J. “Alternative Therapies: SAM-e: S-adenosylmethionine,” American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy V 57-2 (2000).Drug Facts and Comparisons. Facts & Comparisons, 2007.This answer prepared 3/8/2001. This information updated 1/18/2007.

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