SAM-e is short for S-adenosylmethionine, a substance that occurs naturally in the cells of plants, animals, and humans. SAM-e is not an herb. Because the body produces less SAM-e with age, some people think that SAM-e may be a helpful supplement for certain diseases. In the United States, it is sold as a dietary supplement.
In the United States, people use SAM-e to treat depression or to preserve emotional well-being. Studies show that SAM-e may help with symptoms of depression in the short term, but more studies are needed to compare SAM-e with no treatment and with conventional treatment.1
SAM-e can have many side effects, including:
People diagnosed with bipolar disorder should not take SAM-e.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate dietary supplements in the same way it regulates medicines. A dietary supplement can be sold with limited or no research on how well it works.
Always tell your doctor if you are using a dietary supplement or if you are thinking about combining a dietary supplement with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on a dietary supplement. This is especially important for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding.
When using dietary supplements, keep in mind the following:
- Williams A, et al. (2005). S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe) as treatment for depression: A systematic review. Clinical and Investigative Medicine, 28(3): 132-138.
Other Works Consulted
- Murray MT (2013). SAMe (S-adenoslymethionine). In JE Pizzorno, MT Murray, eds., Textbook of Natural Medicine, 4th ed., pp. 1012–1017. St. Louis: Mosby.
- SAMe (2008). In A DerMarderosian et al., eds., Review of Natural Products. St. Louis: Wolters Kluwer Health.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Marc S. Micozzi, MD, PhD - Complementary and Alternative Medicine|
|Last Revised||June 29, 2011|
Last Revised: June 29, 2011
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