Okay so I can't pronounce the formal name of this over the counter supplement, nor do I totally understand the chemistry behind it, but it has been my experience that SAMe helps my depression. If you ever take a look at my profile page you will notice that I am not taking any prescribed anti-depressants. It isn't from a lack of trying. I have tried several antidepressants and found that the side effects were too much for me. I have also tried St. John's Wort which seemed to only increase my nap times. Then several years ago I heard about something through the on-line grapevine called SAMe (pronounced sameee). I am always skeptical of any treatment whether it is prescribed or not. So I researched this supplement...a lot. I looked at studies. I read first hand accounts from people who were taking it. And based upon what I found, I decided to try it myself.
What is SAMe exactly?
It is a little hard to explain. It is neither an herb nor hormone. It is a compound that our body produces naturally. In an About.com article by Carol and Richard Eustice, SAMe is defined as: "...a compound produced by our bodies from methionine. Methionine is an amino acid found in protein-rich foods. How does SAM-e work? With additional help from vitamin B-12 and folic acid, SAM-e relinquishes a methyl group from its composition to surrounding tissues and organs. Through this action, SAM-e helps with the maintenance of cell membranes, removal of toxic substances from the body, and the production of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters." So it is recommended that you take B-12 and folic acid to help facilitate the effects of SAMe.
What is SAMe used for?
Among the most popular uses include treatment for liver cirrhosis, osteoarthritis, depression, and fibromyalgia. It is primarily used to improve joint function and decrease the inflammation of arthritis as well as a treatment for depression.
How do you get it?
In Europe you get it by prescription but here in the states it is not FDA approved and is sold as an over the counter supplement. I buy mine at the local health food store. You can also purchase it on-line. Why won't the FDA bother with it? Royane Real, in her article entitled, "Is S-adenosyl-L-methionine a Miracle Cure For Depression?"
offers a plausible reason: "It's 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." As we all know most things do come down to money.
How much do you take?
The literature says you should probably take the smallest dosage possible to start just to see how well your body responds to it. Most of the packages I have seen start at 200 mg. You might be able to cut the pill in half to start off at a lower dose. I did begin taking the 200mg in the morning, with an empty stomach. After taking this dosage daily for several weeks then I upped it to two pills at 200 mg each twice a day. I have heard of people taking as much as 1600 mg daily for their depression.