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SAMe

What does same do?
S-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAMe) is an important biological agent in the human body, participating in over 40 essential biochemical reactions.

SAMe participates in detoxification reactions and in the manufacture of brain chemicals, antioxidants, joint tissue structures, and many other important components.1 2

SAMe appears to raise levels of dopamine, an important neurotransmitter in mood regulation,3 and higher SAMe levels in the brain are associated with successful drug treatment of depression.4 Oral SAMe has been demonstrated to be an effective treatment for depression in some,5 6 7 8 though not all,9 double-blind studies. While it does not seem to be as powerful as full amounts of antidepressant medications10 or St. John’s wort, its effects are felt more rapidly, often within one week.11

SAMe possesses anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and tissue-healing properties that may help protect the health of joints.12 13 Several double-blind studies have shown that SAMe is useful for people with osteoarthritis, reducing pain, stiffness, and swelling better than placebos and equal to drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen.14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Intravenous SAMe given to fibromyalgia patients reduced pain and depression in two double-blind studies,22 23 but in a short (ten-day) trial no benefit was seen.24 Oral SAMe was tested in one double-blind study and significant beneficial effects were noticed, such as reduced pain, fatigue, and stiffness, and improved mood.25

Oral and intravenous treatment with SAMe replenishes important substances in damaged livers and improves the flow of bile.26 27 Preliminary research has indicated that SAMe may be helpful in a variety of liver conditions, including cholestasis, Gilbert’s syndrome, alcoholic liver injury, and cirrhosis.28 29 30 In alcoholic cirrhosis, damage to the liver prevents the natural formation of SAMe from the amino acid methionine. In a double-blind trial, people with cirrhosis of the liver due to alcoholism who took SAMe for two years had a 47% lower rate of death or need for liver transplantation, compared with those who received a placebo.31 However, the improvement did not quite achieve statistical significance. In people with less severe cirrhosis, the results were more impressive and were also statistically significant.

Preliminary research also suggests oral SAMe may increase sperm activity in infertile men32 and may be helpful in the treatment of migraine headaches.33 One double-blind study found injections of SAMe significantly more helpful than placebo injections for reducing the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome.34

Where is same found?
SAMe is not abundant in the diet, though its precursor, the amino acidmethionine is plentiful in many protein foods. It is not known whether increasing one’s intake of methionine will increase the body’s production of SAMe. Supplements of SAMe have been available in the U.S. since 1997.

SAMe has been used in connection with the following conditions (refer to the individual health concern for complete information):

 

Rating
Health Concerns
ds

Liver cirrhosis
Osteoarthritis

ds

Depression
Fibromyalgia
Hepatitis (for liver cholestasis)
Pregnancy and postpartum support (for cholestasis only)

ds

Bipolar disorder
Infertility (male)
Migraine headaches
Post-concussion syndrome\

Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support and/or minimal health benefit.

 

Who is likely to be deficient of ornithine?
Since ornithine is produced by the body, a deficiency of this nonessential amino acid is unlikely, though depletion can occur during growth or pregnancy, and after severe trauma or malnutrition.11

How much ornithine is usually taken?
Most people would not benefit from ornithine supplementation. In human research involving ornithine, 5–10 grams are typically used per day, sometimes combined with arginine.

Are there any side effects or interactions with ornithine?

No side effects have been reported with the use of ornithine, except for gastrointestinal distress with intakes over 10 grams per day.

The presence of arginine is needed to produce ornithine in the body, so higher levels of this amino acid should increase ornithine production.

At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with ornithine.

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