SAM-e for DepressionNovember 23, 2011 Written by JP [Font too small?]
S-adenosylmethionine or SAM-e, a natural antidepressant, has been in the news lately thanks to Dr. Andrew Weil. In Dr. Weil’s new book, Spontaneous Happiness, he recommends SAM-e for prompt relief of low mood states that don’t respond to other dietary and lifestyle modifications. A review in the June 2011 issue of the journal Canadian Family Physician also presents a largely optimistic view of this nutritional supplement. In the summary, the primary criticism of SAM-e is how much it costs. In order to reach a therapeutic dosage, the author of the piece estimates a monthly expense of $80 – an amount that likely won’t be covered by most insurance plans. In reality, savvy online shoppers can find even lower prices in the $60/month neighborhood.
The first thing you need to know about SAM-e is that it can be administered in two ways: orally or parenterally (via injection). All of the research you’ll find below is based on human studies using oral SAM-e supplements. The most common dosage used as a stand-alone treatment for patients with major depression has been 1,600 mg/day. In one study, a four week trial comparing SAM-e to a conventional antidepressant (desipramine) resulted in a 62% response rate in the SAM-e users vs. 50% in the patients given desipramine. Other trials have examined the effects of combining SAM-e with pharmaceutical antidepressants in patients who didn’t respond to the medications alone. The findings of these trials have been quite impressive. SAM-e has consistently demonstrated an ability to improve treatment response rates and reduce remission rates. The most recent study also reported an improvement in cognitive performance in depressed patients taking SAM-e as an adjunct to standard care. Other health conditions that frequently involve mood disturbance, such as fibromyalgia and Parkinson’s disease, may likewise respond to SAM-e supplementation. But, it’s important to note that the dosages employed for these conditions vary from 800 mg/day for fibromyalgia to up to 3,200 mg/day for those living with Parkinson’s disease. In terms of safety and tolerability, SAM-e trumps conventional antidepressants according to preliminary research. However, a small number of users may experience transient anxiety, gastrointestinal upset or manic episodes.
Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!
To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:
Study 1 – Complementary and Alternative Medicine for the Treatment of … (link)
Study 2 – S-Adenosylmethionine Blood Levels in Major Depression … (link)
Study 3 – Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine … (link)
Study 4 – Oral S-Adenosylmethionine in Depression: A Randomized … (link)
Study 5 – S-Adenosyl Methionine (SAMe) Augmentation of Serotonin Reuptake … (link)
Study 6 – S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe) as an Adjunct for Resistant Major … (link)
Study 7 – Effects of S-Adenosylmethionine Augmentation of Serotonin-Reuptake … (link)
Study 8 – Oral S-Adenosylmethionine in Primary Fibromyalgia. Double-Blind … (link)
Study 9 – S-Adenosyl-Methionine Improves Depression in Patients w/ Parkinson’s … (link)
Study 10 – Bioavailability and Lack of Toxicity of S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe) … (link)
SAM-e + Antidepressant Benefits Some “Non-Responders”
Source: Am J Psychiatry 2010;167:942-948. (link)
Tags: Anxiety, Depression, Fibromyalgia
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements