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What is SAMe and where is it found?

S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) is a naturally occurring chemical that is found in many body tissues and fluids. It is used in many biochemical reactions involving hormones, neurotransmitters, proteins, and phospholipids. SAMe is also used to make chemicals that are involved in pain and depression. SAMe is made from homocysteine and 5-methyl tetrahydrofolate in the body; it can be made in a laboratory. Its production is related to vitamin B12 and folate metabolism, so deficiencies in these vitamins may causes decreased SAMe synthesis.

What are the benefits?

SAMe has been shown to be effective in treating depression and osteoarthritis. It is also used for anxiety, heart disease, fibromyalgia, tendonitis, dementia, liver disease, bursitis, tendonitis, and chronic low back pain. Some othesr use it for PMS, ADHD, and migraines.

Are there interactions with food or medications?

Do not take SAMe with other herbal treatments used for depression, such as St. John’s wort, 5-HTP, Hawaiian baby woodrose, and L-tryptophan. It should also not be taken with anti-depressant medications or MAIO inhibitors. Both SAMe and Dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, and others) affect serotonin level. Therefore, they should not be taken together since high serotonin levels may have negative side effects, especially on the heart. Also, consult a doctor before you take SAMe if you are taking Levodopa, Demerol, Tramadol, or Pentazocine.

Are there side effects?

Some people complain of symptoms including gas, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, headache, anorexia, dry mouth, sweating, dizziness, or nervousness. SAMe may affect the nervous system and it should not be taken within 2 weeks of surgery.

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