One dietary supplement that has gained recognition as a possible form of natural fibromyalgia treatment is SAM-e. Also known as S-Adensyl Methioinine and L-Methionine, SAM-e is believed to be effective in the treatment of common fibromyalgia symptoms. But what is SAM-e and is it truly effective treatment for fibromyalgia?
What is SAM-e?
SAM-e is a synthetic form of a compound that is naturally produced in the body. SAM-e is a chemical compound that is a derivative of the amino acid methionine and is present in our bodies and brains, as well as in protein-rich foods. It is formed when methionine combines with adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a nucleotide that is found in all living cells. ATP is an important source of cell energy.
The liver uses this natural process in order to produce SAM-e; a healthy liver will produce up to 8 g of SAM-e daily. SAM-e effectively donates methyl groups, which contain atoms of carbon and hydrogen) to other substances in a process known as methylation, which allows it to protect itself from cell damage.
SAM-e is central to the maintaining cells, to manufacturing substances used by nerves and also in controlling an individual’s mood and emotions. It is also essential in the manufacturing of neurotransmitters.
First prescribed in Europe over twenty years ago to treat arthritis pain and depression, SAM-e was approved as an over-the-counter dietary supplement in the United States in 1999.
The Benefits of SAM-e in The Treatment of Fibromyalgia Syndrome
Low levels of SAM-e have been connected with fibromyalgia syndrome, depression, liver disorders and osteoarthritis.
SAM-e is believed to be effective in the treatment of a variety of common fibromyalgia symptoms. These symptoms of fibromyalgia include pain, depression, anxiety and fatigue.
It has been proven that SAM-e increases the level of important brain chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin, low levels of which are associated with depression. As a methyl donor, SAM-e can help to protect against cancer and age-related problems.
Side Effects of SAM-e
Side effects reported by individuals taking SAM-e dietary supplements include the following:
- stomach upset
SAM-e is not recommended for individuals with bipolar disorder as it can trigger manic episodes.
Dosage and Regulations
In 2002, the US Public Health Service conducted a review of 90 studies conducted on SAM-e; however, this review failed to determine what constitutes an effective dose.
Some individuals are calling for stricter regulation of SAM-e, saying that it should be prescribed as a drug as it is in Europe in order to establish safer dosage regulations.
Risks of SAM-e
Because SAM-e is converted into homocysteine in the body, it has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Homocysteine is an amino acid found in the blood that has been shown to potentially cause damage in the inner lining of the arteries and the formation of blood clots.
Costs of SAM-e
SAM-e is a fairly expensive dietary supplement, and a week’s dosage of the supplement can be as high as $50 to $60.