Many of us take various food supplements every day to provide our bodies with vitamins or other important substances. S-adenosylmethionine is an amino acid that is considered by some to be a food supplement, but by others to be a medicine.
We provide you with important information about the different types, as well as the factors you should consider before buying. With the help of our test article, you should be able to find the right S-adenosylmethionine supplement for you.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Summary
- 3 The Best S-Adenosylmethionine: Our Picks
- 4 Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying S-adenosylmethionine
- 4.1 What is S-adenosylmethionine?
- 4.2 How does S-adenosylmethionine work?
- 4.3 When and for whom is an S-adenosylmethionine supplement useful?
- 4.4 How can I measure my S-adenosylmethionine level in the body?
- 4.5 What are the possible side effects of taking S-adenosylmethionine?
- 4.6 What is the alternative to S-adenosylmethionine?
- 5 Decision: What types of S-adenosylmethionine are there and which is right for you?
- 6 Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate S-adenosylmethionine on the basis of these factors
- 7 Trivia: Facts worth knowing about S-adenosylmethionine
- S-adenosylmethionine is an essential human amino acid, more precisely the metabolically active form of methionine. SAM is involved in about 35 chemical reactions in the body.
- S-adenosylmethionine can help in the therapy or alleviate symptoms of various diseases and symptoms. For example, SAM is used for liver diseases and depression.
- Research on individual diseases and the connection with S-adenosylmethionine has not yet been completed, which is why SAM may be used for other diseases in the future.
The Best S-Adenosylmethionine: Our Picks
According to our research, the following products are the most popular SAM supplements among customers. Since S-adenosylmethionine is not available for purchase as a sole raw material, we suggest methionine supplements here. You can find out more about the importance of methionine in connection with SAM in the guide.
Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying S-adenosylmethionine
Before buying S-adenosylmethionine, you should acquire some background information. We have summarised this information in the following paragraphs.
What is S-adenosylmethionine?
S-adenosylmethionine describes the metabolically active form of methionine. Methionine is an amino acid, also called sulphuric acid. Methionine is a sulphuric acid that is essential. This means that the body needs this amino acid but cannot produce it itself.
Besides the amino acid cytsein, methionine is the only other sulphuric acid that is proteinogenic. Proteinogenic amino acids are used in the formation of proteins. Proteinogenic sulphuric acids are particularly used in the translation of genetic information.
Furthermore, SAM is a co-enzyme: The reaction of lipids (fatty substances) and neurotransmitters cannot take place completely without S-adenosylmethionine as a co-enzyme. In total, there are around 35 chemical reactions within the body and metabolism in which S-adenosylmethionine is proven to be involved.
In addition, S-adenosylmethionine is involved in transmethylation in metabolism. Transmethylation describes the important step in the synthesis of various neurotransmitters such as adrenaline.
How does S-adenosylmethionine work?
- Alzheimer's disease / dementia
- Liver diseases
- Nervous diseases caused by HIV / AIDS
In the following, we would like to give you an overview of the effects of S-adenosylmethionine on the various clinical pictures or symptoms, so that you can search specifically.
Alzheimer's disease/ dementia
Alzheimer's is a neurodegnerative disease that often occurs in people older than 65 years. The cause of this disease has not yet been conclusively explained. There are various theories, but individual scientists do not agree on them.
An increased plasma homocysteine level can be described as an independent risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. In various studies, the concentration of various enzymes was measured in those affected. In 2012, Karger came to the conclusion that Alzheimer's patients have a significantly lower level of SAM than healthy people. (1)
One of the main functions of S-adenosylmethionine is the production of adrenaline. Adrenalin puts the human body on alert. In the case of an anxiety disorder, this level is usually higher than in normal cases. SAM causes a better regulation between neurotransmitters and hormones and can thus have a stress-relieving and anxiety-relieving effect.
Several studies have come to the conclusion that S-adenosylmethionine will be an important component of anxiety therapy in the future. However, some doctors are already using SAM therapy, which has an advantage over conventional drugs because it is easier on the stomach. (2)
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative wear and tear of the joints that occurs especially in older people. However, younger people can also tend to suffer from arthrosis, for example due to excessive strain on the joints, e.g. as a result of being very overweight, or due to congenital joint malpositions.
Treatment with SAM not only combats the symptoms of arthrosis, such as load-dependent pain, but also treats the cause by preventing and even stopping cartilage degradation. S-adenoylmethionine is significantly involved in the proliferation of proteoglycans.
If the body breaks down proteoglycans, the cartilage disappears, which is part of the clinical picture of arthrosis. To stop this degradation, SAM blocks the proteoglycan-degrading enzymes so that the symptoms and pain are reduced. (3)
The amino acid S-adenosylmethionine has long been used in the treatment of manic depression. SAM is particularly effective compared to other drugs such as St. John's wort. Another advantage is that S-adenosylmethionine can be taken alone or in combination with other antidepressants.
Some studies show that SAM accelerates the effectiveness of other antidepressants. Nevertheless, research in the field of S-adenosylmethionine in relation to depression has not yet been completed according to current knowledge. (3)
S-adenosylmethionine can also be a therapeutic approach for liver diseases, which occur particularly as a result of excessive alcohol consumption. The liver is the most important organ of human metabolism and detoxifies the body. SAM can be found in high concentrations in the liver, which is why this amino acid is considered a key metabolite for liver metabolism.
Although many factors interact in liver diseases and their therapy or healing, researchers were able to find out that SAM can be incorporated into the therapy process for chronic liver diseases.
Treatment with S-adenosylmethionine can mitigate liver damage by restoring glutathione deposits, which act as detoxification factors in the liver. (4)
Nerve diseases caused by HIV/AIDS
Several studies have independently confirmed that methionine levels were significantly lower in HIV sufferers than in healthy individuals. Methionine can thus have an effect on the degeneration of the nervous system, which is a typical clinical picture of HIV.
By taking methionine, the concentration of this amino acid can be increased, as the body converts methionine into S-adenosylmethionine. (5)
SAM bypasses B12 metabolism, which is why this amino acid can be an important methyl donor. Methyl is instrumental in the restoration and control of nerve fibres.(6)
When and for whom is an S-adenosylmethionine supplement useful?
Especially if you are already ill, you should always discuss changes in medication with your doctor.
Even if the active ingredient is freely available on the internet in various forms, as described below, you should also consider the side effects that any intake of supplements can bring with it.
You should also read the package leaflet: Depending on other active ingredients, certain groups of people, such as young children, may not be allowed to take some medicines.
Do not take S-adenosylmethionine if you have an allergy to methionine analgoa. You should also be careful if you have Parkinson's disease or bipolar disorder.
How can I measure my S-adenosylmethionine level in the body?
To break down histamine, the body relies on SAM, which is needed to methylate HMNT. However, only about 70% are degraded via HMNT and thus indirectly via S-adenosylmethionine, while the other 30% are metabolised by the enzyme DAO. Thus, the histamine value is not entirely clear as far as the SAM level is concerned. However, as a rule of thumb, if the histamine level is low, the methylation is good. Likewise vice versa.
What are the possible side effects of taking S-adenosylmethionine?
- Headaches, dizziness
- Dry mouth, constant thirst
- Nervousness, restlessness, irritability, less energy
- Stomach upsets, diarrhoea, constipation
- (Night) sweats, insomnia or sleep disturbances
- Hair loss, tremors
- Low blood pressure and blood sugar
- Shortness of breath
- Anxiety (in patients with depression)
What is the alternative to S-adenosylmethionine?
However, for some diseases there are valuable alternatives, some of which are also recognised by classical orthodox medicine.
- Anxiety: For regularly recurring anxiety, there are now some alternative methods far removed from conventional medicine to alleviate these conditions. The best known is valerian, which contains the amino acid L-theanine. L-theanine lowers high blood pressure and thus the fast heart rate. These two characteristics (high blood pressure and fast heart rate) are typical signs of anxiety.
- Depression: Many doctors and therapists nowadays resort to St. John's wort, a natural raw material. However, it can take some time for St. John's wort to work in the body. In this case, faster results are seen with SAM.
- Liver disease (liver weakness): In the case of liver weakness, proponents of alternative medicine like to resort to dietary changes as well as to the natural active ingredient milk thistle. Milk thistle is available both as drops and in capsule form and has an anti-inflammatory effect.
Decision: What types of S-adenosylmethionine are there and which is right for you?
If you want to take S-adenosylmethionine, you can do so orally in most cases. There are two different ways you can take SAM:
- S-adenosylmethionine in powder form
- S-adenosylmethionine in capsule or tablet form
- S-adenosylmethionine as an injection
Below we explain the different types and their characteristics. This will help you find the best S-adenosylmethionine supplement for you.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of S-adenosylmethionine powder?
One way to take S-adenosylmethionine is in powder form. The powder is white or light yellowish crystalline and can be ordered in different quantities.
If you have a fine cart in the milligram range, you can determine the intake of S-adenosylmethionine very precisely. You also don't have to swallow large, often bulky tablets, but can conveniently mix your SAM powder into your food.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of S-adenosylmethionine capsules or tablets?
A second option for additional or supportive SAM supply is to take capsules. Most products are available in this form.
Here, the powder is packed in a, often vegan, shell made of plant substances and can be taken with a sip of water. A clear advantage is that the powder can also be taken easily on the go.
Although this form of presentation seems less cumbersome at first glance, many people, regardless of age, have problems taking capsules or tablets because many capsules are often bulky and not comfortable to swallow.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of S-adenosylmethionine injections?
Another way to take SAM is to have it injected regularly by a doctor or health professional. You will need to visit your doctor for an injection at regular intervals, which may vary depending on your condition and treatment plan.
Some patients prefer this method to capsules and powders because they do not have to remember to take S-adenosylmethionine themselves several times a day.
Nevertheless, the injection method is not suitable for every disease. In some cases, medical research has not yet reached this stage. In addition, you should not use injections if you have a syringe or needle phobia.
Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate S-adenosylmethionine on the basis of these factors
Supplements with S-adenosylmethionine are available in a wide variety of versions. You can distinguish between the individual product variants using the following criteria:
The following paragraphs explain what is important in the individual criteria.
The dosage of S-adenosylmethionine depends on the duration of the intake, as well as on the disease or the symptoms to be treated. On average, 600-1200mg are taken daily with meals during SAM treatment.
The Natural Medicines Database has published the following dosage values based on some studies:
|Disease||Dosage||Duration of use|
|Depression||800-1200mg||Max. 6 weeks|
|Liver disease||400-1200mg||Max. 24 weeks|
|Nerve disease||800-1600mg||Max. 6 weeks|
The Whole Health Chicago Center has also established the following values for the oral intake of S-adenosylmethionine:
|Disease||Dosage||Frequency of use|
|Anxiety||400-800mg||2x daily on an empty stomach|
Intravenous injections are a common treatment method, especially for depression and arthritis. The following dosage values apply here:
|Disorder||Dosage||Duration of use|
|Osteoarthritis||400mg||Daily for 5 days|
Depending on the type of product or form of presentation of S-adenosylmethionine you have chosen, the storage options are also different. The tendency for many products is: The more, the cheaper.
This rough rule of thumb can also be applied to S-adenosylmethionine. The larger the package you buy, the less often you have to reorder or buy more.
Here is a small example: If you assume a pack size of 60 capsules with 200mg of SAM active ingredient each and you have to take the tablets 3 times a day, one pack is enough for 20 days. If you have a nerve disease, you need to take SAM for up to 6 weeks, and if you have a liver disease, you need to take it for up to 24 weeks.
Combination with other amino acids
Most S-adenosylmethionine supplements are combination products consisting of all 18 amino acids including the 8 essential amino acids.
There are also specific supplements that contain only the 8 essential amino acids. The 8 essential amino acids include:
Suitable for vegans
As more and more people are going vegan, pharmaceutical companies have also had to adapt to this lifestyle. Many capsule shells of various medicines or food supplements are now made of cellulose.
In the case of S-adenosylmethionine, some capsule shells are also made of cellulose. Cellulose is a purely vegetable cellulose, so it is guaranteed vegan and therefore tasteless. In the pure powder form, you can assume that S-adenosylmethionine powder is vegan. Injections are also suitable for vegans.
Trivia: Facts worth knowing about S-adenosylmethionine
Now that you have gathered enough information about S-adenosylmethionine, we would like to conclude by giving you a few more facts.
How, when and for how long do I take S-adenosylmethionine?
- How: Most medicines containing S-adenosylmethionine are taken orally either in powder form mixed with food or in the form of a capsule or tablet with meals.
- When: Take SAM in consultation with your doctor if he or she prescribes S-adenosylmethionine therapy.
- How long: The length of time you take SAM depends on the disease and the dosage. The maximum duration is about 24 weeks for liver disease.
As S-adenosylmethionine is a drug or food supplement with considerable side effects, you should never decide to start SAM therapy on your own.
What is the shelf life of S-adenosylmethionine supplements?
Most supplements containing SAM have an unopened shelf life of about 12-24 months. The exact information varies between the different manufacturers and producers.
Once a supplement has been opened, it usually has a shelf life of about 3-6 months if stored correctly. Again, we can't say exactly, as this information varies between manufacturers.
It is best to check the specific package insert of your SAM supplement. There you will find the specific information that applies to your product.
How do I store S-adenosylmethionine products properly?
Like most other medicines, S-adenosylmethionine should be stored in a dry, relatively cool place away from light.
The Federal Ministry of Health generally prescribes the following storage conditions for medicines:
- If possible, keep the original packaging and the package leaflet. You should also keep the outer packaging, as it protects your medicine from light.
- The following temperature ranges apply for storage: room temperature (approx. 15-25°C), in the refrigerator (approx. 2-8°C) or frozen (approx. -18°C or colder).
- Never expose your medicines to high heat or direct sunlight.
- Also, do not store your medicines in the bathroom, where the temperature and humidity can vary too much.
- Keep all medicines out of reach of children!
In which foods does S-adenosylmethionine occur naturally?
S-adenosylmethionine itself does not occur naturally in food as the sole carrier. However, since SAM is a part of methionine, you can naturally influence your SAM level by taking methionine.
Methionine is found mainly in green vegetables. These include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, green peas and bean sprouts.
This means that vegans and vegetarians can also naturally increase their methionine levels in the blood.
Methionine is also found in egg yolk, fish, poultry, liver, meat, cheese and yoghurt.
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Increased plasma homocysteine levels have been described as an independent risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but the underlying pathophysiology is unclear. Plasma levels of vitamin B12, SAM etc. were measured.
Depression is a recurrent illness with high rates of chronicity, treatment‐resistance and significant economic impact. There is evidence in the literature that S‐adenosyl-methionine has antidepressant efficacy.
SAMe is essential to healthy activity in all human cells and plays a central role in hundreds of metabolic reactions. It is even involved in the production of glucosamine, which researchers believe helps make SAMe beneficial to joint function. SAMe also helps the body produce brain chemicals which help promote an energetic outlook on life and relieve depression.
An analysis of the adverse events and long-term prognosis also indicated no significant differences between the SAMe and the placebo groups. In a subgroup analysis of gravidas and children, several of the included data indicated that there was a significant difference in the pruritus score. Furthermore, the results regarding ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) and stronger neo-minophagen C (SNMC) indicated that both treatments were more effective than SAMe was in certain chronic liver diseases.
Decades of research on the biochemical and molecular roles of SAMe in cellular metabolism have provided an extensive foundation for its use in clinical studies, including those on depression, dementia, vacuolar myelopathy, liver disease, and osteoarthritis
This study reports on clinical data from an 8-week open-label study of 20 HIV-seropositive individuals, diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (DSM-IV), who were treated with SAM-e (S-Adenosylmethionine). SAM-e may be a treatment alternative for the management of depression in a population reluctant to add another "pill".
According to research and user reviews, SAM-e is generally well tolerated, but some people may experience gastrointestinal distress, nausea, headache or nervousness at high doses.
The body manufactures SAMe from methionine, an amino acid found in protein-rich foods, and adenosine triphosphate (ATP), an energy-producing compound found in all the body’s cells.
SAMe is involved in the formation, activation, or breakdown of other chemicals in the body, including hormones, proteins, phospholipids, and certain drugs.