Creator of neurotransmitters, mother of antioxidants, strengthener of cells - it's hard to believe that one amino acid is capable of so many physiological feats. S-Adenosyl methionine - or "Sam-e," as it's affectionately called - has been shown to increase health benefits for those suffering from a variety of conditions, such as depression, osteoarthritis and liver disease. But there are some guidelines you should know before you decide to take SAM-e. Consult our other article to learn more about the benefits of taking this supplement, as well as some of the risks.
Read on for tips on choosing your supplement routine.
- Consult your doctor first. SAM-e supplements aren't recommended for everyone, and may carry serious risk for some (such as those with bipolar disorder or those who take certain prescription medications). Informed by the latest research results, your doctor can help you determine whether you stand to benefit from taking SAM-e and how to safely use SAM-e supplements.
- Not all SAM-e tablets are created equal. When you read about how to choose SAM-e supplements, you will come across the many good features, but one feature remains consistent: high cost. For the price you pay, make sure your SAM-e product is the best available and stored properly in your home.
- Enteric-coated pills. When buying SAM-e, be sure to check the supplement information on the back of the packaging. Go for the enteric-coated pills in foil or blister-pack packaging, to guard against breakdown and inactivity of the fragile SAM-e.
- Several common forms of the SAM-e supplement are available on the market. Though butanedisulfonate was once thought to provide the greatest stability, this claim is not supported by sufficient research.
- Keep in a cool environment. Make sure there isn't a lot of moisture where you keep your SAM-e supplements either.
- Don't open the foil or blister-pack until you are ready to take the SAM-e.
- For optimal absorption, do not take SAM-e at mealtime. Instead, take SAM-e on an empty stomach, either an hour or two before meals or several hours afterward.
- Dosage. Suggested doses of SAM-e generally range from 200 mg a day to 1600 mg. However, different people will react to SAM-e in different ways; some may experience headache, feelings of anxiety or insomnia after taking even a moderate dose. Once again, talk to your doctor as you determine your proper dosage. High doses of SAM-e are unsafe. Bearing in mind that SAM-e tends to linger and accumulate in your system for a period of a few days, you should reduce your daily intake after a therapeutic dose, or perhaps skip a day entirely between doses. Start off with small doses.
- Companion or natural supplements. SAM-e may be responsible for many positive developments in your body, but it also breaks down to form a different amino acid - homocysteine, which in high levels can elevate your risk of stroke and heart attack. To counteract the escalation of homocysteine, take a B-complex vitamin supplement during your SAM-e treatment.
It's healthy to approach any new supplement with caution. The future of SAM-e appears bright and promising as the medical community conducts further research. Again, be sure to consult your physician before taking SAM-e health supplements.