Overview

S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) is a compound found naturally in the body. SAMe helps produce and regulate hormones and maintain cell membranes.

A synthetic version of SAMe is available as a dietary supplement in the U.S. In Europe, SAMe is a prescription drug.

SAMe can be taken orally, intravenously or through a muscular injection. People generally use SAMe to treat osteoarthritis, liver disease and depression. However, SAMe can also interact with antidepressant medications.

Evidence

Research on SAMe use for specific conditions shows:

  • Depression. While research has shown that SAMe has a positive effect in treating depression, most studies weren't well-designed and included a small number of people.
  • Liver disease. It's not clear if SAMe is beneficial for people who have liver disease.
  • Osteoarthritis. Many studies comparing the use of SAMe with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs showed that each provided similar pain relief and improvement in joint function, but SAMe produced fewer side effects. A smaller number of studies haven't shown the same results.

Our take

Green light: Generally safe

Generally safe

SAMe appears to be safe and might be effective in treating osteoarthritis and depression. However, SAMe might interact with use of antidepressants. Don't use SAMe and prescription antidepressants together.

Oct. 24, 2017