SAMe, short for S-adenosyl methionine is a natural compound found in all living cells and involved in over 35 biochemical processes in the body. It helps regulate the expression of genes. It assists in the action of several hormones and neurotransmitters, including serotonin, melatonin, dopamine and adrenaline. It’s also vital for normal brain functioning.

A low blood level of SAMe correlates with depression. Discovered in Europe in 1952, it has been studied for 20 years and used for depression and arthritis. SAMe may be used for depression for patients who haven’t responded to other antidepressant medications.

Mental well-being depends on several essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. Recent investigations with multi-ingredient formulas, such as the B-complex vitamins correlate positively with lower levels of depression. Low folate and B 12 have been associated with modulating mood disorders, depression, cognitive and social functioning. Choline, a nutrient widely found in foods such as fruit, vegetables, meat, eggs, cereal, dairy, decreased mood symptoms in patients with bipolar disorders. Serezec Plus contains a B-vitamin complex that assists in producing and “recycling” SAMe.

Neurotransmitters, the brain’s chemical messengers can be affected by depression when there is an amino acid deficit, such as low levels of SAMe. This essential amino acid is found in high-protein foods such as meats and fish. Decreased levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin can produce numerous mental diseases, including depression, anxiety or social phobia.

What is the research behind SAMe?

Richard P.Brown, MD, associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and co-author of Stop Depression Now: the Breakthrough Supplement that Works as Well as Prescription Drugs in Half the Time…With No Side Effects has been treating patients with SAMe with positive results.

Although SAMe has been on the US market since 1999, it was discovered in Italy, studied for decades and approved as a prescription drug in Europe. The first clinical study of its use for depression was not completed until the 1970s (Agnoli et al, 1976).

Teodoro Bottiglieri, PhD, director of neuropharmacology and senior research scientist at Baylor University’s Institute for Metabolic Disease, found, in research studies, lower than normal levels of SAMe in cerebrospinal fluid in some patients with depression, dementia, Alzeimer’s disease and disorders of folate metabolism.

As research continues in this area, since 1988, studies using higher doses of SAMe have shown it’s efficacy in treating major depression (Bressa, 1994; Delle Chiaie and Boissard, 1997, Delle Chiaie et al, 2000), depression secondary to a medical illness, postmenopausal depressions and treatment-resistant depression.

Future well-designed clinical trials will continue in the areas of depression. For now, consult with your physicians before starting your treatment as you would with any other dietary supplement.