S-Adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM-e) affects cellular function. It helps to treat dementia and neurological disorders, liver diseases, and depression. Read more below to learn more about the health benefits of SAM-e.

What is SAM-e?

S-Adenosyl-L-methionine, also referred to as SAM or SAM-e, is of great importance in living organisms (R).

SAM-e occurs naturally in the human body and is synthesized from methionine (R).

Any changes in the availability of S-Adenosyl-L-methionine in the body affects cellular function. Abnormalities in energy production often result in liver diseases and neurological disorders (R).

Therefore, SAM-e has been used orally to treat liver diseases, fibromyalgia, mood disorders such as depression and neurological disorders, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease (R).

Health Benefits of SAM-e

1) S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine Improves Depression

Major depression is a common mental health disorder and for some patients, the standard method of treatment is often inadequate (R).

Sometimes the use of a supplementary medicine, such as high-dose S-Adenosyl-L-methionine, along with antidepressant medication has proven to be beneficial (R).

SAM-e produces therapeutic effects similar to common antidepressants, while also being safe to use (R).

It has a faster onset than some conventional antidepressants and is safe (well-tolerated) even at high doses (R, R).

2) SAM-e Helps Treat Liver Disorders

SAM-e helps restore liver function in the presence of chronic liver diseases such as alcoholic and non-alcoholic cirrhosis as well as cholestasis (R).

SAM-e also prevents or reverses liver toxicity due to drugs like Tylenol and steroids (R).

SAM-e reduced liver dysfunction in humans who had alcoholic cirrhosis over a two-year period (R).

3) SAM-e May Improve Brain Function

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) SAM-e levels are significantly lower in severely depressed patients and in patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Treatment with SAM-e increased CSF SAM-e and improved moods and brain function (R).

SAM-e is linked to the folate cycle and vitamin B12 energy production, which provide methyl groups required for SAM-e mediated methylation reactions (R).

Mice raised on a diet deficient in vitamins B6 and B12 increased Alzheimer’s-like features (R).

SAM-e inhibits the increase of progression of these Alzheimer’s-like features and also improves spatial memory (R).

4) S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine May Treat Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is associated with pain, stiffness and reduced range of motion in the body. SAM-e alleviates the discomfort associated with osteoarthritis (R).

When tested on humans for knee osteoarthritis, it has a slower onset than other medication and there was no real difference in pain tolerability (R).

5) SAM-e Reduces Symptoms Associated with Sjögren’s Syndrome and Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia or fibrositis is a painful, nonarticular, non-inflammatory condition predominantly involving muscles.

It occurs alone or in conjunction with other connective tissue disorders such as Sjögren’s Syndrome. This syndrome is an autoimmune inflammatory disease that mainly affects glands in the mouth and eyes (R).

In female patients with both conditions, SAM-e drastically reduced the number of tender points and painful areas (R).

Patients with these conditions tend to have moderately severe depression. However, treatment with antidepressants worsen the oral and eye symptoms associated with Sjögren’s Syndrome. SAM-e is an effective treatment as it improves mood without exacerbating these symptoms (R).


  • S-Adenosyl-L-methionine acts as a methyl donor in transmethylation reactions. Methylation reactions are critical in numerous cellular processes ranging from gene production to membrane fluidity (R)
  • The liver is responsible for the control of SAM-e, as it is the major site of its synthesis and degradation (R)
  • When SAM-e molecules release methyl groups, this results in the activation of the transsulfuration pathway which leads to the formation of glutathione (R)
  • SAM-e is responsible for numerous transmethylation reactions, such as those involving the synthesis of neurotransmitters (R)
  • Antidepressants inhibit the reuptake of neurotransmitters, for example, serotonin. However, the role of SAM-e as a methylating agent enhances synthesis of neurotransmitters associated with moods such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and monoamines (R)

Side Effects

  • Stomach problems (R)
  • Anxiety (R)


For treatment of liver disorders such as cholestasis, scientists recommend 800 mg parenterally or 1600 mg orally of SAM-e (R, R).

For depressive illnesses, scientists recommend 200 to 400 mg per day for 15 to 20 days. (R).

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