A few years ago my primary Physician, a strong supporter of Natural herbs and supplements, recommended that I try SAM-e (pronounced Sammy) a much simpler way to pronounce it's official name of S-adenosyl-L-methionine. I have suffered with Osteoarthritis for a number of years now and SAM-e is indicated to help repair the damage Osteo and arthritis can have on joints and cartilage.
Although until now I've not taken anything in the way of NSAID's for my arthritis, SAM-e is just one of the natural supplements I decided it was time to try. I've been waiting for almost 12 months for an MRI on my knee and was just notified last week that there may very well be an additional 5-7 month wait! The pain has become increasingly more pronounced now and it is to the point where just a suggestion of a weather change makes my knee throb and swell.
S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM-e) is already part of our makeup and occurs naturally throughout our body in a molecular form that is normally manufactured via dietary protein. Along with Osteo/arthritis improvement, SAM-e is also known to help patients who develop bile that becomes blocked within their liver during pregnancy, known as intrahepatic cholestasis. For many years now it has also been prescribed in Europe as an effective solution for those suffering from depression and liver problems not associated with intrahepatic cholestasis.
Despite the fact that SAM-e as well as a number of other Natural dietary supplements remain unclassified as 'medications' and thus don't fall under the more strict guidelines associated with such under FDA or Health Canada's guidelines, their popularity for many continues to grow with the Medical community looking to them more as effective methods of treating those patients where deficiencies of naturally occurring chemicals/proteins are apparent based on their symptoms.
The SAM-e that I have started to take is enteric coated. For anyone whose Physician recommends the use of this supplement, they are encouraged to seek out only the enteric coated tablets due to the fact that otherwise, SAM-e will break down before it actually arrives in the intestine where it does the most good. SAM-e that isn't coated breaks down within the stomach which then does little to pass on its benefits, instead becoming dissolved within the stomach's acid offering little value.
SAM-e is unstable in its natural form which requires that the producers of such supplements add 'free' SAM-e, stabilizers that keep the supplement within a form effective enough for ingestion correctly, therefore, any of this product that you may be recommended by your Health provider to take must be packaged in such a way that light, air and moisture aren't able to penetrate. The package that I purchased from GNC was well prepared, each tablet sealed within its own air/light resistant blister.
At the moment I am taking half of a 200mg tablet and so far I have been seeing a noticeable difference. After a knee operation in 2003 seemed to improve the amount of pain I had been in prior, I unceremoniously fell not once but twice during the winter of 2006 and both times landed directly on the knee that had been damaged and operated on. Needless to say, the winter of 2007 and the frequent weather changes we've experienced since has been a real 'pain' literally. In just the short time I've been taking SAM-e however, I've noticed that I've actually not been able to 'predict' a coming weather change on a few occasions, something that any other time I've been more than accurate in doing and usually days before the change was to take place.
Although I can't see much difference with regards to depression given that fortunately I'm not dealing with that issue at this time, I tend to believe that as a dietary supplement where my Osteoarthritis is concerned, it has begun to help.
Like any herbal/natural supplement, a Physician should be consulted to ensure that you are receiving the best recommendation and the proper dosage. Those pregnant or breast feeding shouldn't take SAM-e without first speaking to their Doctor. Although serious side effects are not common, anyone experience difficulty breathing, feeling of their throat closing, hives or a thickened tongue, lips should seek medical help immediately. Less serious side effects may include stomach pain, gas, nausea, diarrhea. Supplement should not be given to children & should remain out of their reach.
SAM-e should also be purchased from reputable manufacturers known for quality products to avoid contamination's or poor packaging practices.