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SAM-e

Treatment Overview

SAM-e is short for S-adenosylmethionine. It is found in the cells of plants, animals, and humans. SAM-e is available as a dietary supplement.

Why It Is Used

Some people take SAM-e supplements to improve symptoms of depression, osteoarthritis, or liver disease. SAM-e is also taken as a quit-smoking aid and for health problems like Alzheimer's disease, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), fibromyalgia, and migraines. So far, there isn't clear proof from science that taking SAM-e helps with these or other health problems.

Risks

Not all natural health products are safe. If you are unsure about the safety of a natural health product, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or dietitian.

Always tell your doctor if you are using a natural health product or if you're thinking about combining a natural health product with your standard medical treatment. It may not be safe to stop your medical treatment and rely only on a natural health product. This is even more important if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

When using natural health products, keep in mind the following.

  • They may cause side effects or trigger allergic reactions. They can also interact with prescription and non-prescription medicines or other natural health products you might be taking. A side effect or interaction may make other health conditions worse.
  • Natural health products may not be standardized in their manufacturing. This means that how well they work or any side effects they cause may differ among brands or even within different lots of the same brand. The form you buy in health food or grocery stores may not be the same as the form used in research.
  • Other than for vitamins and minerals, the long-term effects of most natural health products aren't known.

Credits

Current as of:
January 3, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine