Play It, Sam(e)!

S-adenosylmethionine is of fundamental importance in a number of biochemical reactions and has been trialled previously in the treatment of FM. It is quite a mouthful, isn’t it? The abbreviation SAMe (pronounced samm-ee) is much easier to say. Its chemical structure and name are derived from two materials you may (or may not) have heard about already: methionine, a sulfur-containing amino acid; and adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body’s main energy molecule.

Depression

The evidence for SAMe for the treatment of depression is provocative but far from definitive. Several double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have found it effective in relieving depression, but most were small and poorly reported, and many used an injected form of the supplement.

Fibromyalgia

Four double-blind trials have studied the use of SAMe for FM, three of them finding it to be helpful. Unfortunately, most of these studies used SAMe given either intravenously or as an injection into the muscles, sometimes in combination with oral doses. The effects, when taken in this manner, can be quite different from when you take it orally. For that reason, these studies are of questionable relevance to most of us.

Nonetheless, the one double-blind study that used only oral SAMe did find positive results. In this trial, 44 people with FM took 800 mg of SAMe or placebo for 6 weeks. Compared to the group taking placebo, those taking SAMe had improvements in disease activity, pain at rest, fatigue, and morning stiffness, and in one measurement of mood. In other respects, such as the amount of tenderness in their tender points, the group taking SAMe did no better than those taking the placebo.

However, it isn’t clear whether SAMe is helping FM through its antidepressant effects, or by some other mechanism.

The body makes all the SAMe it needs, so there is no dietary requirement. However, deficiencies in methionine, folate, or vitamin B12 can reduce SAMe levels. SAMe is not found in appreciable quantities in foods, so it must be taken as a supplement.

It has been suggested that the supplement trimethylglycine (TMG) might indirectly increase SAMe levels; however, this is yet to be proven.

sam eA typical full dosage of SAMe is 400 mg taken 3 to 4 times per day (which can be quite expensive). If this dosage works for you, take it for a few weeks and then try reducing the dosage. As little as 200 mg twice daily may suffice to keep you feeling better once the full dosage has “broken through” the symptoms.

However, some people develop mild stomach distress (just what people who suffer with IBS want to hear!) if they start full dosages of SAMe at once. To get around this, you may need to start low and work up to the full dosage gradually.

samE sideSome labelling suggests a dosage of 200 mg twice daily. This dosage makes SAMe appear more affordable (if you’re only taking 400 mg per day, you’ll spend only about a third or a fourth of what you’d pay for the proper dosage), but it is unlikely that SAMe will actually work when taken at such a low dosage.

Safety Issues

  • SAMe appears to be quite safe, according to both human and animal studies. The most common side effect is mild digestive distress. However, SAMe does not actually damage the stomach.
  • Like other substances with antidepressant activity, SAMe might trigger a manic episode in those with bipolar disease (manic-depressive illness).
  • Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.
  • SAMe might interfere with the action of the Parkinson’s drug levodopa. In addition, there may also be risks involved in combining SAMe with standard antidepressants. For this reason, you shouldn’t try either combination except under physician supervision.

 

If you’d like to see iHerb’s selection of SAM-e products, click here. Use Coupon Code LHJ194 to get $10 off any first time order over $40 or $5 off any first time order under $40.

Int Fibro

It’s Delightful, It’s Delicious, It’s D-Ribose


I started taking D-Ribose 2 weeks ago. (I wasn’t able to find it anywhere near me so I buy it online from iHerb.com.) My capsules have 4 250mg of D-Ribose so I thought I should be feeling fabulous.

In a study by Dr Jacob Teitelbaum, D-Ribose treatment led to improvements in all categories:

  • 61.3-percent increase in energy
  • 37-percent increase in overall well-being
  • 29.3-percent improvement in sleep
  • 30-percent improvement in mental clarity
  • 15.6-percent decrease in pain

Improvement began in the first week of treatment, and continued to increase at the end of the three weeks of treatment.

Additionally, in her book, Food That Helps Win the Battle Against Fibromyalgia, naturopathic doctor Deirdre Rawlings states that d-ribose supplements can help FM by improving energy transfer to your muscles.

So where was all my great improvement? I had written a post previously so I knew that I only needed 5mg three times a day (and I was taking heaps more!).

But guess what? I messed up (I’m blaming fibro fog, and it’s fixed now) – it was supposed to read 5 grams three times a day!

So, starting today, I am taking one capsule three times a day – it is a bit short of the 5 grams (just 750mg) so I’m still looking forward to some positive effects.

D-ribose is a type of simple sugar (a 5-carbon sugar; unlike 6-carbon glucose sugar)  that plays a role in energy metabolism and specifically in the formation of ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, the fuel that every cell in your body uses for its energy production. In fact, the ATP energy molecule is made of ribose. Ribose is found in limited amounts in meat and vegetables, though your body usually manufactures enough ribose from glucose to meet its daily needs. However, researchers believe that people with FM may have a deficit in ATP production, which accounts for the lack of energy and feelings of fatigue.

No side effects are associated with the use of ribose supplements, according to Tufts Medical Center; however, no long-term safety studies have yet been conducted. The only significant (bad) side effect seen, so far, is feeling hyper/over-energised (oh! wouldn’t that be nice!) in which case you should lower the dose or take it with food.

As with any nutritional supplement, inform your doctor if you plan to use D-Ribose.

I’ll let you know when (I’m being positive) I start feeling fantastic!

If you’d like to see iHerb’s selection of D-Ribose products, click here. Use Coupon Code LHJ194 to get $10 off any first time order over $40 or $5 off any first time order under $40.