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Re: SAMe -- Some excerpts from an article in...

Posted by dj on August 24, 1999, at 12:23:50

In reply to SAMe, posted by Tom on August 23, 1999, at 12:29:35

today's Globe & Mail (Canada's National Newspaper) which focused mostly on SAMe and its reputed effects for arthritis:

"...An amino acid derivative, SAMe is said to be at the centre of a major biological activity called methylation, which helps keep connective tissue in the joints supple. It is also believed to make neurotransmission (communication between nerve cells) more responsive, helping to alleviate the symptoms of depression.

SAMe stands for s-adenoyslmethionine. It is a derivative of methionine, one of the 22 amino acids that our bodies use to function healthily. We produce SAMe on our own all the time. The SAMe molecule contains a lot of methyl, which it exchanges with other molecules in a fundamental biological activity called methylation. As we age, the outer lipid layer of our cells hardens, but methylation keeps that layer supple, so we need a constant supply of methyl donors -- of which SAMe is one of the most active -- to help stanch cellular aging. That's the theory, anyway.

After SAMe donates its methyl group, it breaks down into homocysteine, a toxic agent that is linked to heart disease. If we have sufficient amounts of B vitamins (B12, B6 and folic acid) that's not a problem, because they "re-methylate" the homocysteine back into methionine. If we top up the levels of SAMe in our body, then the extra SAMe may also help recycle some of its own homocysteine byproducts into a helpful antioxidant. All of this, according to SAMe's supporters, has far-reaching healthful effects.

"It increases fluidity of the joints for people with arthritis," says Caroll Reider, the manager of consumer education for Pharmavite Inc. of Mission Hills, Calif. The company makes the Nature-Made brand of SAMe that has been on the shelves of some Canadian health-food stores for more than a month.

The reported results on SAMe leave some experts lukewarm to its purported efficacy. Most of the research used to support SAMe's benefits comes from studies done in Europe, where the supplement has been used for decades and is generally delivered intravenously. North Americans take SAMe as a pill, and the two are not the same.

"Looking at the existing summaries of data, it appears to me that this stuff is good for some people when it comes to pain," said Dr. Joseph Houpt, a consultant rheumatologist with the Kings Health Centre in Toronto. "But I am not impressed by the data. I remain to be convinced."..."

> Anyone having success with SAMe?




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