(NaturalNews) According to two recent studies, the natural dietary supplement SAMe (S-adenosyl-L-methionine) can be more effective than prescription antidepressants in relieving depression, including severe depression. One study had subjects take either SAMe or a prescription antidepressant while the other one had one group of subjects take SAMe along with an antidepressant and the other group take only the antidepressant. Both studies returned favorable results for SAMe.
In one four-week study at the University of California, Irvine 17 subjects who were suffering from severe depression were randomly divided into groups which took either 1600 mg of SAMe daily or a popular prescription antidepressant. At the end of the study, 62% of those taking SAMe experienced symptom relief, while only 50% of the other group had any type of favorable response.
Another study which was just concluded by researchers at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital picked 73 adults with depression who were not responding to prescription antidepressants. All the subjects continued to take their antidepressants. However, 39 of them were randomly selected to receive SAMe, while the remaining 34 were given a placebo.
After six weeks of treatment, 36% of the patients taking SAMe, together with their antidepressant, showed improvement, while only 18% of those taking their antidepressants in combination with a placebo made any progress. Approximately 26% of the patients taking a combination of SAMe and their antidepressant had their symptoms completely disappear, compared to 12% in the placebo group.
The study findings provide important evidence of the value of natural options to dangerous and often ineffective prescription medications in treating depression, as well as finding new clues as to its cause. Notably, other studies have indicated that antidepressants do not work in over half of depressed patients.
SAMe is a natural chemical that is produced in the liver, and is a metabolite of the amino acid L-methionine. This chemical is found throughout the body, especially the brain, adrenal glands, and liver. Playing an important role in vital bodily functions, it helps to maintain cell membranes, stabilizes neurotransmitters (dopamine and serotonin) in the brain, and helps remove toxins in our bodies.
SAMe should be taken in conjunction with B complex vitamins, especially vitamin B12 and folic acid. These vitamins are required for proper synthesis of SAMe and deficiencies in these vitamins can result in low concentrations of methionine throughout the nervous system. Researchers also suggest that taking supplemental B6, B12, and folic acid decreases the risk of other disorders, such as cardiovascular disease, by helping to metabolize homocysteine.
Although SAMe is mostly associated with treating depression, it can also be effective when treating a wide variety of ailments, such as dementia, Alzheimer's disease, migraine headaches, osteoarthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, chronic low back pain, fibromyalgia, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, spinal chord injuries, and liver disease. It can also be effective in treating lead poisoning and may slow the aging process.
The best way to introduce SAMe is to start at the lowest dose and, if necessary, gradually increase the dosage. Evidence suggests that improvements in symptoms can be seen in as little as two weeks.
Important Notes: Even though SAMe and antidepressants were used together in the Harvard study, it is not recommended to take the two together. Under certain circumstances, this type of combination could cause an overload of serotonin in the brain. In addition, SAMe should not be used by individuals suffering from bipolar disorder, as SAMe can trigger manic episodes and anxiety in people suffering from bipolar disorder.
Luella May is a natural health advocate helping people to heal naturally. Luella is in the midst of editing her ebook, "The 8 Invisible Stains of Our Souls" which will be available in the next few months. She partners with Tony Isaacs, who authors of books and articles about natural health including "Cancer's Natural Enemy" and "Collected Remedies" Luella contributes to The Best Years in Life website for baby boomers and others wishing to avoid prescription drugs and mainstream managed illness and live longer, healthier and happier lives naturally. Luella co-moderates the CureZone "Ask Tony Isaacs" forum as well as the Yahoo Health Group "Oleander Soup" and hosts her own yahoo group focusing on the natural wellbeing of pets "