I decided that I would start a series of posts about the most effective supplements that I take (or have taken) to help with different problems. I want to start with those supplements that I really miss if I don't take them, the ones that without a doubt make a difference for me.
The first one is a supplement that I have taken for several years after hearing about it from Dr. Don Colbert. It helps both those who suffer from depression and those who have joint pain, lower back pain, fibromyalgia, and other pain issues. Since I have battled a few of those issues, I figured this one was definitely worth a try.
It's name? Kind of a strange name - Sam-e, also written SamE. It's longer name is S-Adénosyl Méthionine, but that's why they gave it a nickname. It has been used in Europe since the late 1970s and 1980s, and I learned about it in the U.S. in the late 1990s. It is something that our bodies make naturally, but some people don't make enough of it for various reasons, and supplementing with extra can be helpful. There is a pretty decent basic writeup of SamE at WebMD. I thought that I would share more specifically my experience with SamE for this blog.
I took SamE off and on for several years, as a part of trying various natural remedies for both depression and pain. I take 400 mg, once a day in the morning. For the last few years, I have realized how important it is for me in battling back pain. It is best to take SamE on an empty stomach, which is easiest for me to accomplish first thing in the morning. The tricky part is that if I have an especially hectic morning or if I am just especially groggy, I forget to take it. Then, late in the afternoon or early in the evening, I start wondering what I did to make my back hurt more than usual that day. I review activities and can't think of anything strenuous, but then if I check my supply of SamE, I normally find that the reason for the stiffness is that I forgot to take my SamE that morning.
I know that SamE also helps me have a better mood, which is the primary reason that I initially tried it to be honest, but at this point in time, I'm not having major struggles with depression, so that effect is more subtle. I think if I were to go without SamE for a few weeks, I would notice the difference, but what I rely on it most for is the pain management aspect, which is noticeable in maybe 10 hours at the most.
The only caution that I am aware of with SamE is the same as with almost any supplement that can help depression sufferers, which is the possibility of getting too much serotonin if the person is already on antidepressant medication. It is very common to take supplements along with antidepressants, but it might be wise to start with a smaller dose of SamE and also to double-check with your physician if you are on medication that effects serotonin levels, just to be cautious. It is my understanding that it would take awfully high doses of both the supplements and the medication to cause problems associated with having too much serotonin, but I mention it just to be on the safe side. My goal initially was to use supplements in place of antidepressants, and it worked out great for me. The supplements I used didn't have any of the negative side effects that the medications did.
I buy SamE from different sources. You can actually buy it at Walmart, Dillons, etc., but I normally order it online for a better price from Vitacost.com. I have hyperlinked my favorite brand on this Vitacost link. I don't currently receive any money in return for the link; I am just trying help people find a good product at a good cost. Maybe some day they will pay me for the link :) I would note that you may be ahead to start with just 200 mg and see if that helps you.