With a name like S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine, it hardly sounds like something to cheer you up. But companies that sell this popular dietary supplement say it boosts your mood and eases the aches in your joints. Physicians say it shows promise for treating depression and arthritis, but add that more independent research is needed.
Known as SAMe and pronounced "Sammy," S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine occurs in the body naturally. It is made from the amino acid, methionine, and is believed to be involved in many critical biochemical processes in the body. Scientists say it's an antioxidant, an anti-inflammatory and even helps in the production of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters.
As a dietary supplement, SAMe has been increasing in popularity in recent years, according to Pharmavite LLC, a Northridge, Calif., company that began selling it in the U.S. in 1999. Now sold by many companies, SAMe is marketed for improving mood, easing arthritis and even helping some types of liver disease.
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