As of late the molecule SAM-e has become known as a natural treatment for depression, the number one mental disorder in terms of affected patients world-wide. Today various medicinal treatments for depression exist ranging from well known prescription drugs such as the Serotonin-Reuptake-Inhibitors, to so-called natural treatments for depression. A natural treatment for depression is loosely defined as a medicinal agent that is not a prescription drug and commonly of natural origin such as herbal treatment for depression, fish oils or, as in the case of SAM-e, an agent that is chemically synthesised for treatment purposes, but also occurs naturally in the body. (As an aside it needs to be pointed out that prescription drugs often are also derived from organic sources, including plants, so the definition of “natural” is actually quite imprecise).
SAM-e (S-Adenosyl Methionine) is an essential amino acid that is naturally produced in the human body, and primarily the liver, where it is also metabolized to a large extent. It plays a central role in the body’s metabolism, where it is involved in the transfer of Methyl-groups to various substrates such as proteins, nucleic acids and lipids. Among its many effects in the body this natural treatment for depression increases the level of neurotransmitters in the brain. Discovered in the 1950s SAM-e has been known as a treatment for various diseases since the 1970s. With an increasing awareness for depression and a growing tendency for self-medication the compound has recently received more and more attention as a potential alternative treatment for depression.
This natural treatment for depression is sold in the US as a nutritional supplement rather than as prescription drug, although, as will be seen later, its side effect profile is not to be underestimated. The compound is marketed as either SAM-e or under other trade names such as Gumbaral, Samyr, Adomet and Admethionine. Apart of being marketed as natural treatment for depression SAM-e is also sold as remedy for liver diseases and osteoarthritis. It is commonly taken in the form of a pill at various concentrations. As for the compound’s potential as alternative treatment for depression various clinical studies have shown its positive effect on depression. Many users of SAM-e reported that this natural treatment for depression improved their symptoms significantly; while others stated that there depression even disappeared completely. However, the compound is not without its risks as in some patients it can cause neurological conditions such as worsened depression, anxiety, mania, nausea and headaches as well as other organic side effects such as diarrhoea, dyspepsia, insomnia and allergic reactions. It may also lose its potency over time as the patient’s body adjusts to the chemical. Long term effects of SAM-e are unknown.
Concluding it can be said that SAM-e may be a viable natural treatment for depression for a given depression patient. However, while not a prescription drug it is recommended not to take it without medical guidance. In particular it is important to start taking this alternative treatment for depression at a low dosage, since overdosing is commonly reported often leading to the side effects mentioned above.
Find more on drugs classified as natural treatment for depression at http://www.beatdepression.org .