S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe): In Depth


SAMe has been investigated most extensively for depression, osteoarthritis, and liver diseases. For all three conditions, research has not conclusively shown that SAMe is helpful.

Side Effects Of S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine

People with bipolar disorder (an illness characterized by mood swings, from depression to mania) should not take S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine for their depressive symptoms except under the supervision of a health care provider because SAMe may worsen symptoms of mania.

Although SAMe has been used to treat cholestasis during pregnancy, its safety during pregnancy has not been established.

S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine may decrease the effects of levodopa (L-dopa), a drug used to treat Parkinson’s disease. It’s also possible that SAMe might interact with drugs and dietary supplements that increase levels of serotonin (a chemical produced by nerve cells), such as antidepressants, L-tryptophan, and St. John’s wort.

There’s a theoretical concern about the use of SAMe by people who are immunocompromised (such as those who are HIV-positive). Immunocompromised people are at risk for Pneumocystis carinii infection, and SAMe enhances the growth of this microorganism.

Side effects of SAMe are uncommon, and when they do occur they are usually minor problems such as nausea or digestive upsets. 


Don’t use S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine to postpone seeing a health care provider about a medical problem.

Consult your health care provider about using SAMe supplements. If you’re pregnant or nursing a child, if you take medicine or other dietary supplements, if you have bipolar disorder or Parkinson’s disease, if you’re HIV-positive, or if you’re considering giving SAMe to a child, it’s especially important to consult your (or your child’s) health care provider.

Take charge of your health—talk with your health care providers about any complementary health approaches you use. Together you can make shared, well-informed decisions.


All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.