SAM-e is a substance that occurs naturally in the cells of plants, animals, and humans. Because the body produces less SAM-e with age, some people think that SAM-e may be a helpful supplement for certain diseases. Although current trials are inconclusive, an analysis of 28 different studies showed that SAM-e had a statistically significant improvement in the symptoms of depression when compared to a placebo. Some studies have shown that improvements were comparable to conventional antidepressants such as the class of medications called tricyclic antidepressants.
SAM-e is particularly helpful for those with a type of depression that produces low energy. The dosage is 400 to 800 milligrams daily, depending upon need or tolerance. The dose most often used for depression in clinical studies is 800 to 1,600 milligrams daily for up to six weeks. Although SAM-e usually causes few problems, you should use caution if you have diabetes, low blood sugar, or an anxiety or other type of psychiatric disorder. Gastrointestinal problems, headaches, fatigue, and skin rashes are the most common side effects.