SAMe in Depression and Osteoarthritis

SAMe is a natural compound that can be found in every human cell. It is involved in more than 36 biochemical processes within the human body.

A 2002 American meta-analysis confirms the use of SAMe (S-adenosyl-L-methionine) as an effective antidepressant and pain reliever. The report on the effectiveness of SAM was sponsored by the American Department of Health and Human Services. A dedicated group of researchers reviewed 102 studies to determine the effectiveness of SAMe. The results of the various studies were definitive and convincing1.

It’s been suggested that in the future, SAMe could possibly be used as an alternative treatment method used to reduce the symptoms of depression and arthritis. SAMe may also offer a substitute to prescription drugs for the treatment of chronic liver diseases.

Data analysis

During the three year study period, the group of physicians gathered evidence from 102 clinical trials and combined this with an intensive literature review.

They focused on research investigating the effectiveness of a treatment with SAMe with respect to depression, cholestasis, arthritis and liver disease. The study results were evaluated by the Rand Corporation.

Antidepressant and pain relief effect of SAMe

SAMe acts as a pain killer in OAThe key findings of the study suggest that treatment with SAMe is as effective as treatment with prescription antidepressants. Furthermore, it was detected that SAMe has a similar effect as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) on arthritic pain and liver disease.

According to the results of 47 trials, treatment with SAMe is as effective as the prescription antidepressants. Significant differences were not observed. The main advantage of SAMe is that its administration does not cause any side effects. Many patients taking antidepressants suffer from headaches, weight gain and sexual dysfunction. In relation to osteoarthritis, 14 studies found that treatment with SAMe is as effective as with using NSAIDs.

The abstract of the study draws attention to the high economic damage caused by the mentioned diseases. The treatment and the related loss of productive worldwide are estimated to be 43-53 billion dollars. The total social costs are estimated at 95 billion dollars. A total of 15 percent of the American population suffers from arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of joint disease.

Following this meta-analysis, scientists recommend conducting further studies on SAMe and its effectiveness in the field of liver disease, depression and arthritis. Establishing whether SAMe is really effective in comparison to conventional therapies may reduce the reliance on NSAIDs.


  1. “Evidence Report/Technology Assessment No. 64. (2002) S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine for Treatment of Depression, Osteoarthritis, and Liver Disease.  Retrieved 25 Nov 2013 from: