SAM-e. What if I told you there was an all-natural health supplement on the market – like a vitamin – that in scientific studies has proven to be more  effective at treating and alleviating depression than the best pharmaceutical antidepressants on the market, without the harmful side-effects?

One way it does this is to boost and balance neurotransmitters in the brain that are responsible for mood and energy – for example, serotonin and dopamine. Dopamine is integrally linked to feeling energetic, and one of the only ways ever discovered to extend lifespan is by maintaining youthful levels by protecting dopamine cells in the brain. More about that in another article.

Scientific studies have shown that people who take pharmaceutical anti-depressants for long periods of time are 7 times more likely to develop cancer than those who don’t. This should be a major concern for people people who are taking pharmaceutical antidepressants on a long-term basis.

SAM-e is not only great at reducing depression and elevating your mood, but is also one of the best health supplements you can take for your joints – building and protecting the soft tissue, cartilage, tendons, etc. that allow you to move easily and fluidly, without pain, while reducing the inflammation that leads to and aggravates joint conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, etc.

SAM-e is also one of the most powerful nutrients ever discovered by science that aids and protects the liver against aging and disease – keeping it in a youthful state. It has been shown to reverse liver damage and disease in those suffering from ailments such as cirrhosis of the liver, often brought on by alcohol abuse.

As you know, the liver is one of the most important organs in your body because it is responsible for cleansing toxins from your blood, produces critical enzymes, breaks down and converts important nutrients and hormones, and a host of other vital functions.

Another important benefit of sam-e is the role it plays in the formation of the myelin sheath, the protective coating surrounding nerve cells, which increases the fluidity of the membranes in brain cells and improves the functioning of brain receptors. That means your brain communicates more effectively across neurons and synapses and operates more efficiently.     

Sam-e is short for s-adenosylmethionine, a substance that exists naturally in animals, humans and plants, and is involved in many important biochemical processes in the body, but it is difficult to get adequate amounts from your diet alone. Your body has to produce most of it on its own.

And of course, as we age, our bodies naturally produce less and less, so supplementation – especially in old age – is necessary for everyone (but don’t wait until you are too old). You can begin supplementing small doses over the age of 30, but for most people over the age of 40 is perhaps more reasonable. Sam-e is not cheap, and most people will produce reasonably adequate amounts up until age 40 anyway. But of course, if you are fighting various diseases (or are an anti-aging fanatic), higher doses of sam-e may be desired.

One of the best qualities of sam-e is the almost total lack of side-effects in virtually everyone who takes it. Irresponsible and excessive use – taking too large doses – may induce anxiety, headaches, heart palpitations, restlessness and insomnia in very rare cases. If you should ever feel nausea when taking sam-e, it can be reduced by taking the pills with food. Should you ever experience any negative side-effects, lower your dose until they disappear, or stop taking it completely and consult an anti-aging health expert.

Also, people suffering from manic-depressive disorders have been advised by some not to take sam-e because it may cause manic episodes. But the scientific literature has not yet really supported this. All in all, these side-effects are very rare when sam-e is used appropriately and in proper doses. Some people claim that sam-e can raise homocystine levels, thereby increasing risk of heart disease. However, there is no evidence for this in the scientific literature.