Naturopathic Currents

SAMe for Depression?

A review in Naturopathic Currents looked at SAMe and its impact on mental health (1). Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), the most frequently prescribed antidepressant, are frequently the first line treatment for depression. SSRI often provide inadequate symptom relief for mild-to-moderate depression, or a high relapse rate. Common side effects include fatigue, worsening mood, insomnia, poor concentration, loss of libido and weight gain. A randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study examined the ability of SAMe to augment the effectiveness of SSRI meds (2). Seventy three non-responders to SSRI treatment were enrolled. All continued to receive their SSRI plus 800 mg of oral SAMe BID or placebo. Over 36% of the SAMe group experienced treatment response compared to 17% in the placebo group, and 25% of the SAMe group experienced remission compared to only 11% of the placebo group. Researchers concluded that oral SAMe can be an effective, well-tolerated, and safe adjunctive treatment strategy for SSRI non-responders with major depressive disorder. Secondary analysis was performed on the same patients examining the effect of SAMe on the rate of cognitive-related impairments frequently associated with depression (3). Results showed a greater improvement in the ability to recall information, and a trend toward improved word-finding for the SAMe group vs. placebo. Researchers concluded that SAMe can improve memory-related cognitive symptoms in depressed patients.

1. Rouchotas P. S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe) – Effects on mental health. Naturopathic Currents. Nov 6, 2014

2. Papakostas GI, et al. Evidence for S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) augmentation of serotonin reuptake inhibitors for antidepressant non-responders with major depressive disorder: a double-bling, randomized clinical trial. Amer J. Psychiatry 2010; 167 (8): 942-8.

3. Levkovits Y, et al. Effects of S-adenosylmethionine augmentation of serotonin-reuptake inhibitor antidepressants on cognitive symptoms of major depressive disorder. J. Affect. Disord. 2012; 136(3): 1174-8.


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