SAM-e Supplements for Osteoarthritis: Are They Safe?

Feb 22, 2021 | Arthritis

Arthritis can be extremely painful and debilitating. It’s true no matter which of the 100+ different versions of the condition you have. Yes, you can take NSAIDs, but what if there was another way to relieve pain without exposing yourself to those side effects?

That’s why researchers are studying the effects of various supplements, including turmeric/curcumin, fish oil, and SAM-e. Not only does SAM-e, a relatively new supplement, show promising results in reducing reliance on NSAIDs, but it could also assist in the regrowth and restoration of lost cartilage caused by osteoarthritis.

It’s important that you take any supplement’s proposed health benefits with a degree of skepticism. Anything labeled as a supplement may show promising results in scientific studies, but, until the FDA approves (or denies) it, a supplement cannot claim to treat any illness, condition, or disease.

Let’s talk about what makes SAM-E so special and why scientists are interested in investigating its helpful properties.

What is SAM-e?

S-Adenosylmethionine (SAM-e) is a compound naturally found in your body. It’s involved in many important functions, from regulating hormones like serotonin in your brain to maintaining cell membranes. In terms of arthritis pain, SAM-e is currently being studied for its anti-inflammatory properties, mainly in patients with osteoarthritis.

SAM-e has also been investigated for its anti-depressive properties, if it can improve liver health, and whether it can help our furry friends. Currently, SAM-e is available as a dietary supplement for humans, as well as cats and dogs, in the U.S. In other countries, including those in the European Union, it is classified as a prescription drug.

How May SAM-e Improve Joint Pain?

In a study published in 2004, researchers found that, although SAM-e didn’t work as fast as the prescription NSAID, celecoxib (Celebrex), the supplement provided the same amount of pain relief. That said, the study was relatively short and concluded that further, longer investigations were needed to pinpoint the optimal dose and long-term effectiveness.

Since then, research has suggested that SAM-e may have a role in the regeneration of cartilage. This would be a huge improvement in the treatment and potential cure for arthritis.

Additionally, several animal studies have shown that SAM-e can stimulate the production of cartilage, which shows promising results and will help all manner of arthritis patients. However, evidence for both its cartilage regenerating properties and NSAID replacement remain inconclusive until further, more long-term research can be conducted.

Is SAM-e Safe to Take?

It depends on several factors, including your personal medical history. Like any supplement or medication, you must consider the side effects and consult with your doctor or arthritis specialist before, during, and after taking SAM-e.

Those include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Digestive issues, such as nausea and diarrhea
  • Worsening of conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder

While you don’t need a prescription (in the U.S.) to purchase SAM-e, it’s always best to talk to your doctor before trying a new supplement — even if they’re considered generally safe to take.

You Have Other Options for Your Arthritis Pain

Whether or not you choose to take SAM-e, you can improve your arthritis symptoms, both medically and lifestyle-wise in other ways. You can change your diet to reduce joint inflammation, engage in low-impact exercise, or make the decision to receive pain-relieving injections in your joints.

The specialists at Arthritis Relief & Vascular Centers can help you find the pain relief you need. Contact us to schedule a risk-free consultation today! We are committed to making your arthritis pain a thing of the past.

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