SAMe: Help for Migraines, Arthritis and Chemical Sensitivity

SAMe and Migraines

While scientists do not yet fully understand the mechanism by which this happens, supplementation with SAMe is an effective pain-reliever for migraine headaches.  The pain relief appears over a period of weeks and sometimes months and remains as long as SAMe supplementation is used.  It has been theorized that SAMe’s impact on the liver might be the basis for this migraine pain relief since in many people migraines are triggered by food allergies and/or tyramines found in such foods as chocolate and cheeses.

SAMe and Arthritis

A disorder that afflicts roughly 12% of the American population, osteoarthritis causes joint pain.  In clinical trials SAMe has provided relief equivalent to supplementation with glucosamine.

Rheumatoid arthritis, which appears to be an autoimmune disease, involves inflammation of not only the joints, but the connective tissues throughout the body.  Affecting about 3% of the population, rheumatoid arthritis causes the body to mistakenly attack its own tissues, resulting in painful, swollen joints and chronic, system-wide inflammation.

SAMe has been shown in animal trials to increase cartilage formation.  Additionally, SAMe offers mild, yet beneficial pain reduction in both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.  SAMe also enhances the function of glucosamine and chondrointin.  Benefits of SAMe supplementation appear in as little as two weeks.  Recommended supplementation is that one begin with 400 mg. three times a day.  This dosage may eventually be reduced to a maintenance dosage of 200 mg. twice a day.

Cartilage formation is dependent on adequate supplies of Vitamin C and the mineral Manganese, so both need to accompany SAMe supplementation for maximum benefit in osteoarthritis.  Boron is also recommended.

SAMe and Chemical Sensitivity, Weight Loss and Liver Health

Chemical sensitivity stems from liver impairment in which the liver cannot effectively detoxify foreign chemicals.  Foreign chemicals include man-made chemicals as well as natural chemicals.  The liver’s health (or lack of health) affects every other part of the human body.  SAMe is a key element in the liver’s production of lipotrophic complexes, which are used in processing fats and in eliminating toxins.  Symptoms that are often linked to poor liver function include: fatigue, digestive problems (indigestion, esophageal reflux, and poor metabolism that results in vitamin, amino acid and mineral deficiencies), and elevated responses to environmental toxins.

One of the most important things that the liver does is to secrete bile into the gall bladder.  Bile goes from there into the small intestine, where it breaks down fat globules into smaller substances that can either be used or are transported out of the body via its elimination system.  Without an effective and fully functioning process for fat removal, fat gets deposited in various areas of the body.  An underfunctioning liver can be a reason for unexplained weight gain.  It can also cause fatty deposits to be lodged in the liver, further impairing its function.

The liver is responsible for transforming proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals into substances that are usable by the body.  While detoxification to some extent is carried out by every cell in the body, the liver also has the job of detoxifying and/or inactivating the many of the substances produced by the body or encountered in the environment.  These include:

– ammonia that is caused by the metabolism of proteins

– the toxic aftereffects of the production by the body of hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone that are known to impair liver function

– supplemental hormones (both natural and synthetic) and oral contraceptives

– the toxins produced by bacteria, fungi and viruses that are in the body

– natural toxins such as the aflatoxins found in most all peanut products

– synthetic environmental toxins such as pesticides, synthetic fragrances, and the estrogenic compounds found in many halogenated products such as plastics

In fact, anything foreign to our bodies that enters our bodies must be detoxified and rendered harmless by our liver. What a major task that is!  SAMe assists the liver with doing these jobs by intervening in the detoxification process.  SAMe donates its methyl group to be fused to these toxins so they can safely be eliminated.  SAMe also encourages the production of bile, which is the major transport system for getting rid of toxins from the body.  A number of clinical trials have shown that SAMe is successful in protecting the liver and maintaining good liver function when excess estrogen is present in the body.  Based on these trials, SAMe is probably also effective at protecting the body when it is confronted with the endocrine disruptors found in some pesticides and halogenated products such as plastics.  In animal trials, SAME has also been found to protect against the deleterious effects of alcoholism.

Toxic hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by chemicals such as drugs, industrial solvents and pollutants.  Toxins can occasionally cause chronic liver disease and even cirrhosis. Toxins that can damage the liver have been divided into two groups:

–  Predictable toxins, those that are known to cause toxic hepatitis and liver damage with sufficient exposure to one or more of these chemicals, examples being cleaning solvents, carbon tetrachloride, and the pain reliever acetaminophen.

– Unpredictable toxins, which are toxins that damage the liver in a small proportion of individuals exposed to the chemical.

Unpredictable injury produced by most toxins is very poorly understood, but recent research suggests that a toxic response to a drug or foreign chemical probably depends on the kind, status, and amount of specific enzymes a person has for metabolizing the toxin.  Some forms of chemical liver injury will occur within hours of exposure to a chemical while other liver injury can take from days to weeks of the exposure to many months of regular ingestion of a drug before liver injury becomes apparent. Each toxin the liver encounters that overwhelms it detoxification process causes specific changes in the liver.  These changes range from impairment of liver function to death of parts of the liver.

What starts out as toxic hepatitis or liver inflammation may quickly progress to cirrhosis.  During cirrhosis, the liver ceases to perform much of its detoxification duties.  It produces interlacing strands of fibrous tissues that constrict and bind the liver, thus reducing its functional capacity.  Even in the most extreme cases of cirrhosis, SAMe has been shown to help the liver function better.  Thus, it is reasonable to assume that SAMe can also help persons with chemical sensitivity in reducing their sensitivity to chemicals by assisting the liver with its detoxification processes.

SAMe is a key ingredient in liver health as well as in restoring liver health.