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Being depressed and in pain are unfortunate symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. Could one supplement put an end to both of these troublesome issues? SAMe has a lot of different uses, but is it the right choice with fibromyalgia?

When a patient consistently complains about fatigue, muscle pain, and depression, physicians must consider a diagnosis of fibromyalgia [1]. In most cases, these patients will be women, and these symptoms are found in over 30 percent of patients [2]. Unfortunately, the treatment options for fibromyalgia pain relief are nonspecific, and patients can find themselves taking cocktails of medications to alleviate some of the main complaints associated with this disease [3]. A number of supplements for fibromyalgia are available on the market ranging from 5-HTP for better sleep to medications like SAMe for beating depression. In this article, we will discuss why SAMe medication may be right for you. 

SAMe Medication for Depression 

When patients are ultimately diagnosed with fibromyalgia, patients will present with some type of depression making their quality of life quite poor. Although they may not necessarily have an outright major depressive disorder, they may suffer from a more mild type of depression coined a dysthymic disorder [4]. Dysthymic disorder is milder but of longer duration than a traditional medical case of depression and many patients may not be keen to utilize strong anti-depressants that come with a number of potential side effects [5]. Supplements for fibromyalgia are more accurate to treat this type of condition, and we can use SAMe for beating depression. 

One study had been carried out to determine just how effective SAMe could be for overcoming depression. Patients with depression were split into different groups and the effectiveness of SAMe compared to a traditional SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor), a TCA (tricyclic antidepressant) and a placebo. To give you a little more background, SSRI therapy is considered to be the "gold-standard" therapy in medicine for depression while TCAs can be used for more persistent depressions that do not respond to SSRI therapy [6]. At the conclusion of the study, it researchers determined that SAMe medication was not any more effective than the placebo when it came to treating depression as a monotherapy. They found that patients that they treated with a SSRI with the addition of SAMe therapy responded better to this treatment compared to a SSRI on their own.

As you can see, SAMe medication will not be helpful by itself, but if you are taking it as supplemental therapy with a SSRI, you will have a better treatment outcome. [7]

SAMe Medication for a Better Immunity 

SAMe, or more popularly referred to as s-Adenosylmethionine, is a vital compound in our physiology. SAMe has a role in DNA formation, immune reactions and can be the target of chemotherapy agents when patients are sick but could it also be a useful supplement for fibromyalgia? All evidence points to yes in medicine. Studies show that when patients have low levels of SAMe in their bodies, they are more likely to have lipid accumulation, tissue inflammation and soft tissue injuries [8], which is very similar to the cascade of symptoms that patients with fibromyalgia ultimately present with — the fatigue, joint pain, and irritability. 

Studies further show that dietary supplementation with SAMe may affect the behavior of the subject as well. Mice were fed SAMe mixed in with their regular feed, and researchers found that these rodents were less irritable, have improved memory capacity and were less aggressive than their placebo-feed brethren. This behavioral modification was observed in these mice even one month after withdrawing SAMe supplementation. This depicts that SAMe surely can improve the behavior in rodents but could these same results work in humans? [9]

The neuroprotective effects of SAMe were put to the test in another experiment to determine the potential benefits. SAMe supplemental was administered to early-stage Alzheimer's disease and pre-dementia. Current research in medicine shows that patients with early onset forms of these memory-impairing diseases have abnormally high levels of s-Adenosylhomocysteine (SAH), the end product of a reaction with SAMe. SAMe should naturally remove this by-product, but if levels are inadequate, patients are at risk for neurological impairment. 

Early findings found that patients given nutritional supplemental along with SAMe responded much better than with traditional dietary supplemental along. 

These results may be due to the decreased immunological reactions that occur without the build-up of by-products. [10] Further research is recommended to unlock the full potential of SAMe, but this material could also help patients with reduced cognition and memory that depressive patients typically complain about.

SAMe and osteoarthritis

Extracts of SAMe are also currently being analyzed to determine their role in immunosuppression. Patients suffering from osteoarthritis, a disease where the body attacks its own soft tissue in the joints (like knees and elbows) have been given therapies with high levels of SAMe compounds as a treatment option. Researchers have observed that when SAMe levels are high, patients do not have the same pain and inflammation seen with their osteoarthritis symptoms. [11] This could also greatly benefit patients suffering from the same joint pains associated with fibromyalgia. 

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