SAM-e as effective as anti-inflammatories for joint pain
If you suffer from painful joints and are looking for a supplement to help, it may be worth trying SAM-e – full name: S-adenosyl methionine [structural formula shown below]. According to the results of a trial done by researchers at the University of California in 2003, the supplement works as effectively as the anti-inflammatory celecoxib.
SAM-e is produced in the body when cells combine ATP energy molecules and the amino acid methionine. The body uses SAM-e as a supplier of methyl groups. Genetic material and messenger molecules, which the genetic material uses to talk to cells, use methyl groups. Small trials have shown that SAM-e works against depression and increases testosterone levels. A test-tube study done in the 1980s showed that SAM-e helps cartilage cells make new fibres. [Am J Med. 1987 Nov 20;83(5A):48-54.] It was this property that the researchers were interested in.
The researchers gave 56 test subjects, who had osteo-arthritis in their knees, a daily dose of 1200 mg SAM-e or 200 mg celecoxib for a period of two months. They used questionnaires to assess the extent to which the test subjects' pain had diminished. The figure below shows this. The dotted line at the top of the graph represents the pain level before the trial started.
Celecoxib has a direct effect, whereas SAM-e needs a little more time to kick in, the researchers concluded. Apart from that, both substances are equally effective. SAM-e and celecoxib both resulted in similar improvements to freedom of movement in the test subjects.
"SAM-e is helpful for the management of pain in osteoarthritis, and demonstrates similar effectiveness as a currently accepted COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib", write the Americans. "Results from this study add and confirm results from prior studies indicating a possible role for SAMe in the management of osteoarthritis."
And what works for people with arthritis sufferers may also work for strength athletes who experience pain from squats and dead lifts. For example.
BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2004 Feb 26;5:6.
In vitro study: SAM-e causes rise in testosterone 04.05.2009
Joints & Tendons