SAMe is a nutraceutical. Nutraceuticals are nutrients with pharmaceutical properties. SAMe is the abbreviation for s-adenosylmethionine. It is also abbreviated SAM-e.
SAMe occurs naturally in the body, manufactured by combining methionine, an amino acid, with adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body’s main energy molecule. That reaction occurs throughout the body, but mostly in the liver. As with most nutraceuticals, SAMe exerts greater effect when higher-than-naturally-occurring quantities are administered.
In the big picture, SAMe is used for many conditions. Humans take it for liver, joint, pain and mental health issues. Veterinarians, however, mostly use SAM-e for liver problems.
When we encounter abnormal liver enzyme results on a chemistry profile, especially
serum ALT (alanine aminotransferase) and/or serum AST (aspartate aminotransferase), we know that these are leakage enzymes, indicating liver damage, but we don’t always know the nature of the liver damage without a liver biopsy. That is an invasive procedure and can be expensive.
In the acutely-ill liver patient, liver biopsy may be necessary and lifesaving. However, in more chronic conditions, or those with low-to-moderate enzyme elevations, a symptomatic approach can be taken.
SAM-e has the ability to reduce liver inflammation, improve many of the liver’s functions and bring down serum liver enzyme levels within days of beginning oral dosing. Supplementing SAMe adds to the levels already present in the body, assisting in important functions such as methylation and antioxidant protection.
In our practice, we use Nutramax’s Denosyl exclusively. Why Nutramax? They have a reputation for the highest standards, backed by QC (quality control) that is unrivaled in the industry.
Nutramax also makes other SAMe products, including Denamarin, which adds silybin to SAMe. Silybin helps the liver to move bile more effectively. Swollen, inflamed livers often have problems with bile becoming “backed up,” which can lead to jaundice. Denamarin is an excellent choice when bile obstruction is a factor in liver disease.
Almost every patient with liver disease is helped by SAMe. Some, however, have such severe disease that symptomatic therapy alone will not control their clinical signs. Those patients require liver biopsy so that treatment can be more specific.
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.