SAMe (S-adenosyl-methionine) for osteoarthritis

We’ve discussed SAMe’s use as an anti-depressant on this Blog, as well as its potential to support liver health. But over the past twenty years there has also been much research into SAMe to counter osteoarthritis pain. In a number of trials in Europe and in the US, SAMe has equalled the effect of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen in decreasing pain and improving function. Furthermore, it is better tolerated than NSAIDS, which cause clinical concern about side effects especially when taken at high doses over long periods of time.

Here’s one drawback to SAMe for osteoarthritis: trials have shown this supplement to have a slower onset of action than NSAIDs–an initial starting use of about 4 weeks is needed for full effectivesness. In the meantime, some patients may continue to take NSAIDS, gradually reducing the dose.

See the NYBC description of SAMe for additional information, including our recommendation to take adequate B-complex along with this supplement.

For further reading and references on SAMe for osteoarthritis, we recommend Natural Products: A Case-Based Approach for Health Professionals (American Pharmacists’ Assoc., Washington, DC: 2006), pp. 37-49

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