Is Brain Chemistry Making You Sick?

Dear Reader,

If you and your doctor are overlooking this key nutrient, it could be preventing you from getting well. It helps to:

• Maintain growth, health, and repair from injury at the cellular level

• Insure proper liver function and prevent liver disease, including cirrhosis

• Fight toxins in the body

• Relieve pain

• Regulate mood, sleep, memory, and overall brainpower

This last function is the one that’s so important to keeping a healthy outlook while trying to get well. I’m talking about S-adenosyl methionine, or SAMe (pronounced “sam-eee”). SAMe is a “co-enzyme,” which means that it enables other chemical compounds to perform a number of essential functions. SAMe is one of the main building blocks your brain needs to produce neurotransmitters, chemical compounds brain cells need to send and receive signals.

SAMe raises levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine enhances learning, memory, motivation, and even helps with attention and sleep. It’s also the key to experiencing pleasure and maintaining an overall sense of well being and a good mood.

This is something most folks don’t know about when they get sick. No matter what the physical cause of your illness may be, staying motivated, positive, and focused on getting better is one of the keys to restoring your health and wellness.

And there’s scientific evidence going back decades that proves SAMe’s ability to help boost mood—even fight serious depression. In one study of 15 patients hospitalized for major depression, SAMe acted as a safe, effective anti-depressant that produced results quickly, with few side effects.

Another “meta-analysis” of eleven major studies looking at SAMe as a treatment for depression found that it gave sufferers real relief.

SAMe’s also a potent painkiller. For instance, some of the latest research indicates that you can skip dangerous drugs for arthritis and go for SAMe instead. A recent study looked at 56 people with arthritis of the knee over 16 weeks. One group took the COX-2 inhibitor Celebrex (which poses a serious risk of heart attack and stroke) while the other took SAMe. Researchers found that SAMe was as effective as Celebrex at eliminating pain.

During your youth, you have healthy levels of SAMe throughout your body. The problem is that as you age, your body makes less of it. This may explain why younger folks bounce back from difficult experiences more easily—they’ve got higher levels of dopamine and a higher pain threshold than adults.

In my own practice, I’ve found that many of my adult patients have left a health problem untreated for too long because they feel depressed or run down from the pain they’re in. SAMe’s an effective, safe, natural way to eliminate the problem and get them motivated to get well.

You can find it in most health food stores or drug stores. I recommend taking 200 mg per day for at least two weeks. From there I’ll sometimes increase the dose gradually to 400 mg if I’m not seeing results. The only side effects to watch out for are an upset stomach or a skin rash, but these are rare.

I also recently came across another safe, natural solution to the kind of lack of motivation that comes with having the blues, whether it’s to get well or just get off the couch. It’s an audio program called The 9 Intense Experiences by Brian Vaszily.

He’s spent years exploring ways to overcome the kinds of emotional blocks I see in some of my patients. It makes good sense to combine this approach with nutrients like SAMe. In fact, he specifically talks about how to mentally boost dopamine levels to get you optimistic and motivated. We all need these things—not only to get well, but to achieve real, lasting happiness.

For more information, click HERE.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

1 Kagan et al. “Oral S-adenosylmethionine in depression: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.” American Journal of Psychiatry. 1990. 47(5): 591-5.

2 Williams et al. “S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) as treatment for depression: a systematic review.” Clinical and Investigative Medicine. 2005. 28(3):132-9.

3 Najm et al. “S-Adenosyl methionine (SAMe) versus celecoxib for the treatment of osteoarthritis symptoms: A double-blind cross-over trial.” BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 2004. 5:6. doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-6.