You may have heard recently that SAM-e (S-adenosyl-methionine) is a good supplement for those suffering with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAM-e isn’t an herb as such, but is a substance found in plant, animal, and human cells. While the body does produce SAM-e, many people may notice the benefit of taking SAM-e as a supplement.

SAM-e has been used in the United States to treat depression which is characterized by pessimism, loss of motivation, an increase in sleep and appetite, carbohydrate cravings, and thoughts of suicide in some cases. Rather than using synthetic drugs which often have serious adverse side effects, many people are choosing to use natural alternatives such as SAM-e, St. John’s Wort, and kava kava.

Many people consider SAM-e to be one of the most effective natural antidepressants; it is also considered to be extremely safe. SAM-e increases the action of dopamine, serotonin, and melatonin, which are neurotransmitters required to regulate people’s mood.

SAM-e has been prescribed to effectively treat mild depression in Europe for many years. It has been shown to have the following benefits, not all associated with depression or SAD:

* Joint and connective tissue pain associated with osteoarthritis is reduced
* Produces an energizing effect for those taking the supplement
* Better focus when using the supplement than when not taking it
* Positive improvement in their mood while taking it
* May lower homocysteine levels which may reduce cardiovascular disease
* Is an antioxidant which helps fight free radicals
* Does not cause weight gain or sexual dysfunction in users, which is a problem with some prescribed antidepressants

Besides helping improve the symptoms of depression and SAD, there are other health benefits associated with taking SAM-e. Quite often people suffering from depression experience pain similar to arthritis. If a person does have arthritis pain, SAM-e may help alleviate some of this pain. SAM-e has also been shown to have a positive effect on fibromyalgia and liver disease, along with arthritis pain and depression.

Most often, people will take 400 milligrams of SAM-e on an empty stomach for up to two weeks. This should be sufficient for mild depression symptoms. If the depression lingers or gets worse, someone may take up to 600 milligrams a day. However, if depression symptoms last longer than two weeks, it is best to seek professional help. Those diagnosed with bipolar depression particularly should speak with their health provider before taking SAM-e or any other antidepressant.

The benefits of SAM-e to combat winter blues are reported in the United States and Europe. You may have considered using SAM-e yourself. If this is the case, you can find it in drug stores, health food stores, and general discount stores. SAM-e may well help alleviate some of your symptoms of winter blues, but you may find the cost more than you would prefer.

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