Best Of Nootropics: SAMe
Hi guys, welcome to this new series; the nootropic of the week! Every week or so, we’ll be discussing a new brain supplement that is being used extensively by many to enhance their brain power, mood or cognition to provide you with a better understanding of what’s out there in this complex world of brain enhancement.
To start straight of the bat, this week featured brain supplement is SAMe, a supplement used to boost mood and enhance cognitive functioning.
Nootropics: The Technical Details
I don’t want to turn this into our own little chemistry class, but it’s important to have a basic understanding of a nootropics’ functioning in order to be able to use it responsibly.
SAMe, also known as S-Adenosyl methionine, is a naturally occurring compound in the human body, discovered in 1952 by a guy called Cantoni. It is created in your body from methionine (an important amino-acid) and ATP (the main energy supplier in your body).
Together (and with the help of a friendly enzyme) these 2 compounds form SAMe, which has a variety of vital functions in the human body.
The most essential aspect that blesses SAMe with its important functions is the fact that SAMe has the responsibility of being a primary methyl-donor in a great number of metabolic reactions.
Methyl donors, say what?
Methyl donors are molecules that carry a methyl- group. These donors are kind enough to give away their methyl group to other molecules in so-called methyl-reactions (methylation).
These reactions are absolutely essential for countless of processes in the human body. Look at the brain for example; here, methyl reactions are required to create the majority of neurotransmitters. In total, there are thousands of different methyl-reactions.
Needless to say that the source of these methyl-molecules, the donors, are very important, or, as biochemist Craig Cooney stated in one of his books, Methyl Magic; ‘Without methylation there could be no life as we know it’.
How to use SAMe
Research has shown that people with low moods usually also have a low concentration of SAMe in their bodies.
SAMe has therefore been used for several decades as a mood-booster and is still being used as a successful alternative for prescription drugs for depressed patients.
But hey, I’m not depressed! Can I still reap some of the cognitive benefits derived from this nootropic?
This is where it get’s interesting, as there is no uniform answer to the question. In fact, the answer to that question is going to depend on your unique genetic make-up. Some people do not have appropriate levels of methyl donors to satisfy all the necessary methyl-reactions needed for the brain.
Therefore, these ‘undermethylators’ also have lower levels of neurotransmitters in their brain. For such people, the effects of SAMe will be significant and immediately noticeable, i.e. increased alertness, focus & improved mood.
For the lucky ones that already have an abundance of methyl donors available, the effects of SAMe will be less noticeable.
How to find out whether or not you’re a undermethylator?
Take SAMe for a few days, notice any positive effects on your mood & focus? Then you’re probably an undermethylator that could benefit from SAMe! Not impressed after a few days? Then you’re probably good and SAMe just isn’t necessary for you.
SAMe is super safe and non-toxic; the worst reported side-effect is mild stomach upset, so it’s definitely worth a try.
Now if you do notice profound effects from using SAMe, then it is suggested to supplement this with an adequate supply of B-vitamins (B9 & B12 in particular). This is to maintain the chemical balance between SAMe and several of its derivates that work synergistically with the B-vitamin compounds. Do some research on this topic if you want to get into the specifics.
If you’re depressed, definitely check out SAMe! If you’re not, it’s still worth trying to see if it has any effects on you. Benefits include:
- Improved mood
- Increased focus & alertness
- Enhanced Cartilage protection
- Boosted liver protection
This is not the case for everyone though, and the best way to find out if SAMe could work for you is by trying it out for a few days. If it does work, make sure to take some B-vitamins along the side to maintain the balance! Plenty of quality suppliers to be found online.
What are your experiences with SAMe?