SAM-e for Anxiety - How Well Does It Work?

Does using SAM-e for anxiety help to reduce the symptoms?

S-adenosyl-methionine, commonly referred to as SAMe (pronounced Sammy) is shown to be effective in a variety of health problems such as depression, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, liver disorders and migraine headaches.

SAMe is a natural substance that is made in our body from ATP (energy molecule) and the amino acid methionine.

It is intricately involved in the methylation process (joining small molecules together), regulation of mood, detoxification, joint protection and cell membrane stability.

Low levels are linked to depression and other mental disorders of the mind such as anxiety and panic attacks.

Read on the find out some of the research studies regarding using SAM-e for treating anxiety disorders...

Research Studies on the Benefits of SAM-e for Anxiety

Most of the study looked at using SAM-e specifically for treating depression. Keep in mind that depression and anxiety disorders often appears together (a term called comorbid disease).

Let's look at two studies...

Research Study #1

In this comprehensive review of all existing research studies, the authors concluded there are some evidence for using SAM-e for treating mood and anxiety disorders.

Note that they did not make a strong recommendation on the use SAM-e for anxiety disorder specifically. They grouped anxiety disorders under the umbrella of major depressive disorder (MDD).

Moreover, they mentioned that most research studies done with natural remedies for anxiety disorder tend to be of short duration, involves only a small number of volunteers and used research methods that may not be well-designed.

Editor's Comment: This fact is not surprising. There is hardly any funding for these types of research as most of the money come from the government. Compare this situation to the tens of billions of dollars spent by drug companies on pharmaceuticals research.

Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT) Clinical guidelines for the management of major depressive disorder in adults. V. Complementary and alternative medicine treatments.
Ravindran AV, Lam RW, Filteau MJ, et al.
Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT).
J Affect Disord. 2009 Oct;117 Suppl 1:S54-64.

Research Study #2

The two authors in this study reviewed data and concluded that there is some evidence for using SAM-e for treating depression.

They were unable to locate any published research studies done on using SAM-e for treating anxiety and panic attacks. Now this doesn't mean that SAM-e could not work for anxiety. Rather it means that we don't yet have any evidence that it could help. It could well work.

However, in this study, they did mention that using fish oil for anxiety disorders is supported by some research studies. Perhaps this is another option you should consider as well.

Herbs and nutrients in the treatment of depression, anxiety, insomnia, migraine, and obesity.
Brown RP, Gerbarg PL.
J Psychiatr Pract. 2001 Mar;7(2):75-91.

Suggested Dose to Use

It is unfortunate that there's study that would tell us how much to take to help with anxiety.

However, we can draw some conclusions from those clinical studies have used up to 1,600 mg daily (in divided doses) for treating depression.

So here's our suggestsion. Start with 400 mg twice daily and increase over several weeks.

Increase gradually until you reach a dose that seem to cut your anxiety symptoms down to an acceptable level or when you reach 1,600 mg. This is the upper limit used in clinical trials on depression management with SAM-e.

We do not expect that any higher dose above those used to treat depression is a wise idea. You might just end up experiencing more side effects without gaining any additional benefit. If it's going to work, we anticipate that the beneficial effects will appear at a much lower dose.

Bottom Line

Will SAM-e work to reduce anxiety symptoms?

It doesn't seem to be the case.

There is only shadowly hints that SAM-e could help with anxiety. And the evidence is not very convincing.

SAM-e is known to help with depression so if you suffer from both depression and anxiety disorders, you may benefit from taking SAM-e supplements.

Otherwise, if it's just anxiety, there are better natural supplements to consider..

But did you also know that there are many other all natural supplements that also work, many perhaps better than SAM-e?

Check out our very comprehensive review presented in an easy-to-read and understand table. You might be surprised to find out others that you might want to try as well.