Ever since the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act in 1994, the market has exploded with dietary supplements. If you shopped for groceries in years previous, you would have noticed that there were very few dietary supplements on the shelves. In fact, some markets only carried supplements such as Flintstone vitamins and Vitamin C. But after the act was passed, the supplement industry flourished. This is because the FDA no longer required the makers and manufacturers of supplements to go through the rigorous and costly process of testing and gaining FDA approval for their products. While substances classified as “drugs” still have to meet with strict FDA approval standards, substances known as “dietary supplements” no longer have to meet those criteria. This made it easier for manufacturers and producers to flood the market with all types of dietary supplements. It is a good idea for every consumer to know and understand the fallout from the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 because it effects what they are able to put in their bodies.
One such supplement that benefitted from the passage of the Health and Education Act of 1994 is S- S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe). This substance is now sold in the United States under the label “nutritional supplement” though it is actually thought to be effective in treating several common diseases, including depression, liver disease and osteoarthritis. Unlike some products that bear the label “dietary supplement,” S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe) has actually be tested in clinical trials. The clinical trials have shown that S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe) does appear to assist in the treatment of osteoarthritis pain, liver disease and depression, but at this point, someone suffering from those diseases should be extremely careful.
It is never a good idea to use S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe) or any other dietary supplement or over the counter medication to self-medicate if you are already under a doctor’s care, and especially if you are already taking prescription drugs. If you feel that your drugs or your course of treatment is not being benefitted by the medications that your doctor prescribes, you should absolutely always contact your doctor first before taking substances such as dietary supplements to medicate yourself. You doctor may have reasons that he did not prescribe dietary supplements such as S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe). When you ask him about those reasons, he will share them and both of you will have a better understanding of why your doctor chose the course of treatment for you that he or she did.
As an example, at one time, medical researchers and doctors thought that S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe) would be an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease. Preliminary research concluded that Alzheimer’s Disease might result from a lack of S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe) in the body, and thus it appears that taking S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe) supplements would be a good idea for those suffering from or at risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. But, after clinical testing, it turned out that it was likely a Vitamin B12 deficiency, not a S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe) deficiency, that caused the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease, and thus taking S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe) would have been a waste. For that reason, it is important to never medicate yourself, but instead to take the advice of a doctor.
If your doctor has approved the taking of S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe) for your depression, osteoarthritis or liver disease, you will find S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe) in the grocery story or at the dietary supplement store. S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe) is often found under the name SAM-e or SAME (all capital letters.) This supplement is generally taken orally (by mouth) and has a half-life of approximately one hundred minutes.
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