We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our site. Cookies are files stored in your browser and are used by most websites to help personalise your web experience.

By continuing to use our website without changing the settings, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more


SAMe classification

SAMe is a chemical compound found naturally in your body. It stimulates the production of parts of cartilage, and may have antidepressant and painkilling properties. Evidence suggests that SAMe is effective in reducing functional limitations and, to a lesser extent, pain in osteoarthritis. Evidence for its effectiveness for fibromyalgia suggests that SAMe might be useful for reducing body tenderness and depressive symptoms.

What is it?

Family: Nutritional supplement
Scientific name: S-adenosylmethionine

SAMe is a chemical compound made from methionine, an amino acid also found in protein-rich foods, and adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a nucleic acid and the product of some chemical reactions in your body. SAMe was discovered in 1952 and was first studied as a possible treatment for depression.

How does it work?

SAMe is found naturally in your body. It contributes to several biochemical pathways and in the building of hormones and neurotransmitters. Laboratory studies suggested that SAMe has some painkilling activity and stimulates the production of collagen and proteoglycans, which are major building blocks of cartilage. SAMe may work as an antidepressant, but we don’t yet understand how this may work.

Is it safe?

Side-effects, which are usually mild and infrequent, include:

  • nausea
  • restlessness
  • headaches
  • a dry mouth
  • stomach upsets.

Severe side-effects of anxiety and mania have also been reported in people with depression. SAMe can also increase the activity of antidepressants.

If you take anticoagulants, you should take SAMe under your doctor’s supervision because it might increase the risk of bleeding.

We don’t yet know what the best dose of SAMe is, but most studies have used daily doses of 400–1,600 mg.


0800 5200 520

Our new helpline: Call us for free information, help and advice on your type of arthritis. Open Mon–Fri 9am–8pm.

All calls are recorded for training and quality purposes

Virtual Assistant

Our new Arthritis Virtual Assistant uses artificial intelligence to answer your arthritis related questions 24/7.

Ask a question
For more information, go to
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.