Why SAM-e is one of my favorite fibromyalgia supplements

This article on using SAM-e for fibromyalgia was originally published on NationalPainReport.com. It is being reprinted here with permission from the editor. 

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Always seek the counsel of your medical provider before starting or stopping any treatment.

How using SAM-e for fibromyalgia could help reduce pain, fatigue and other symptoms.

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Without a doubt, SAM-e is the greatest gift that my fibromyalgia doctor has given me. Over the last nine months, it’s become one of my go-to supplements for managing daily fibro symptoms.

Also known as S-adenosylmethionine, SAM-e is a compound that occurs naturally in the body and is necessary for several bodily functions. (This article gives a more detailed explanation of SAM-e’s role in the body.) Supplement companies have found a way to replicate this compound, and SAM-e is readily available at most drugstores (and on Amazon) in the United States as an over-the-counter supplement. There’s some evidence that our bodies may lose the ability to effectively make SAM-e as we age, so supplementation could be helpful.

In research studies, SAM-e is proven to reduce the symptoms of depression and osteoarthritis – without the troublesome side effects of prescription antidepressants and NSAIDS, respectively.

A couple of studies have shown promise for using SAM-e for fibromyalgia. According to a 1991 Danish study, fibromyalgia patients who took 800 mg of SAM-e daily reported less pain, fatigue and morning stiffness, improved mood and fewer overall symptoms after six weeks of use. A 1987 Italian study found SAM-e reduced depression and the number of trigger points in fibromyalgia patients. A short 10-day Danish study involving intravenous SAM-e did not show any benefit for fibromyalgia, but that could have been because SAM-e may need to build up in the body over several weeks to reach full effectiveness.

All of these studies involved small numbers of patients and were not double-blind, placebo controlled. Researchers have concluded more studies are needed to determine if using SAM-e for fibromyalgia might be beneficial. Unfortunately, those larger, placebo-controlled studies will probably never happen because there’s little profit to be made from a $30 drugstore supplement.

My physician recommended SAM-e as a natural alternative to prescription antidepressants (like Cymbalta and Savella) for relieving my fibromyalgia pain, fatigue and low mood. I started on 200 mg and increased my dosage over several days until I felt a reduction in my symptoms.

I found my sweet spot at 800 mg daily, but dosages up to 1600 mg appear to be well tolerated based on past SAM-e studies. The most commonly reported side effects are gas, upset stomach, diarrhea/constipation, dizziness and anxiety, especially when taken at higher doses.

I experienced dizziness and anxiety while taking 1200 mg of SAM-e, but those side effects disappeared when I lowered my dose. I’ve had no other side effects.

It’s unclear exactly how SAM-e works, but it appears to increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, two brain neurotransmitters linked to mood, concentration, pain control and other important bodily functions. Because it affects neurotransmitters, SAM-e is not recommended for people who take prescription antidepressants or other natural antidepressants, like St. John’s Wort. It also might not be safe for those with bipolar disorder, Parkinson’s disease or diabetes.

Within a couple of weeks of starting SAM-e, I felt a noticeable improvement in my mood and energy levels. Unfortunately, it never helped my pain levels. For that, I use other tools.

But I continue to take SAM-e and tell other fibro sufferers about it because it’s nearly eliminated my fibro-related depression, and it enhances my overall stamina/energy. Anyone with fibro knows that we can go to some pretty dark places in our minds, but SAM-e stabilizes my mood so I’m better able to cope with the day-to-day struggles of living with fibromyalgia (and more recently, being diagnosed with Lyme disease).

I know others have found SAM-e helpful for pain control.

I’m grateful my doctor was open-minded enough to try natural therapies, and SAM-e has become an important tool in my fibro-fighting arsenal.

Now it’s your turn: Have you tried SAM-e for fibromyalgia? Did it help? Please share your experience in the comments section!


  1. Vickie Derksen says

    Hi Donna,
    Thanks so much for the fabulous information available here on your blog. I was recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia; although I know I’ve had it for at least 15 years. My question has to do with SAM, but -e, I see you’ve replaced D-Ribose with it. Is there any reason you can’t take both simultaneously? It seems like they work on different body systems. I started taking D-Ribose on your blog recommendation, and find it very helpful for fatigue, but am thinking that SAM-e might be helpful, too.

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says

      I believe it would be fine to use both at the same time. I just didn’t stay on both b/c of finances.

  2. Patrice says

    All I can say Donna is that you are incredibly blessed to have a doctor who is willing to try other things besides just prescription meds. I have fibro and have written on here before.

    I have had fibro for at least 21 years now and have also been on an anti-depressant for that long. I am scared to go off of it for that reason.I so wish back then I would have had good medical people around me who could have prescribed natural remedies.

    All the best to you

  3. I used Sam-e for a while. I actually replace d-ribose with it and preferred it because it felt more like my own energy if that makes sense. I’ve since started taking medical foods, which have been really helpful to my energy levels and sense of wellbeing. I had to stop taking Sam-e to afford them but I seem to be getting similar benefits and a bit more 🙂

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says

      Which medical food are you using? I’ve been curious about them.

      • I am using Sentra AM and Sentra PM. I started out with Sentra PM on its own but I feel more benefit now I am taking both. I have been dogged with a sense of being unwell– which has ranged from feeling like the flu, to just feeling a bit under the weather– and it’s pretty much been constant for the past two years. Most recently, I am having days where I don’t feel ill and I think the medical foods are playing an important part of that. I would definitely recommend trying them if you can 🙂

        • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says

          I will check them out! My new Lyme doc just prescribed a medical food called enteragam. I’m starting it today. It’s meant for IBS patients, but apparently she wants me to take it to improve my immune system function b/c a couple of my lab tests showed my immune system isn’t functioning properly.

          • Have your Doc check you for insidious mycoplasma infection.
            The US Army thought it wold be a great idea to weaponize different varieties of these pathogens long-ago (starting 1942) and then release them on unsuspecting populations to check efficacy and duration both here and in Canada.
            They cannot be seen with standard microscopy, only dark-field microscopes.
            They are HIGHLY contagious, and it’s now thought that infections among the general population are a given.


  1. […] to those listed above: fish oil, magnesium, Daily Body Restore (probiotics/digestive enzymes), and SAM-e and 5-HTP for mood […]

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