Natural Connectors: Be at One

SAMe (S-Adenosyl-Methionine): The Master Tuner
As far as the chemistry of connection is concerned, SAMe is the master tuner. It donates "methyl" groups to make naturally occurring tryptamines. By methylating tryptamine, for example, it produces DMT. The body makes SAMe from the amino acid methionine and the cofactor vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid.

SAMe also helps neurotransmitters deliver their messages to the receptor sites by sharpening their activity. By methylating phospholipids, from which nerve cell membranes are made, SAMe improves communication between nerve cells. SAMe also can help you get a good night's sleep and can promote dreaming. This is because the brain depends on SAMe to manufacture melatonin, a key neurotransmitter for sleep and dreaming, from serotonin.

A proven antidepressant, SAMe can also enhance a feeling of well-being and connection in "normal" folks. While a positive response is often felt within a week or sometimes within days, it may take as long as four weeks for overall mood elevation. In general, the longer SAMe is used, the more beneficial the results. For a "connection" experience for those with relatively normal brain chemistry, we have found that it can have an immediate effect.

SAMe should be taken on an empty stomach, preferably one hour before or after a meal, and at least 20 minutes before or after taking other supplements. Start with a dosage of 200 mg twice daily. If results aren't seen in a few days, you can gradually increase it, up to a maximum of 400 mg four times daily, if needed. Most often, 400 mg per day is sufficient. SAMe should also be taken with its cofactors, vitamins B6 (100 mg), B12 (100 mcg), and folic acid (800 mcg), simply as part of your daily multivitamin regimen. It is safe to use during pregnancy and nursing.

A word of caution: although not reported in the literature, higher doses may lead to irritability and anxiety. If this continues, even on the lowest dose, stop taking SAMe. There are no reported negative interactions with other medications or nutritional supplements.

Tmg (Trimethylglycine): Cheap SAMe?
The body can make SAMe directly from TMG, which is more stable and much less expensive than SAMe, making it a reasonable substitute. While TMG has not been as extensively researched, the fact that it is a direct precursor of SAMe would predict that its effect would be similar. TMG also helps the body make more SAMe from dietary protein.

TMG is extracted from sugar beets and is also found in broccoli and spinach. Now, there's a reason to eat your greens! It has no reported side effects other than brief muscle-tension headaches if it is taken in large quantities without food. Optimal doses needed to raise SAMe levels in the body are 1,000-3,000 mg per day. In a combined formula, a 500-mg dose is sufficient.

SAMe (s-adenosyl-methionine) and TMG (trimethylglycine)
How they work: Naturally occurring molecules, donate methyl groups in manufacture of neurotransmitters.

Positive effects: Enhance neurotransmitter activity; act as natural mood enhancers and stimulants.

Caution: Higher doses may lead to irritability, anxiety, insomnia, and nausea. SAMe's antidepressant activity may lead to the manic phase in individuals with bipolar disorder (manic depression), so monitor carefully.

Dosage: 200 mg of SAMe once or twice daily, between meals, increasing gradually to a maximum of 1,600 mg a day if needed; or 500-3,000 mg of TMG once or twice daily.

Next: Vitamins B >>

From NATURAL HIGHS: Supplements, Nutrition, and Mind/Body Techniques to Help You Feel Good by Hyla Cass and Patrick Holford. Copyright Hyla Cass, M.D., and Patrick Holford. Used by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit www.penguin.com. Get a 15% discount with the coupon code FENPARENT.

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