I know, you read the title and you're thinking "What??"
No, I haven't gone crazy and started making up words. And I'll apologize in advance for the length of this post. If these issues don't affect you directly, you probably won't want to take the time to read it all. The payoff is information for people who deal with depression, OCD, eating disorders, PMDD, etc.
So last week, I was talking to my sister-in-law about St. John's wort (SJW), and she suggested SAM-e. Commence the research!
In looking up SAM-e, I came across some complaints about SAM-e on this website, which scared the crap out of me.
...insomnia, anxiety, fear, shakiness, and restlessness (especially restless thoughts)...
...For the first two months I took one 200mg tablet per day, and initially experienced a lift in mood and energy. This then changed to a feeling of irritability and sleeplessness. I then doubled the dose, thinking perhaps I wasn't taking enough. I now frequently wake up in the morning feeling very dizzy and disoriented. I have continued irritability and have started to be rude and snappy to my co-workers which is out of character. I read that someone else descibed a speedy feeling...Yikes!
But about two-thirds of the way down the page, I read this comment:
I do have a theory of why SAM-e has such fantastic results for some,and is awful for others, it is the theory of methylation, Dr. William Walsh has done a lot of research on this at his clinic... My suspicions are that these bad reactions posted here are from low histamine people, who Dr. Walsh says will do terrible on SAM-e. If you want to check out this for yourself, go to www.alternativementalhealth.com, look for the articles link, Dr. Walsh, an article on methylation.Okay... new direction.
Under the section titled "Depression," Dr. Walsh says this:
Associated with under-methylation, which results in low levels of important neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Treatment focuses on the use of antifolates such as calcium, methionine, SAMe, magnesium, zinc, TMG, omega-3 essential oils, B6, inositol, and A, C and E... Choline is anti-dopaminergic and often makes undermethylated patients worse. Also bad are DMAE, copper and folic acid. Three to six months of nutrient therapy are necessary to correct this chemical imbalance.Interesting little side note, something that I will tuck in my bag of things-to-consider: "Another indicator of B-6 overload is the onset of vivid, troubling dreams."
Also on this site, information regarding copper overload:
The most common depression phenotype for women. History of hyperactivity, tinnitus, and skin sensitivity to metals. Females with this condition usually have significant PMS and are prone to heightened depression during hormonal events such as puberty, gestation, childbirth and menopause.Interesting, because in The PMDD Phenomenon, the authors said that it is more likely for women with PMDD to also have significant post-partum depression and menopausal depression. Hmm...
Most get worse after chocolate which is very high in copper. This condition is non-existant in males... Nutrient support is zinc, manganese, vitamin C and B6. Nutrients should be introduced gradually to avoid side effects.Under "Methylation":
One thing that is absolutely certain is that methionine and/or SAMe usually harm low-histamine (overmethylated persons)..... but are wonderful for high-histamine (undermethylated) persons. The reverse is true for histadelic (undermethylated) persons, who thrive on methionine, SAMe, Ca and Mg..... but get much worse if they take folates & B-12 which can increase methyl trapping.
Nearly all severely undermethylated persons have low serotonin levels and present with a history of depression, internal anxiety, and OCD. Many have a history of perfectionism and high accomplishment in the early years.He's describing exactly what I've gone through... Almost scary, except that it's such a relief to have an explanation! It all fits so well. I was a super-over-achiever throughout school, even in kindergarten. I once came home from school crying because I couldn't cut in a straight line. I was six!! My mother always said she had no idea where I got it from — except that both my parents are also perfectionists, although my dad is worse than my mom. (The serotonin problems seem to run in his side of the family.)
Regarding the connection between eating disorders and OCD:
We have found that nearly all anorexic and/or bulemic patients are very undermethylated, low serotonin persons. Most of then respond very well, albeit slowly, to aggressive doses of methionine, Vitamin B-6, and calcium. A positive response can usually be achieved more rapidly with SAMe...Funny that all through high school and college, I thought I was a lazy anorexic... And I guess, if you look at BDD sideways, I was.
...In my experience, most anorexics are perfectionistic, obsessive-compulsive, high-histamine, low serotonin persons. Most have a history of high accomplishment in school and were never discipline problems.
A quick way to test for need for methylation therapy is to carry out a cautious trial of SAMe. Within a week or two you should have your answer. If she clearly is improving on the SAMe (which is frightfully expensive)... you can get usually the same benefits (albeit more slowly) using methionine plus calcium, magnesium, and B-6... SAMe is likely to cause great worsening of symptoms, including mania, if given to an OVER-methylated person.Sorry for the list of links, but there's just so much information out there. This is not even a tenth of it, just a jumping-off point.
- Some more information about the effects (and side effects) of SAM-e: http://www.nutrasanus.com/sam-e.html
- Information regarding the estrogen/PMS/copper relationship: http://www.drlwilson.com/Articles/PMS.htm
- Copper Overload article: http://www.melissadianesmith.com/Articles/CopperOverLoad.html
- "Why Am I Always So Tired?" by by Ann Louise Gittleman (on Amazon)
- Information about Copper Toxicity: http://www.custommedicine.com.au/blog/2007/03/30/copper-toxicity/ — including the following list (just a partial excerpt):
- Hormone Imbalances
- Joint Pains
- Poor Immunity – viral, fungal and yeast infections
- Poor sleep
- An article on iron/copper overload: http://www.consumerhealth.org/articles/display.cfm?ID=19990303204921
So, I'm very sorry for the informational overdose, but welcome to my world for the past week or so! I'm fascinated by all of the interactions of minerals, vitamins, hormones, neurotransmitters, etc. And I'm surprised that so much of this information is out there, and yet no one I've ever talked to knows anything about it. Doesn't sell pharmaceuticals, I guess, so no one wants to bother? Except that I did see a naturopath a few years ago, but she just wanted to put me on some special diet and have me go to the gym an ungodly amount of hours a week — she didn't offer me a solution, which is what I really want. Even sertraline is not a solution, just a crutch.
And since I don't have a doctor that I'm happy with yet, I'm experimenting with some new things on my own. I wish I did have the support of someone with more knowledge than me, except that I generally bring a lot of new ideas/information to my doctors when I do go see them... But it's nice to have professional support.
Right now I'm trying 400mg of SAM-e every day, plus zinc supplements with magnesium and calcium, and cutting out my multivitamin, which has copper. I take 1000 IU of vitamin D, plus calcium, a B-complex with iron and vitamin C, and I think my diet is healthy enough that I'm probably fine as far as other things go. But I'm going to keep a careful watch on my health and see how it goes.
So far, the SAM-e seems to have worked wonders for me today. I felt great all day long. Will keep posting.