30% of SAMe supplements fail to pass testing

Dietary supplements containing SAMe (S-adenosyl-methionine) can be effective in treating osteoarthritis as well as depression and mood disorders, but only 7 out of ten SAM-e supplements recently selected for testing by ConsumerLab.com met all quality criteria. Furthermore, the cost of SAMe varied almost 6-fold … with the most expensive product failing!Long time readers of this blog are familiar with my fondness for the independent quality testing lab, ConsumerLab.com. It’s results of testing hundreds of natural medications (herbs, vitamins, and supplements) are of great value to prescribers and consumers … especially since these products are virtually unregulated in the U.S.

As for the ConsumerLab testing of SAMe products, NO SAMe was found in one supplement and another provided only 75% of its listed amount of the ingredient.

The enteric coating one SAM-e product did not last long enough to properly protect the contents of the pill. Nearly all SAMe supplements are enteric coated to protect the SAM-e from degradation and prevent stomach upset.

In 2010, $122 million of SAM-e supplements were sold in the U.S. according to Nutrition Business Journal. SAM-e is among the more expensive supplements and prices range widely. The best price among products that passed testing was 53 cents for a 400 mg dose, while a similar dose cost over $2.50 from two products and over $3.00 from the product that contained only 75% of its claimed amount. This is almost a 6-fold variation in price for the SAME exact chemical.

ConsumerLab.com’s Product Review of SAMe Supplements is available here.

The report provides clinical information about SAMe, how it is used, and test results and comparisons for the ten products selected by ConsumerLab.com and 4 products that passed the same testing through its Voluntary Certification Program.

It also includes information about one product similar to one that passed testing.

Brands covered in the report are CVS, Doctor’s Best, Integrative Therapeutics Vitaline, Jarrow Formulas, Life Extension, Maxam Nutraceutics, Natrol, Nature Made, Nature’s Bounty, Nature’s Sunshine, NSI (Vitacost), Sogeval Laboratories, Source Naturals, Vitamin Depot, and Vitamin Shoppe.

ConsumerLab.com is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. The company is privately held and based in Westchester, New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products.

Also, I have NO relationship with ConsumerLab.com, except that I pay for my annual subscription to the service and use it almost every day in my clinical practice.