Wednesday, January 7, 2009

SAM-e is not my friend

Three days later (written in December):
I haven’t slept decently for the last 3 nights. The first night I assumed travel disrupted my routine. The second night, awakening at 4 am, I chalked it up to a strange. Last night I couldn’t sleep at all; Ambien only made it worse. So I read, wrote, surfed on the internet, and periodically returned to bed to see if the Sandman would visit.

Bad nights catapult me into detective mode. I think about everything different since Monday. I made two more changes in my supplement regimen. Ooops! I know I should do one thing at a time. But I am impatient to see if this new protocol will produce results.

One change was cutting the NAC (Allergy Research Group) in half, a supplement I must eliminate because it contains 300 mg. of trimethylglycine (TMG). Next week I’ll be starting a different supplement with 100 mg of TMG and I’m not supposed to have too much.

The second change was adding SAM-e. I ordered SAMe after I got my test results from the Vitamin Diagnostics Laboratory methylation panel. SAMe was rather low. Since it’s often used to treat depression, and I had tried it in the past when I was depressed (2002 or 2003). It didn’t help or make things worst—nothing. Rich said he used to include it in the protocol, but found that many people could not tolerate it. I was pretty sure I’d tolerate it fine because of my previous experience. And so, as David and I were leaving for our trip, I ran into the house, grabbed the bottle from the refrigerator, and impetuously popped a capsule in my mouth.

Now I have to figure out whether the increased SAMe or the diminished NAC is creating the problem. I won’t take SAMe again for 3 days and I’ll continue taking the ½ pill of NAC through Saturday. That should make things clear.

Still, I can’t resist doing enough research to understand what might be happening in my body, I look at the charts showing the steps in the methylation process, but I don’t understand how any of them affects sleep. Then I remember reading that SAMe is used in making catecholamines, which are the stress hormones, adrenaline and noradrenaline (also known as epinephrine and norepinephrine). I have a hunch SAMe has increased the production of these energizing hormones too rapidly. I remember two other unusual symptoms that arose in the last two days – excessive urination and a feeling of being bloated--both symptoms common with stress.

On the internet, I find an article by Hara Marano about SAM-e’s role as a methyl donor, giving up its methyl group (CH3, one carbon and three hydrogen molecules). Marano writes: “SAM-e is present in every cell of body and brain. It plays a pivotal role in cellular metabolism, fueling more than 100 different reactions. It activates such big-time biochemicals as the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine and increases the fluidity of nerve cell membranes to make neurons more responsive.” Now my hypothesis is that taking SAM-e is raising my production of dopamine, which I know from tests of urinary neurotransmitters, tends to be high. Dopamine is a feel-good, feel-energized neurotransmitter – not conducive to zzzzzzzz.

Next, in a Wikipedia article on SAM-e, I learn it is involved in over 40 different reactions in the cell and, more importantly, that a common adverse effect is INSOMNIA. I have identified the guilty culprit. No more SAM-e for me.

A week later:
Within a day of stopping SAM-e, I started sleeping again. The only lingering problem during the entire 10 days visiting my Mom was the almost complete lack of peristaltis. Fortunately, this returned the day I got back to Ohio, January 1, 2009.


1 comment:

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