S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) is an endogenous molecule that is ubiquitous in the body and synthesized by cells. Adenosylmethionine is synthesized from methionine and ATP under the action of adenosylmethionine synthase (an enzyme produced in the liver as a limited liver intermediate).
SAMe is an essential part of three major biochemical pathways: transmethylation, transthiol, and transaminopropylation. Proper functioning of these pathways is particularly important for the liver, as many metabolic reactions occur here. In the transmethylation pathway, SAMe acts as a methyl donor (required for activation and/or elimination by many substances and drugs). The transmethylation reaction is an essential reaction for phospholipid synthesis and is very important for cell membrane structure, fluidity and function. In transaminopropylation, SAMe provides the aminopropyl group, which is the source of the polyamine. Aminopropyl plays an important role in the production of anti-inflammatory substances, protein and DNA synthesis, promoting cell replication, and liver tissue renewal. During transthiolation, SAMe generates sulfur-containing compounds that contain conjugated reactants for detoxification and serve as precursors to glutathione (GSH).
Glutathione is important in many metabolic processes and cellular detoxification. Conversion of SAMe to glutathione requires folate, vitamin B12, and pyridoxine (B6).
Normally, the liver produces sufficient SAMe, but in cases of liver disease or hepatotoxic substances, endogenous conversion to glutathione is insufficient. Exogenous SAMe has the effect of increasing hepatic and red blood cell glutathione levels and/or preventing their depletion. SAMe can inhibit hepatocyte apoptosis caused by ethanol or bile acids.
*Special note - This article is for informational purposes only and cannot replace a doctor's treatment diagnosis and advice. It should not be regarded as a recommendation or proof of efficacy of the medical products involved. If it involves disease diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation, please be sure to go to a professional medical institution to seek professional advice.