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Happy couple with healthy gene expressions running on the beach

What is SAMe?

DNA methylation is connected to age-related changes in the body. SAMe increases proper DNA methylation that helps regulate healthy gene expression.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in July 2023. Written by: Laurie Mathena.

Aging results in a progressive decline in functions of living systems.1 Factors that influence aging include cell senescence, poor nutrition, and stem cell exhaustion.

A measurable aspect of normal aging is DNA methylation, a process that can favorably or unfavorably regulate gene expression.2-4

DNA methylation is so closely connected to age-related changes that one review article called it "the 'prophet' of age-related outcomes."5

A compound called SAMe (S-Adenosyl-Methionine) is a cofactor involved in DNA methylation that helps regulate healthy gene expression.6

By doing so, SAMe can help combat some common causes of age-related decline and could even play a role in prolonging life.5,7

Understanding DNA Methylation

Genes are made up of DNA.

Our bodies turn genes "on" or "off" as necessary. One of the switches that modulates the way genes are expressed is a process called methylation.

Methylation happens when methyl groups are added to the DNA without changing the DNA sequence. Methylation is essential for healthy cellular functions.8

The science of epigenetics studies how and why and whether genes are expressed or not. One of the key types of epigenetic modification is DNA methylation. DNA methylation is a key switch that usually silences the expression of a gene or "turns it off."9

This occurs when methyl groups are attached to the DNA.10

The compound SAMe is found naturally in the body. Although it is required for many biochemical reactions,11 one of the most important processes SAMe is involved in is methylation.6,7 SAMe is the body's primary methyl donor.10,12

If we don't have enough of it, the body cannot methylate properly. That can lead to excessive inflammation, tissue damage, and organ failures.13 Healthy methylation patterns can help degenerative disorders and slow certain aging processes.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Disturbances in DNA methylation have been identified as one of the potential drivers of Alzheimer's disease.14,15

Research has shown that Alzheimer's patients have very low levels of SAMe.16,17

In an animal Alzheimer's model study, SAMe improved cognitive impairment in four weeks, by upregulating early overall DNA demethylation to reduce amyloid pathology.1

In four patients with Alzheimer's, 1,200 mg of SAMe daily, in a divided dose for four to eight months increased the level of SAMe in cerebrospinal fluid by 62.5%.16


Improper methylation impacts two hallmarks of osteoarthritis: inflammation18,19 and cartilage damage.20,21

By getting methylation back on track, SAMe may modulate those genes and suppress inflammation.22

In a meta-analysis, scientists found that SAMe was as effective as NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) in alleviating pain and optimizing joint function.23

In 2 clinical trials, participants with osteoarthritis of the knee were randomized to receive NSAID or SAMe (1200 mg) per day in divided doses. Participants were evaluated after 8- 16 weeks, it was found that SAMe was as effective as NSAID in management of symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.24,25 There were no significant differences in pain relief or tolerability between NSAID or SAMe group.24

Remarkably, SAMe was shown in one study to stimulate production of new cartilage in animals.26 This can potentially be beneficial to slowing or reversing the progress of osteoarthritis.

Prolonging Life

Studies show that aging itself is associated with alterations in DNA methylation.2,3,27 Methylation isn't just linked to the development of age-related diseases; it also has direct impact on lifespan itself.27,28

In one study, giving SAMe to tumor-prone mice prevented the development of liver tumors. It did this by restoring methylation and turning on tumor-suppressor genes.29

A study of yeast showed that stimulating SAMe synthesis extended lifespan by activating a well-known enzyme called AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase).30 AMPK has been referred to as a "metabolic master switch." In humans APMK helps the body utilize calories more efficiently, reduces fat accumulation, and enhances cleaning of cellular junk.31


The way genes are expressed has a great impact on our health and longevity.

DNA methylation is a process that regulates gene expression.

SAMe (S-Adenosyl-Methionine) is an essential factor involved in DNA methylation.

Defects in methylation can lead to chronic disorders.

Increasing SAMe intake provides the body with a critical methylation nutrient, which can help modulate the way genes are expressed.

SAMe has shown clinical success in cases of osteoarthritis. Early studies suggest SAMe's status as the body's preferred methylation nutrient. It may help contribute to longer lifespans.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.


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