SAM-e Tests Show Some Labels Mislead


An independent laboratory that tests herbal and other dietary supplement products said that its review of a popular treatment for depression and arthritis found that a majority of the products tested failed to meet quality standards., which provides online reviews, consumer information and testing of natural products, said last week that only seven of 13 SAM-e products it tested actually contained the amount of the key ingredient (S-adenosyl-methionine) stated on the label.

The SAM-e results will be posted on’s Web site ( Tuesday.

In one product that flunked the test, the amount of SAM-e was below detectable levels. Three others were labeled in a way that might lead consumers to believe that twice the amount of SAM-e is in the products than actually was, said Dr. Tod Cooperman, president of

SAM-e is an unstable substance that requires special care during manufacturing, such as the addition of a nonactive salt compound.


But some manufacturers, Cooperman said, “used the salt weight as part of the SAM-e weight. While many manufacturers are putting out a good SAM-e product, too many others appear to be skimping on ingredient or playing a bait-and-switch game with consumers.”

SAM-e is produced naturally in the body from a substance called adenosine triphosphate, which is found in protein-rich foods and has long been thought to affect mood and mental functions.

In supplement form, SAM-e may help relieve depression and arthritis pain. However, many scientific questions remain unresolved about the risks and benefits of the substance. SAM-e products are among the most expensive natural remedies, with a one-week supply typically costing about $20.

The products that passed ConsumerLab’s test include:

* GNC SAMe, 100 milligrams.

* Natrol SAMe, 200 milligrams.

* Nature Made SAM-e, 200 milligrams.

* Puritan’s Pride Inspired by Nature SAM-e, 200 milligrams.

* Source Naturals SAMe, 200 milligrams.

* The Vitamin Shoppe SAMe, 200 milligrams.

* Twinlab SAM-e, 200 milligrams.

SAM-e is the fifth dietary supplement to be evaluated by the White Plains, N.Y., company since its launch last year. The next ConsumerLab review, due out next month, will be on vitamin C products.