SAM-e supplements are synthetically derived and sold in the U. Several studies show that SAM-e works as well for depression as some anti-depression medications by increasing serotonin, dopamine, and other “feel good” brain chemicals (12, 13).
It’s particularly helpful for Parkinson’s and schizophrenia patients who also have depression (14).
Unfortunately, this supplement’s usefulness for depression may be more hype than substance.
A review of 108 studies on 5-HTP revealed there is still no definitive evidence that it helps depression (9). An Ongoing Debate: There’s an ongoing discussion in the natural health community whether it’s better to take tryptophan or 5-HTP to increase serotonin levels.
Some research shows they work no better than a placebo (2).
Several other brain-related disorders besides depression are related to low serotonin, including autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder, sleep disorders, and schizophrenia (3).
There are several co-factors required to make the most commonly used serotonin supplements do their job.Tryptophan more readily enters the brain, but 5-HTP requires one less step to convert into serotonin.We prefer tryptophan supplements not just because studies have not conclusively found that 5-HTP helps depression, but because 5-HTP is intended for long-term use.Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a large role in mood, learning, appetite control, and sleep.It’s believed that low serotonin is the underlying cause of depression.