SAMe Aids Major Depressive Disorder

September 22, 2004

As many as 29% to 46% of patients with major depression show only a partial response, even no response to what is considered adequate antidepressant therapy. Currently in this situation physicians increase the dose of an antidepressant, switch antidepressant, or add a second antidepressant in the hopes of greater success. Studies are also focusing on adding nonpharmaceutical agents to the drug therapy for a better result, or even using nondrug agents alone. SAMe is one of these valuable nutrient agents. SAMe has been extensively studied and impressive literature going back 3 decades supports its antidepressant efficacy. This study reviews the literature supporting the use of SAMe for major depression. SAMe has good activity in major depression. The study appears in the December 2003 issue of Current Psychiatry Reports.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

The following nutrients are helpful with all levels of depression - DHA, B-complex vitamins, and Magnesium. L-Theanine, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, NADH, and Phosphatidylserine complex are also useful. Alpha-Lipoic Acid and Coenzyme Q10 may be helpful.

Glycosylated Hemoglobin Can Cause Heart Disease even in Non-Diabetics

Glycated hemoglobin is the burning of hemoglobin by excess sugar - it is a form of glycation, a very dangerous free radical generator. Physicians check the level of glycated hemoglobin in diabetics because it gives them a 6 to 12 week portrait of a patients sugar levels and aids their evaluation of diabetes therapy. In the first study, researchers at the University of Cambridge in the UK reviewed the effects of chronic elevated blood sugar in both diabetics and non-diabetics. Chronically elevated blood sugar as assessed by elevations of glycated hemoglobin increased the risk of having cardiovascular disease. This study of over 10,000 people shows that the higher the level of glycosylated hemoglobin, the higher the risk of having coronary artery disease, cardiovascular disease, or dying. For both women and men each point increase in HbA1C (glycated hemoglobin) increased the risk of death by 20% to 30%.

In the second study researchers at Johns Hopkins conducted a meta-analysis that included 10 studies of patients with type 2 diabetes, and 3 studies with type 1 diabetes (insulin dependent diabetes). The analysis of the 13 studies shows that increasing levels of HbA1C in both variations of diabetes was correlated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Both studies appear in the September 21st issue of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.PH.

Obviously controlling blood sugar will decrease the risk of glycation and blood vessel damage. Diabetics may want to consider adding combinations of herbs and nutrients to their existing medication to aid the control of blood sugar and glycation. For all adults' diabetic or not L-Carnosine and Pyridoxamine are strong inhibitors of glycation. Quercetin, Green Tea EGCG, GliSODin SOD, and nutrients that improve Glutathione and detoxification are also helpful.

Broccoli (sprouts or Extract) May Halt Growth of Breast Cancer Cells

In recent years, medical researchers have been battling a top killer of women -- breast cancer. One study may have found answer in a component of broccoli.

Indole-3-carbinol (I3C), which is found in broccoli, interferes with the breast cancer cell's life cycle in a way that hints at a totally new signaling pathway in the cell. The chemical seems to be working by a very unusual mechanism. It turns off a gene for an enzyme important in the cell's growth cycle.

The chemical I3C is a component of broccoli and other members of the Brassica family, such as brussels sprouts, bok choy, kale, chard and turnips.

I3C has low toxicity but seems to be very effective in fighting breast cancer cells. According to the study, it is an effective agent at blocking tumorigenesis in rats. When fed to them, I3C can block 95 percent of all breast cancers in rats. The compound also works independently of the hormone estrogen, unlike breast cancer treatment drugs like Tamoxifen.

I3C would be a good candidate for use in combination therapy with drugs those that do interfere with estrogen. In fact, research shows that I3C does not act on estrogen at all. Instead the chemicals actually stops the cell cycle. When I3C reacts with stomach acid, the byproducts are the ones responsible for the anti-estrogen and certain toxic effects of the broccoli compounds. I3C initiates a sudden drop in the generation of the enzyme CDK6, or cyclin-dependent kinase 6 Nutrition and Cancer 2004;48(1):84-94