SAMe: A POWERFUL SUPPLEMENT FOR DOGS
SAMe (S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine) is a supplement used in both humans and dogs. It is the bioavailable form of methionine, which is an amino acid that is plentiful in certain foods. Within the body, SAMe is converted into several compounds that are used in dozens of crucial cell reactions.
SAMe SUPPORTS THE LIVER IN DOGS
When SAMe is broken down in a dog’s body, some of the resulting compounds work to protect liver cells from damage and improve the organ’s function. Two of these compounds are glutathione and taurine.
• Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect liver cells from being damaged by the toxins the organ is working to remove from the body.
• Taurine is produced during the breakdown of SAMe. It is a big component of bile, and it helps move bile acids out of the liver, improving the organ’s function.
• When the liver is damaged or not functioning optimally due to a medical condition it has more trouble converting methionine from the diet into SAMe and then on to glutathione. That means less antioxidant strength is present to protect healthy liver cells from being damaged, which further decreases liver function.
• Giving a SAMe supplement saves the struggling liver the step of breaking down dietary methionine to SAMe. Less work to do helps support the liver, and the availability of more SAMe and its resultant glutathione contributes to its ability to heal. A SAMe supplement can also help support the liver function of dogs receiving certain medications that are known to be hard on the liver, such as epilepsy drugs and NSAIDs.
THE 10 BREEDS MOST PRONE TO LIVER DISEASE
Due to genetic factors affecting excessive copper storage in their livers, certain breeds are more prone to chronic liver disorders. The English Springer Spaniel and the Bedlington Terrier are at the top of the list. Median age for diagnosis of liver disease is 8 years but much younger in some breeds.
SAMe MAY SUPPORT COGNITIVE FUNCTIONING IN DOGS
Some of the compounds into which SAMe breaks down within the body are used to make neurotransmitters, which are vital for good brain function. SAMe may be useful in helping support dogs that are showing signs of cognitive dysfunction, or senility.
OTHER CANINE BODY SYSTEMS SAMe CAN SUPPORT
SAMe has strong anti-inflammatory properties. It can even help relieve pain, and its components are used in building cartilage and collagen. These characteristics make it helpful in supporting dogs with arthritis or other joint problems. In fact, human studies indicate that a SAMe supplement can be as effective as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for treating arthritis pain, and SAMe doesn’t have the negative side effects that NSAIDs can.
MONITORING THE EFFECTS OF SAMe IN YOUR DOG
Appetite, weight, and attitude are all great ways to monitor your dog’s response to a SAMe supplement. Your veterinarian may also routinely check certain bloodwork parameters, such as liver function values, to determine your dog’s response to SAMe. Sometimes x-rays, an ultrasound, or a liver biopsy may be done to evaluate how a SAMe supplement is helping your dog.
SAMe SAFETY AND USAGE
Canine SAMe supplements have not been associated with many negative side effects. Some dogs may get an upset stomach, but that is rare. SAMe is not known to interfere with other medications or supplements in dogs, but you should always check with your veterinarian before you begin giving it. Always give SAMe on an empty stomach. Enteric-coated tablets should never be split or crushed so it gets past the stomach. SAMe can bother some pet’s throats. A teaspoon of water with the SAMe should help with this. A positive response to an appropriate SAMe dosage is usually seen in dogs within 1-4 months.