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Precursor For S-Adenosyl Methionine & Glutathione – Role In Bone & Joint Disorders

  • Racemethionine, being a methyl-group donor and sulfur containing amino acid is important precursor for the formation of S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe). SAMe is as effective as the more common NSAIDs in treating osteoarthritis. This could be due to its ability to stimulate proteoglycan synthesis or its antiinflammatory effects.

  • In one recent 16-week study, SAMe resulted in a similar reduction in pain and improvement in functional health measures compared to NSAID treatment in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee19.

  • Experimental investigations suggest the administration of SAMe exerts analgesic effects and stimulates the synthesis of proteoglycans by articular chondrocytes with minimal or absent side effects on the gastrointestinal tract and other organs. The effect of SAMe in osteoarthritis is similar to that exerted by NSAIDs but it is better tolerated. NSAIDs at normal pharmacological concentrations have been
    demonstrated to inhibit GAGs synthesis in human articular cartilage in addition to causing gastrointestinal bleeding and renal problems. Because of the side effects associated with NSAID use for rheumatic pain, SAMe could be used as a safe alternative20.

  • Double-blind studies involving a total of more than 1,000 participants suggest that SAMe is about as effective as standard anti-inflammatory drugs. In addition, animal evidence suggests that SAMe may help protect cartilage from damage 21.

  • A double-blind placebo controlled Italian study  tracked 732 people taking SAMe, naproxen (a standard antiinflammatory drug) or placebo. After 4 weeks 22 participants taking SAMe or naproxen showed about the same level of benefit as compared to each other and a superior level of benefit as compared to those in the placebo group22.

  • Another double-blind study compared SAMe with the anti-inflammatory drug piroxicam22. A total of 45 individuals were followed for 84 days. The two treatments proved equally effective. However, the SAMe-treated individuals maintained their improvement long after the treatment was stopped whereas those on piroxicam quickly started to hurt again22.

  • In other double-blind studies oral SAMe has shown equivalent benefits to various doses of  indomethacin, ibuprofen, and naproxen23.

  • Racemethionine is also a precursor for Glutathione. Glutathione is an important intracellular antioxidant that protects cells against cellular deaths and free radical induced degenerative diseases including osteoarthritis.

  • An in-vitro clinical trial24 was conducted to see the effect of oxidative stress, glutathione depletion and chondrocyte survival in young as well as in elderly patients. Chondrocytes from old age people are remarkably more susceptible to cellular death than from young age people.

  • The results provide evidence that increased  oxidative stress with aging makes chondrocytes more susceptible to oxidant-mediated cell death through the dysregulation of the glutathione antioxidant system. This may represent an important contributing factor to the development of osteoarthritis in older adults 24.


  • Average-size adults require approximately Up to 800 to 1,000 milligrams of racemethionine per day. However, supplementation of up to 2 grams of methionine daily for long periods of time has been reported not to cause any serious side effects25.