Supplements: Product for joint and liver conditions could be ‘toxic’ – experts warn

Supplements: Product for joint and liver conditions could be ‘toxic’ – experts warn

Dr Zoe reveals which supplements to take

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“It was clear something was wrong,” said Jean-Michel Fustin, one of the researchers, about the study, looking at the dietary product. The supplement in question is known as SAMe.

The research team from Manchester and Kyoto universities warned this product could be toxic and shouldn’t be taken until it has been shown to be safe.

They explained that SAMe can break down inside the body into substances that trigger various medical problems, ranging from kidney to liver damage.

Marketed for targeting problems varying from joint to liver disease, SAMe is also sold in the UK.

Short for S-adenosyl-L-methionine, SAMe is a compound naturally found in your body, the Mayo Clinic explains.

Despite this, the supplement form of this compound could be toxic.

“This discovery came out of the blue,” Fustin said.

He explained that the experiments carried out showed SAMe breaks down into adenine and methylthioadenosine in the body.

What’s worse, these substances are considered to be toxic, according to the biologist.

The researcher continued: “When we gave the supplement to mice, we expected they would become healthier.

“But instead we found the opposite.

“We found that when SAMe breaks down in the body, it produces very toxic molecules, including adenine which causes gout, kidney disease and liver disease.”

Fustin noted that while the study was conducted on mice, these results were also relevant for humans.

“We have not yet tested the supplement on men and women but we have added it to human cells in laboratory cultures and have found it had the same effect as it had on mice,” he added.

The study was published in the journal Communications Biology last week.

Funded by the Medical Research Council and the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science, the research makes it clear that the benefits of SAMe are questionable, according to Fustin.

The researcher concluded: “It is unclear what dose of it might be safe, so there is a good chance that a safe dose will be exceeded if someone takes this supplement – if a safe dose exists at all.”

Although SAMe isn’t sold over the counter in pharmacies in the UK, it’s available to purchase online through different companies.

This dietary product is marketed for joint comfort, liver health, mobility and positive mood.

Certain outlets also promote it as a helping hand for liver health in dogs and cats.

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