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Life Extension Magazine

LE Magazine Special Edition, Winter 2004/2005
Defective SAMe Enters U.S. Market

In 2004, new members reported that they tried commercial SAMe products but did not obtain the desired benefits.

When our supplier was alerted to this, they investigated and found that SAMe raw material that does not meet scientifically accepted standards was entering the United States market.

Most consumers are unaware that the SAMe molecule has two forms. One is the SS isomer (known as the active isomer) and the other is the RS isomer (known as the inactive isomer). All produced SAMe contains percentages of both isomers. The accepted potency levels for SAMe require a minimum of 70% SS (active) isomer content. Life Extension’s SAMe consistently tests at 73% or higher for SS (active) isomer content with 27% or less of the RS (inactive) isomer.

There is, however, cheap SAMe circulating in the United States containing 47% or less of the SS (active) isomer and 51% or more of the RS (inactive) isomer (refer to table below for comparison). These low-grade products are 33% less potent than SAMe produced according to scientific guidelines. Apparently, the products with the lowest test results originate in India.

Life Extension remains vigilant in ensuring that our members are provided with the best quality SAMe. We are thankful that the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) will soon be publishing official standards delineating the isomer composition requirements for SAMe. This will finally provide an official standard by which supplement companies can assay SAMe raw material to ensure that it meets pharmaceutical consistency.

While there will always be unscrupulous companies willing to buy the cheapest raw material offered to them, Life Extension has found that reputable supplement companies want to provide their customers with active ingredients that provide real benefits. The problem with SAMe has been the lack of a reliable assay standard. Life Extension is not aware of any company that analyzes the isomer ratios (comparing the active SS isomer to the inactive RS isomer) of the SAMe material it imports.

The following table shows the isomer ratios of Life Extension’s SAMe compared to other raw materials that are flooding the American marketplace.

 

S-Adenosyl-Methionine (SAMe) Isomer Content Table*
 

% of SS (active)
ISOMER

% of RS (inactive) ISOMER

% of Active SS ISOMER CONTENT

Minimum Requirements

70%

(Not Established)

100%

Life Extension's SAMe
(Italian Origin)

73.394%

26.606%

104.8%

Company A SAMe
(Italian Origin)

65.45%

34.54%

93.5%

Company B SAMe
(Italian Origin)

62.034%

37.966%

88.6%

Company C SAMe
(Indian Origin)

47.770%

51.55%

68.2%

Company D SAMe
(Indian Origin)

46.396%

53.60%

66.3%

*Data contained in this table is based on HPLC analysis performed on lots of commonly
imported SAMe raw materials that are incorporated into SAMe supplements sold in the United States.