Health brief: SAMe protects liver from chemotherapy

Many of the side effects from chemo and the long-term adverse effects on health these drugs can cause are a result of their high levels of toxicity to the liver. In a recent Italian study the supplement SAMe was given to patients undergoing chemotherapy for colon cancer.

Though SAMe is mostly known as a natural antidepressant, it helps promote methylation – a natural process the liver uses to eliminate toxins. In the study, patients who received SAMe experienced milder side effects from chemo and liver function tests remained at or closer to normal.

A concern often voiced by specialists is that supplements like SAMe could

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, while moderating side effects, also reduce chemo’s effectiveness in killing cancer cells. However, the study found that this was not the case. Not only, but since patients were able to tolerate the chemo better there was less need for course delay or dose reduction, two common causes of treatment failure (Vincenzi, Santini, et al, Expert Opin Drug Safety, 2011 March 15).

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