New research identifies SAMe in human breast milk

Published: 31-May-2023

"It is tempting to speculate that SAMe may be a crucial nutrient in infant growth and development and may play an essential role during early stages of life"

Gnosis by Lesaffre (Gnosis) has announced that Nutrients has recently published a new metabolomic analysis investigating the presence of S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) in human breast milk. In addition to utilising a new method of study, which uncovered considerable concentrations, it adds to the evidence that SAMe supplementation can continue to be an effective option for breastfeeding mothers. 

Healthy human breast milk is known to meet the tremendous requirements of a swiftly growing infant, and previous research has confirmed that metabolites from the one-carbon metabolism pool are crucial for infant development. The analysis is based on the new metabolomic approach, which investigates the chemical processes involving metabolites and includes all metabolites in a cell, tissue, organ, or organism with a molecular mass lower than 5,000 Daltons. 

The study compared several biofluids (breast milk, maternal blood plasma, cord blood plasma, adult blood plasma, and cerebrospinal fluid). Analysis showed that the SAMe levels in maternal and adult plasma are not significantly different, suggesting that the high SAMe content observed in breast milk is derived from the breast tissue and not circulating plasma. In the analysis, the authors found an astounding 44-fold increase in SAMe concentrations in breast milk over maternal plasma, and a 12-fold increase compared to cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).

SAMe is the principal methyl-group donor in metabolic pathways, the researchers explain, and as such may be a necessary nutrient for the proper growth and development of infants. SAMe is required for most transmethylation reactions such as the biosynthesis of phosphatidylcholine, polyamine, and carnitine, as well as DNA and protein methylation. Phosphatidylcholine, for example, is an important metabolite in breast milk for neurodevelopment.

The researchers, including metabolomic expert Teodoro Bottiglieri, Head of the Center of Metabolomics (Dallas, TX), strongly assert that “given its high concentration in breast milk, it is tempting to speculate that SAMe may be a crucial nutrient in infant growth and development and may play an essential role during early stages of life.”  

Even though further studies are required to determine the effect of consistent supplementation of SAMe, the findings in this study are notable as breastfeeding mothers may use oral SAMe supplementation to reduce the risk of the onset of post-partum depression, as research indicates it can improve serotonin and dopamine receptor site binding.

Moreover, the authors conclude, the study suggests the need to further investigate the role of SAMe in breast milk and opens opportunities to discuss a revision of milk formula compositions. 

“This study is unique for SAMe, and its findings can have a tremendous way for developing safe and effective supplement products for pregnant and lactating women,” says Lorena Carboni, Product Manager of Adonat® Premium SAMe by Gnosis by Lesaffre. “As a leader in the production of this nutritional ingredient known as Adonat, we seek to promote and explain its deep portfolio of science to help consumers and manufacturers discover all its benefits and fields of application.”

Adonat Premium SAMe has been a star in our active ingredients portfolio for decades

She added: "The study of metabolomics may in fact represent a new way of understanding how this substance is used by our bodies and suggests that there is still much to be discovered.”

SAMe was first identified in 1952 by Giulio Cantoni, and studies conducted over the last five decades have unequivocally established the key role of SAMe in the cell metabolism and functions of all living organisms. This natural methyl donor is involved in more than 100 biochemical pathways and its supplementation is widely suggested to benefit mood and brain function, liver, and joint health. 

“Adonat Premium SAMe has been a star in our active ingredients portfolio for decades,” explained Marc Philouze, Gnosis by Lesaffre General Manager. “We have pioneered its use in the market with some of the top global brands utilising our superior clinically validated superstar. It is gratifying to see a new way of evaluating its benefits and impact on human health, particularly if that work confirms the potential it presents for new mothers.”

Adonat Premium SAMe is manufactured under pharmaceutical cGMPs and provides the highest content of biologically active SAMe (75%) exceeding the USP Dietary Supplement Monograph requirement of at least 60%.

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