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Adenosine Monophosphate

Adenosine monophosphate (AMP) is an intermediary substance formed during the bodys process of creating energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) from food. AMP may play a role in limiting postherpetic neuralgia, which is the pain that sometimes lingers after a bout of shingles (herpes zoster). One double-blind study involving 32 adults with shingles found that injections of AMP given three times per week for a month following a flare-up of shingles relieved the pain more quickly than placebo.1 Whether oral supplementation would have the same effect remains unclear. AMP also helps heal the lesions and prevents recurrence of pain or lesions.

Nineteen out of twenty-one people with porphyria cutanea tarda (a disease that develops in adulthood and causes photosensitivity, among other symptoms) responded well to 160�200 mg of AMP per day taken for at least one month, according to one group of researchers.2 Partial and even complete alleviation of photosensitivity associated with this condition occurred in several people.

A closely related molecule to AMP, adenosine, affects electrical signaling in the heart. Intravenous adenosine has been used successfully to treat children with tachycardia, a condition in which the heart beats too quickly.3 Intravenous adenosine has also been reported to help most elderly people with tachycardia.4

Adenosine is formed by heart muscle when the oxygen supply is low,5 and it improves the efficiency of the heart.6 Adenosine has also been reported to improve the hearts ability to use blood sugar for energy during stress.7

Where is it found? The body creates AMP within cells during normal metabolic processes. AMP is also found as a supplement, although it is not widely available.

Adenosine monophosphate (AMP) has been used in connection with the following conditions (refer to the individual health concern for complete information):

Rating Health Concerns
1Star Photosensitivity
3Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
2Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
1Star An herb is primarily supported by traditional use, or the herb or supplement has little scientific support and/or minimal health benefit.

Who is likely to be deficient? Preliminary research suggests that people with herpes simplex or herpes zoster (shingles) infections may have low levels of AMP; however, the clinical significance of this finding is unclear.8

How much is usually taken? The trials using AMP for photosensitivity have used 160-200 mg of AMP per day; however, the ideal intake of this supplement has not been determined. Research with shingles has used a special gel form of AMP injected into muscle; a doctor should be consulted for this form of AMP.

Are there any side effects or interactions? The limited number of human studies involving oral AMP have not indicated any side effects. However, some researchers have expressed concern that supplemental intake of AMP could, in theory, increase levels of adenosine, a substance related to AMP that may interfere with immune function.9 Doctors using AMP injections report that too-rapid intravenous administration or inadvertent administration of an intramuscular injection into a vein could cause life-threatening arrhythmias of the heart.10

At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with Adenosine Monophosphate.


1. Sklar SH, Blue WT, Alexander EJ, et al. Herpes zoster. The treatment and prevention of neuralgia with adenosine monophosphate. JAMA 1985;253:1427�30.

2. Gajdos A. AMP in porphyria cutanea tarda. Lancet 1974;I:163 [letter].

3. Bakshi F, Barzilay Z, Paret G, Hashomer T. Adenosine in the diagnosis and treatment of narrow complex tachycardia in the pediatric intensive care unit. Heart Lung 1998;27:47�50.

4. Camaiti A, Del Rosso A, Morettini A, et al. Efficacy and safety of adenosine in diagnosis and treatment of regular tachycardia in the elderly. Coron Artery Dis 1998;9:591�6.

5. Schrader J, Deussen A, Smolenski RT. Adenosine is a sensitive oxygen sensor in the heart. Experientia 46:1172�5.

6. Headrick J, Willis RJ. Endogenous adenosine improves work rate to oxygen consumption ratio in catecholamine stimulated isovolumic rat heart. Pflugers Arch 1989;413:354�8.

7. Finegan BA, Clanachan AS, Coulson CS, Lopaschunk GD. Adenosine modification of energy substrate use in isolated hearts perfused with fatty acids. Am J Physiol 1992;262:H1501�7.

8. Sklar SH. Herpes virus infection. JAMA 1977;237:871�2.

9. Sherlock CH, Corey L. Adenosine monophosphate for the treatment of varicella zoster infections: A large dose of caution. JAMA 1985;253:1444�5.

10. Gaby AR, Wright JV. Nutritional Therapy in Medical Practice. Proceedings from Nutritional Therapy in Medical Practice Conference, Seattle, WA, Oct 25�8, 1996, 33;

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