DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol) is a naturally occurring amine in the human brain. Researchers believe it can modulate choline and possibly the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.1PEPEU G, FREEDMAN DX, GIARMAN NJ. Biochemical and pharmacological studies of dimethylaminoethanol (deanol) J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1960
It’s effects on the cholinergic system may mean it has nootropic benefits for:
In theory, DMAE could be used to enhance learning and memory, as would most cholinergic substances.
However, there is not a lot of research to back this claim up.
Despite this, many nootropics enthusiasts claim to have good results with this supplement.
Where To Buy DMAE
A substance that is produced in the brain and is also found in fish
Powerful nootropic supplement that has a wide range of benefits for cognitive function and overall health
Naturally increases choline in the brain
Show to outperform traditional pharma ADHD drugs
- Shown to boost mood and increase energy levels
- Can improve cognitive function in healthy adults, as well as those with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia
- It can also help to treat depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders
- Has anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects, making it a well-rounded nootropic for general brain health
- May help to improve sleep quality and reduce stress levels
- Can cause some side effects such as gastrointestinal distress, headache, and dizziness
- Overdosing can cause insomnia, headaches, or muscle tension
- Not safe for pregnant women
What Does DMAE Do?
DMAE shows promise as a treatment for many neurocognitive issues.
DMAE for ADHD
There is some evidence that DMAE may be useful for treating ADHD-like symptoms.
For decades, DMAE was sold under the brand name Deanol for treating mood and attention problems.
Over time it fell out of favor as a prescription medication in recent decades.
That doesn’t mean it is ineffective, just that research dried up.
Some users report positive results with this supplement.
The trials supporting this use were mostly done in the 70’s, before ADHD was even a real diagnosis. So, they may be outdated.
DMAE ADHD Research
One 1975 study on children who had problems with learning and hyperactivity were given either deanol, methylphenidate (Ritalin), or placebo for 3 months.
Deanol seemed to be about as effective as methylphenidate in reducing symptoms compared to placebo.
According to the researchers, “there is sufficient support for an effect of deanol in the literature to justify further investigation.”2Lewis JA, Young R. Deanol and methylphenidate in minimal brain dysfunction Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1975
In another study, young healthy males who took DMAE for 2-3 weeks showed improved concentration, as well as sleep patterns and muscle tone.3MURPHREE HB Jr, PFEIFFER CC, BACKERMAN IA. The stimulant effect of 2-dimethylaminoethanol (deanol) in human volunteer subjects Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1960
One animal study also found that DMAE could be used to treat learning and behavior problems and hyperkinetic behavior.4Stenbäck F, Weisburger JH, Williams GM. Effect of lifetime administration of dimethylaminoethanol on longevity, aging changes, and cryptogenic neoplasms in C3H mice Mech Ageing Dev. 1988
In another study, young healthy males who took DMAE for 2-3 weeks showed improved concentration, as well as sleep patterns and muscle tone.5MURPHREE HB Jr, PFEIFFER CC, BACKERMAN IA. The stimulant effect of 2-dimethylaminoethanol (deanol) in human volunteer subjects Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1960
DMAE For Mood
There is some limited evidence that DMAE can improve mood and feelings of well-being.
Many users report positive effects in this regard, although this effect has not been studied extensively.
There is one clinical trial that shows how DMAE may reduce theta and alpha brain waves. Decreases in these brain wave frequencies are associated with increased vigilance and attention.
Researchers found that the group taking DMAE “were more active and felt better.” They scored better on self-reports of well-being and showed improved brain activity under EEG scans.6Dimpfel W, Wedekind W, Keplinger I. Efficacy of dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) containing vitamin-mineral drug combination on EEG patterns in the presence of different emotional states Eur J Med Res. 2003
These are just initial findings, and more research needs to be done.
However, they point to the possibility that DMAE may be useful for improving mood.
DMAE For Epilepsy
A recent study conducted in 2019 “clearly demonstrated an antiepileptic effect of DMEA” in human temporal lobe epilepsy patients and rat hippocampal tissue.7Kraus L, et al. Dimethylethanolamine Decreases Epileptiform Activity in Acute Human Hippocampal Slices in vitro Front Mol Neurosci. 2019
DMAE For Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Overall, the results are mixed for DMAE and Alzheimers.
In one study, DMAE was given to 14 senile outpatients for 4 weeks. It produced positive benefits.8Ferris SH, Sathananthan G, Gershon S, Clark C. Senile dementia: treatment with deanol J Am Geriatr Soc. 1977
In another study looking at 27 patients with Alzheimer’s disease, researchers found no significant benefit from using DMAE.
In fact, they saw that it caused negative side-effects in several participants.9Fisman M, Mersky H, Helmes E. Double-blind trial of 2-dimethylaminoethanol in Alzheimer’s disease Journal or Am J Psychiatry. 1981
DMAE for Schizophrenia
Researchers also found that DMAE may help with some symptoms of schizophrenia.
In one study, schizophrenic patients showed increased motor and verbal activity after taking DMAE. Researchers concluded that the improvements may take as long as 6 months to fully take effect.10PFEIFFER CC, et al. Stimulant effect of 2-dimethylaminoethanol; possible precursor of brain acetylcholine Science. 1957
DMAE for Neuroprotection
DMAE may have benefits for neuroprotection, longevity, and anti-aging.
One study saw that DMAE significantly increased survival in aged mice.11Hochschild R. Effect of dimethylaminoethanol on the life span of senile male A-J mice Exp Gerontol. 1973
This may be due to the aging process involving alterations in cell membranes. Choline is essential in the formation of cell membranes, and DMAE is a precursor to choline while at the same time inhibiting choline metabolism.12Haubrich DR, Gerber NH, Pflueger AB. Deanol affects choline metabolism in peripheral tissues of mice J Neurochem. 1981
Another theory of DMAE’s anti-aging properties is its ability to scavenge free-radicals.
According to some research, DMAE goes out and kills free radicals that would normally be responsible for mutating cells.13Nagy I, Floyd RA. Electron spin resonance spectroscopic demonstration of the hydroxyl free radical scavenger properties of dimethylaminoethanol in spin trapping experiments confirming the molecular basis for the biological effects of centrophenoxine Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 1984
However, this animal study in female mice showed no difference between DMAE treated and placebo in anti- cancer properties or longevity.
So there is some question as to how effective DMAE may be. More research, especially on humans, is needed.14Stenbäck F, Weisburger JH, Williams GM. Effect of lifetime administration of dimethylaminoethanol on longevity, aging changes, and cryptogenic neoplasms in C3H mice Mech Ageing Dev. 1988
DMAE As An Ingredient
DMAE has been used as an ingredient in cognitive- and mood-enhancing products for years, as well as skincare products.152-DIMETHYLAMINOETHANOL Toxnet. 2019
It occurs naturally in some seafood, particularly anchovies.
DMAE bitartrate is the predominant form of DMAE on the market.
How DMAE Works In The Brain
Some sources claim that DMAE is an acetylcholine (ACh) precursor. However, this does not appear to be the case according to clinical research.
Instead, DMAE may increase acetylcholine indirectly by stimulating choline production, but the evidence is still conflicted.
One study found that DMEA is not methylated to choline and so does not alter brain ACh levels.
It did, however, increase brain choline.
So it may prove therapeutically useful when the production of choline is reduced or when the utilization of choline for the synthesis of acetylcholine is impaired.16Jope RS, Jenden DJ. Dimethylaminoethanol (deanol) metabolism in rat brain and its effect on acetylcholine synthesis J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1979
Another report explains that it is still unknown how DMAE increases brain and plasma levels of choline, despite its cholinergic properties.17Kraus L, et al. Dimethylethanolamine Decreases Epileptiform Activity in Acute Human Hippocampal Slices in vitro Front Mol Neurosci. 2019
It’s possible that it could stimulate neurons to make choline naturally. Or, it could prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine from happening as fast.
There is not enough evidence either way.18Kostopoulos GK, Phillis JW. The effects of dimethylaminoethanol (deanol) on cerebral cortical neurons Psychopharmacol Commun. 1975
Ultimately, the jury is still out on how exactly DMAE affects the cholinergic system. If you are looking to directly increase ACh, you are probably better off with a different nootropic.
DMAE’s Anti-Inflammatory Properties
DMAE can also act as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, scrubbing free radicals from your cells.19Nagy I, Floyd RA. Electron spin resonance spectroscopic demonstration of the hydroxyl free radical scavenger properties of dimethylaminoethanol in spin trapping experiments confirming the molecular basis for the biological effects of centrophenoxine Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 1984
DMAE Recommended Dosage?
The typical nootropic dose of DMAE is 100-250 mg daily.
DMAE Potential Side Effects
DMAE is a natural compound produced by the body. It is non toxic and should not produce any side effects when taken in the appropriate doses.
Many people stack it with a choline source for extra effect. Choline seems to have a synergistic effect with DMAE according to some anecdotal reports.
In high doses, some people report:
- Muscle pain
DMAE lowered the seizure threshold in rats and mice in large doses, so be mindful if you suffer from related conditions.
DMAE Reddit Reviews
[su_quote cite=”u/Neuropharma” url=”https://www.reddit.com/r/Nootropics/comments/1y1gvv/dmae_1_week_in_best_treatment_for_add_thus_far/?utm_source=amp&utm_medium=&utm_content=post_body”]For whatever reason DMAE has been more effective and less side effect free compared to traditional stimulants and, unlike modafinil, seems to be rather side effect free minus light headaches the first few days.
[su_quote cite=”WIN2014″ url=”https://www.reddit.com/r/Nootropics/comments/1y1gvv/dmae_1_week_in_best_treatment_for_add_thus_far/?utm_source=amp&utm_medium=&utm_content=post_body”]I just started taking it today and I really like it. I was on 100 MG of Modafinil and it really increased that experience for me. I felt as if I took 200 MG of Modafinil. So tomorrow I am going to just take the DMAE to see how much an effect it has on me. I have been searching for aid with ADD my whole life. I have never been on medication because my mom would never allow it because I had heart surgery when born.
[su_quote cite=”Anonymous” url=”https://www.reddit.com/r/Nootropics/comments/pfa3t/who_else_here_love_dmae_say_yeahhh/?utm_source=amp&utm_medium=&utm_content=post_body”]I love this one. I’d like to add something to my stack so I can remember the dreams better, but really this has pepped up my sleep amazingly. [/su_quote]
DMAE Amazon Reviews
[su_quote cite=”Akokisa” url=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/reviews/B01ASB9HCC/ref=cm_cr_unknown?ie=UTF8&filterByStar=five_star&pageNumber=1″]I noticed it for a while I’ve been waking up feeling sleepy and going through my whole day feeling sleepy. I guess brain fog would be a way of describing it. When I tried DMAE Just by itself it’s seem to work great the fog disappeared within six hours. And I wasn’t even taking anything else to help my memory that quick [/su_quote][su_quote cite=”Dakota” url=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/reviews/B01ASB9HCC/ref=cm_cr_unknown?ie=UTF8&filterByStar=five_star&pageNumber=1″]This stuff is great.It’s really helped clean up my brain. Let me tell you, I rarely lose my keys these days…It takes a little time for it to work but when it starts, it is very nice. It’s like the fog has lifted.I stopped taking L-tyrosine for a while because this stuff had such an effect (I started on it again though and now my mood and energy are back up and my brain is cranked too). Tyrosine and DMAE seem like a good combination.[/su_quote]
[su_quote cite=”billybangdouglas” url=”https://www.amazon.com/product-reviews/B0019LTJ9C/ref=acr_dp_hist_5?ie=UTF8&filterByStar=five_star&reviewerType=all_reviews#reviews-filter-bar”]It provides mental clarity and energy as well as significant anti-aging properties. Highly recommended! [/su_quote]
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