Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE / DMEA): Benefits, Dosing, Where To Buy, And More!

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Key Information

DMAE is a natural brain compound:

DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol) is a naturally occurring amine in the human brain that may modulate choline and acetylcholine.

DMAE may improve cognitive function and mood:

DMAE may enhance attention, concentration, learning, memory, and well-being by stimulating the cholinergic system and reducing brain wave activity.

DMAE may have anti-aging and neuroprotective effects:

DMAE may increase lifespan, scavenge free radicals, and prevent cell membrane damage by acting as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

DMAE has mixed evidence and side effects:

DMAE has limited and conflicting research on its effectiveness and safety, and may cause gastrointestinal distress, headache, and dizziness.

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Dimethylaminoethanol, commonly known as DMAE or DMEA, is a naturally occurring compound that has garnered significant attention in nootropics and anti-aging skincare.

As a website dedicated to evidence-based, holistic cognitive enhancement, Holisticnootropics.com is excited to explore the potential benefits, mechanisms, and applications of this fascinating substance.

First discovered in the 1950s, DMAE has been studied for its potential cognitive-enhancing and neuroprotective properties. It was even sold as a prescription drug called Deaner in the 1960s and 70s for treating learning and behavioral disorders in children, before being withdrawn due to lack of proven efficacy.

Today, DMAE is primarily used as a dietary supplement and skincare ingredient.

How Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE / DMEA) Works

DMAE is structurally similar to choline, an essential nutrient in many physiological processes, including neurotransmitter synthesis and cell signaling. While some sources claim that DMAE is a direct precursor to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter critical for learning, memory, and muscle control, recent research suggests this may not be entirely accurate.

Instead, DMAE indirectly increases acetylcholine levels in the brain by inhibiting choline metabolism and promoting choline incorporation into phospholipids, essential components of cell membranes. By optimizing choline utilization, DMAE may support cognitive function and overall brain health.

Additionally, DMAE has been shown to possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which may contribute to its neuroprotective and anti-aging effects. It helps reduce lipofuscin accumulation, a cellular waste product that can impair brain function and skin health as we age.

Benefits of Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE / DMEA)

Cognitive Enhancement

One of the primary reasons people turn to DMAE supplements is for their potential cognitive benefits. Several studies have investigated DMAE’s effects on memory, learning, and overall brain function:

  • A 1975 study found that DMAE supplementation improved test scores and behavior in children with learning and attention disorders, with effects comparable to those of methylphenidate (Ritalin).
  • A 2003 study demonstrated that a DMAE-containing vitamin-mineral compound led to improved brain electrical activity associated with increased vigilance and attention in healthy adults.
  • Animal studies suggest that DMAE may enhance memory and learning by promoting cholinergic neurotransmission and reducing oxidative stress in the brain.

Learn More: Best Nootropics For Studying, Memory, and Focus

Skin Health and Anti-Aging

DMAE has gained popularity as a skincare ingredient due to its potential anti-aging effects. By reducing the accumulation of lipofuscin and promoting skin firmness and elasticity, DMAE may help combat visible signs of aging:

  • A 2007 study found that a 3% DMAE facial gel significantly improved the appearance of coarse wrinkles, under-eye dark circles, nasolabial folds, and neck firmness after 16 weeks of use.
  • Another study demonstrated that DMAE application increased skin hydration and reduced transepidermal water loss, suggesting improved skin barrier function.
  • DMAE’s antioxidant properties may help protect the skin from oxidative damage caused by UV radiation and other environmental stressors.

Mood and Emotional Well-being

Some evidence suggests that DMAE may have mood-enhancing and anti-anxiety effects, possibly by modulating neurotransmitter levels and reducing neuroinflammation:

  • A 1977 study reported improved mood, energy, and sleep in older adults with cognitive decline after DMAE supplementation.
  • Animal studies have demonstrated that DMAE may have antidepressant-like effects and reduce stress-induced cognitive impairments.
  • DMAE’s potential to optimize cholinergic and dopaminergic neurotransmission may contribute to its mood-supportive properties.

Learn More: Find Your Happy Place: Best Nootropics for Depression

Dosage and Administration

The optimal dosage of DMAE may vary depending on individual factors such as age, weight, and health status, as well as the specific purpose for using the supplement. Generally, the recommended dosage range falls between 100-300 mg per day, taken in divided doses.

PurposeRecommended Dosage
Cognitive Enhancement100-300 mg/day
Skin Health and Anti-Aging50-100 mg/day
Mood and Emotional Well-being150-300 mg/day

It’s best to start with the lowest effective dose and gradually increase as needed while monitoring for potential side effects. DMAE supplements are typically taken in the morning or early afternoon to avoid interfering with sleep. As with any new supplement, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional before starting DMAE, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions or are taking medications.

Potential Side Effects and Precautions

While DMAE is generally well-tolerated, some people may experience side effects, particularly at higher doses. Common side effects include:

  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle tension
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Skin irritation (with topical use)

More serious but rare side effects may include high blood pressure, respiratory problems, and seizures. DMAE should be used with caution in individuals with a history of epilepsy, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia, as it may exacerbate symptoms. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid DMAE due to limited safety data.

DMAE may interact with certain medications, including anticholinergics, cholinesterase inhibitors, and stimulants. To prevent potential interactions, it’s crucial to inform your healthcare provider about all supplements and medications you are taking.

Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE / DMEA) vs Other Nootropics

DMAE is just one of many nootropic compounds available for cognitive enhancement. While it shares some similarities with other cholinergic nootropics like Piracetam and Alpha-GPC, DMAE has its own unique properties and potential advantages:

  • Compared to Piracetam, DMAE may have more pronounced effects on mood and skin health, in addition to cognitive benefits.
  • DMAE is more readily available and affordable than some other nootropics, such as Noopept or Phenylpiracetam.
  • DMAE’s antioxidant and neuroprotective properties set it apart from purely cholinergic nootropics like Choline bitartrate or Citicoline.

However, DMAE’s effects may be more subtle than those of stronger nootropics, and individual responses can vary significantly. Some users may find better results with other compounds or by combining DMAE with complementary nootropics for synergistic effects.

Learn More: What are Nootropics? The Ultimate Beginners Guide To Cognitive Enhancers

Where to Buy Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE / DMEA)

When purchasing DMAE supplements, choosing a reputable source ensures purity, potency, and safety. Look for brands that follow good manufacturing practices (GMP), provide third-party testing results, and have positive customer reviews.

Some trusted options for high-quality DMAE supplements include:

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When selecting a DMAE product, consider the form (capsules, powder, or liquid), dosage per serving, and additional ingredients that may enhance or complement its effects. Read labels carefully and follow the manufacturer’s recommended dosage instructions.

Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE / DMEA) Discussions on Reddit

User Experiences and Reviews

“DMAE’s effects are far more subtle than Modafinil but its the only thing thats been as effective and relatively side effect free.”

u/Neuropharma in discussion “DMAE 1 week in, Best Treatment for ADD thus far/ Best Nootropic IMO.. What Are your thoughts”

Many Reddit users report positive experiences with DMAE, noting improvements in focus, mental clarity, and overall cognitive function. Some even compare its effects to prescription stimulants like Modafinil, albeit with a more subtle and gradual onset.

Dosage and Cycling Strategies

“To counteract this, I take only 125mg a day and even that feels quite powerful. Also take the weekends off to avoid any build up over time.”

u/Remarkable_Tale_8754 in discussion “DMAE is incredible at first then really bad”

Reddit discussions often revolve around finding the optimal dosage and cycling regimen for DMAE. Many users recommend starting with a low dose (100-300 mg/day) and gradually increasing as needed, while taking occasional breaks to prevent tolerance buildup and maintain effectiveness.

Potential Risks and Side Effects

“A large number of adverse health effects were associated with DMAE, including cardiovascular, neurological, and/or psychological effects.”

u/nick11221 citing a study in discussion “DMAE giving me incredible focus and clarify of mind. This is insane”

While most users tolerate DMAE well, some Redditors have reported side effects like headaches, muscle tension, insomnia, and mood changes. It’s essential to be aware of potential risks and monitor your individual response carefully. If you experience any concerning symptoms, discontinue use and consult a healthcare professional.

“750mg DMAE bitartrate. For about 3 days in a row, dissolved in alcohol, allowed to situnder the tongue for a while (you might not enjoy doing this), then swallowed into an empty stomach.”

u/gwern in discussion “The First Time I had DMAE – An acetylcholine story”

Experimentation with dosage and administration methods is common among Reddit users. Some, like u/gwern, report using high doses (750 mg) sublingually for enhanced absorption. However, this approach may increase the risk of side effects and is not generally recommended without medical supervision.

“DMAE had similar effects on me the first times I used it. I wont argue that it has lost it potency, but perhaps there is more to it. I almost felt it was life-changing in a very loose sense.”

u/tukotih in discussion “The First Time I had DMAE – An acetylcholine story”

Many Reddit users report profound initial effects from DMAE, describing it as “life-changing” or “incredible.” However, some note these effects diminish over time, possibly due to tolerance or individual brain chemistry changes. Cycling DMAE and combining it with other nootropics may help maintain its effectiveness long-term.

FAQ about Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE / DMEA)


Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE / DMEA) is a promising nootropic compound with potential benefits for cognitive function, mood, and skin health. By optimizing choline utilization and exerting antioxidant and neuroprotective effects, DMAE may help support overall brain health and performance.

However, individual responses to DMAE can vary significantly, and it’s essential to approach supplementation cautiously and systematically. Start with a low dose, monitor your reactions closely, and be prepared to adjust your regimen as needed. Remember that nootropics like DMAE are not magic bullets but rather tools to support a holistic approach to cognitive enhancement and well-being.

As with any new supplement, it’s crucial to do your own research, consult with trusted healthcare professionals, and make informed decisions based on your unique needs and goals. By staying informed and attuned to your body’s responses, you can harness the potential of DMAE and other nootropics to optimize your brain health and performance.


Grossman R. The role of dimethylaminoethanol in cosmetic dermatology. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology. 2005;6(1):39-47. doi: 10.2165/00128071-200506010-00005. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15675889/

Lewis JA, Young R. Deanol and methylphenidate in minimal brain dysfunction. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 1975 May;17(5):534-40. doi: 10.1002/cpt1975175534. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1092513/

Shipkowski KA, Sanders JM, McDonald JD, et al. Comparative disposition of dimethylaminoethanol and choline in rats and mice following oral or intravenous administration. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. 2019 Sep 1;378:114592. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2019.05.011. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7252906/

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Erik Abramowitz is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP), Naturopathic Doctoral student, health coach, and father. He is the primary content creator for HolisticNootropics.com and the host of the Holistic Nootropics Podcast.

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