Dimethylaminoethanol Dmae


DMAE Introduction

Dimethylaminoethanol is often referred to in its abbreviated name - deanol or DMAE. DMAE is a precursor molecule to choline, which in turn is a constituent of several neurotransmitter molecules. It is thought that supplementation with DMAE will increase production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain. [1] DMAE is available in many salt or ester forms under a number of different name endings; all of these chemical versions are given the first name of deanol, thereby assisting in its identification.

DMAE was at one time sold only as a drug; it is now available as a dietary supplement. DMAE is utilized for certain conditions affecting neurotransmitter production in the brain, such as Alzheimer's disease and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

DMAE Food Sources

DMAE is a naturally occurring substance, found mainly in fish (sardines and anchovies) and is produced in small amounts within the human brain.


DMAE is theorized to increase acetylcholine levels in the skin, leading to improvements in skin tone. [2] Related to its ability to increase acetylcholine levels in the brain, DMAE has been studied for use in Alzheimer’s disease, and other cognitive-specific disorders. [3]

Other uses for DMAE include attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). DMAE has been deemed to be highly effective in this condition, however no studies are available at this time. DMAE may also aid in increasing brain function (i.e. memory and mood enhancement) and improvements of both energy and physical performance.

Experimental studies conducted on DMAE as a nutritional supplement have tested its efficacy age spots on skin, sagging or wrinkled skin, as well as its possible relevance in extending life span.

DMAE Dosages

Doses ranging from 300 to 2000 milligrams (mg) per day have been utilized in clinical studies. [4] Supplementation should begin with smaller doses (ex; 250 - 500 milligrams), and should be slowly increased to attain maximal effectiveness thereafter.

For treatment of skin conditions; a topical preparation containing 3% DMAE has been recommended to for provide maximum effectiveness. [5]

DMAE Deficiencies and Toxicities

DMAE Deficiency

Because DMAE is considered a non-essential nutritional supplement, no indications are recognized for deficiency states of DMAE.

DMAE Toxicity

DMAE Side effects:

DMAE may lead to hives, headaches, CNS stimulation, headaches, constipation, insomnia, depression, hypomania, drowsiness, and confusion. [6, 7, 8]

DMAE Interactions:

No known interactions between DMAE and clinical laboratory tests, foods, herbs or other supplements have been noted.

It is possible that use of DMAE may interfere with certain prescription medications, mainly anticholinergic medications, and decrease the efficacy of these drugs. [1]

DMAE Disease Conditions:

Limited reports of depression as a side effect of DMAE exist; therefore people who have or are prone to depression should use DMAE with caution.

Similarly, there are reports that DMAE may worsen symptoms of schizophrenia. Caution should be exercised when using DMAE in schizophrenics. [9] People who have clonic-tonic seizures should use DMAE with caution as well. [10]


1 Re O. 2-Dimethylaminoethanol (deanol): a brief review of its clinical efficacy and postulated mechanism of action. Curr Ther Res Clin Exp 1974;16:1238-42.

2 Uhoda I, Faska N, Robert C, et al. Split face study on the cutaneous tensile effect of 2-dimethylaminoethanol (deanol) gel. Skin Res Technol 2002;8:164-7.

3 Fisman M, Mersky H, Helmes E. Double-blind trial of 2-dimethylaminoethanol in Alzheimer’s disease. Am J Psychiatry 1981;138:970-2.

4 Penovich P, Morgan JP, Kerzner B, et al. Double-blind evaluation of deanol in tardive dyskinesia. JAMA 1978;239:1997-8.

5 Uhoda I, Faska N, Robert C, et al. Split face study on the cutaneous tensile effect of 2-dimethylaminoethanol (deanol) gel. Skin Res Technol 2002;8:164-7.

6 Haug BA, Holzgraefe M. Orofacial and respiratory tardive dyskinesia: potential side effects of 2-dimethylaminoethanol (deanol)? Eur Neurol 1991;31:423-5.

7 Casey DE. Mood alterations during deanol therapy. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 1979;62:187-91.

8 Sergio W. Use of DMAE (2-dimethylaminoethanol) in the induction of lucid dreams. Med Hypotheses 1988;26:255-7.


9 de Montigny C, Chouinard G, Annable L. Ineffectiveness of deanol in tardive dyskinesia: a placebo controlled study. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 1979;65:219-23.

10 Osol A, Hoover JE, eds. Remington’s Pharmaceutical Science, 15th ed. Easton, PA: Mack Publishing Company, 1975.


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