DMAE is a component of cell membranes and is also one of the substances used by the body to make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine
. During its decades-long history as a supplement it developed a reputation for:
- treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- improving concentration, mood, memory, and cognition
- reducing fatigue
- decreasing the need for sleep
- improving behavior of children with Down Syndrome
- tightening the skin and reduce wrinkles
- removing deposits of lipofuscin (a substance correlated with aging)
- inducing lucid dreams (dreams directed by the dreamer)
- treating tardive dyskinesia
As is true for many other promising substances, very little effort has been made by the medical research community to test
and assess these applications of DMAE. (It is understandable that pharmaceutical and supplement companies have no incentive
to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in clinical studies of a substance that cannot be patented. What is not understandable is that researchers in academia or in government institutes have done so little to explore a substance that
has such intriguing connections with brain function and malfunction.)
Nevertheless, a handful of studies and many unofficial reports do suggest that many of these claims about DMAE are valid. For example, Dr. Jay Lombard of Cornell Medical
School has stated that a combination of DMAE and Acetyl-L-Carnitine “may exert beneficial effects in ADHD” — and some clinical support for this view is provided by a 1975 clinical study.
A medical paper in 1988 claimed that DMAE supplementation enables people to consciously control the content of their dreams
(‘lucid dreaming’) — a claim that has spawned numerous anecdotal reports of this phenomenon and of vivid dreams. Yet no further
scientific studies have been performed.
The idea that DMAE supplementation can reduce the need for sleep has not been clinically tested at all, despite the impact
such an effect would have. However, abundant anecdotal evidence points to this as a real effect.
The most exciting application for DMAE is based on the claim that it reverses certain symptoms of aging: that it tightens
the skin and reduces wrinkles and creases. In addition to very large numbers of anecdotal reports, there are convincing studies
that support this claim. For this purpose DMAE is usually formulated as a cream for topical use. (See the discussion on the DMAE Serum page of this website.)
Similarly, there are published studies showing that topical DMAE can remove deposits of lipofuscin from skin cells. Lipofuscin is a waste product that accumulates
inside and around cells, and is suspected to play an important role in aging. (Again, see the discussion about DMAE Serum in this website.)
The mechanism through which DMAE’s skin-tightening effect operates is not understood, but is thought to involve cell signalling
within the skin, where acetylcholine serves as one of the signalling molecules. In any case, there is no particular reason to think that such an effect only takes place in the skin — the internal tissues
of the body are subject to much the same aging process as takes place in the skin, and it would be reasonable to assume that
DMAE taken orally would have similar actions in these tissues.
DMAE supplements should never be used during pregnancy.
Pronunciation: dimethylaminoethanol (dye-MEH-thill-ah-MEE-noh-ETH-ane-all)
An integrative approach to treating Attention Deficit Disorder
“Neutraceuticals World” website by Jay Lombard
Deanol and methylphenidate in minimal brain dysfunction.
Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1975 May;17(5):534-40 Lewis JA, Young R.
Use of DMAE (2-dimethylaminoethanol) in the induction of lucid dreams.
Med Hypotheses. 1988 Aug;26(4):255-7 Sergio W.
Split face study on the cutaneous tensile effect of 2-dimethylaminoethanol (deanol) gel.
Skin Res Technol. 2002 Aug;8(3):164-7 Uhoda I, Faska N, Robert C, Cauwenbergh G, Pierard GE.
The role of dimethylaminoethanol in cosmetic dermatology.
Am J Clin Dermatol. 2005;6(1):39-47 Grossman R.
Effects of PCA and DMAE on the nematode Caenorhabditis briggsae.
Exp Aging Res. 1978 Apr;4(2):133-9 Zuckerman BM, Barrett KA.
Effect of lifetime administration of dimethylaminoethanol on longevity, aging changes, and cryptogenic neoplasms in C3H mice.
Mech Ageing Dev. 1988 Feb;42(2):129-38 Stenback F, Weisburger JH, Williams GM.