Articles

Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE)

Introduction

Dimethylaminoethanol is a naturaly occurring substance and is also known as DMAE or deanol. Animal studies show that taking DMAE results in increased levels of choline in the blood and brain. (1) The increased levels of choline, in theory, should increase the body's ability to make acetylcholine, a very important neurotransmitter in the brain. Acetylcholine is involved in memory, learning, recall, and thought processes.

In the 1960s and 1970s, DMAE was marketed as a prescription drug called Deaner. The FDA approved Deaner as "possible effective" for:

    Learning problems associated with underachieving and shortened attention span Behavior problems associated with hyperactivity Combined hyperkinetic behavior and learning disorders with underachieving, reading and speech difficulties, impaired motor coordination, and impulsive/compulsive behavior, often described as asocial, antisocial, or delinquent.

In 1983 the FDA demanded additional studies to prove the effectiveness of Deaner. These studies would have been more expensive than the product’s sales could support and Deanor was removed from the market. However, DMAE has continued to be available as a nutritional supplement.

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

Dosages typically used in clinical studies range from 10mg up to 2,000mg daily.

Most Common Dosage

100mg, 1-2 times daily. DMAE’s effects develop slowly over a period of two to four weeks.

Dosage Forms

Tablets and capsules.

Interactions and Depletions

Interactions

Reported Uses

For years, dimethylaminoethanol was used to treat children with hyperactivity disorders. (2) In addition to decreased hyperactivity, therapy with DMAE also reportedly produces increased attention span and decreased irritability, which may enhance school performance and test scores in some children. (3)

DMAE may be helpful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease or senile dementia. However, research supporting this clinical application is weak. Studies have not shown an improvement in memory and cognitive function. (4) , (5) DMAE would be more likely to provide benefits in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's symptoms rather than advanced cases.

DMAE may also provide some benefit in patients with tardive dyskinesia. (6) , (7) Tardive dyskinesia is a movement disorder involving the face, jaw, and tongue as well as the trunk and other extremities. It usually occurs after using certain antipsychotics for several weeks.

Toxicities & Precautions

Introduction

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General

This dietary supplement is considered safe when used in accordance with proper dosing guidelines.

Health Conditions

If you have a history of mood disorders, attention deficit disorder or depression talk to your doctor before taking this dietary supplement. (8)

Side Effects

Side effects are possible with any dietary supplement. This dietary supplement may cause drowsiness, confusion, and a mild increase in blood pressure. (9) . Large doses of this dietary supplement have caused muscle tension in the neck, jaw, legs, and other areas. Tell your doctor if these side effects become severe or do not go away.

Pregnancy / Breast Feeding

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects related to fetal development during pregnancy or to infants who are breast-fed. Yet little is known about the use of this dietary supplement while pregnant or breast-feeding. Therefore, it is recommended that you inform your healthcare practitioner of any dietary supplements you are using while pregnant or breast-feeding.

Age Limitations

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects specifically related to the use of this dietary supplement in children. Since young children may have undiagnosed allergies or medical conditions, this dietary supplement should not be used in children under 10 years of age unless recommended by a physician.

References

  1. View Abstract: Jope RS, Jenden DJ. Dimethylaminoethanol (deanol) metabolism in rat brain and its effect on acetylcholine synthesis. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. Dec1979;211(3):472-9.
  2. View Abstract: Lewis JA, Young R. Deanol and methylphenidate in minimal brain dysfunction. Clin Pharmacol Ther. May1975;17(5):534-40.
  3. Pfeiffer CC. Parasympathetic neurohumors. Possible precursors and effect on behavior. International Review of Neurobiology. 1959;Vol.1:195-244.
  4. View Abstract: Ferris SH, Sathananthan G, Gershon S, Clark C. Senile dementia: treatment with deanol. J Am Geriatr Soc. Jun1977;25(6):241-4.
  5. View Abstract: Fisman M, Mersky H, Helmes E. Double-blind trial of 2-dimethylaminoethanol in Alzheimer's disease. Am J Psychiatry. Jul1981;138(7):970-2.
  6. View Abstract: Stafford JR, Fann WE. Deanol acetamidobenzoate (Deaner) in tardive dyskinesia. Dis Nerv Syst. Dec1977;38(12 Pt 2):3-6.
  7. View Abstract: Kocher R, Hobi V, Linder M, Studer K. Treatment with dimethylaminoethanol (deanol) in neuroleptic induced tardive dyskinesia. Schweiz Arch Neurol Neurochir Psychiatr. 1980;126(1):103-9.
  8. View Abstract: Casey DE. Mood alterations during deanol therapy. Psychopharmacology (Berl). Apr1979;62(2):187-91.
  9. View Abstract: Fisman M, Mersky H, Helmes E. Double-blind trial of 2-dimethylaminoethanol in Alzheimer's disease. Am J Psychiatry. Jul1981;138(7):970-2.