Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) is a colorless viscous liquid with fishy, ammoniacal odor. DMAE is also known as:
- dimethylethanolamine (DMEA)
- Deaner (deanol p-acetamidobenzoate) – sold until 1983 by Riker Laboratories as a prescription drug for children with learning and behavioral problems.
What Exactly is DMAE?
DMAE is a substance naturally produced in the brain, which can also be found in fatty fish.
It is a precursor to choline and is very similar to it with one small difference: DMAE has 2 methyl groups while choline just has one.
As a methyl donor, DMAE loses one methyl group and becomes choline. More choline in the body can mean several things:
- An increase in the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
- Formation of SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine), another substance which is also an interesting stimulatory nootropic.
What are the Benefits of DMAE Supplementation?
Among DMAE’s purported benefits, you will find claims that it:
- improves/stabilizes mood and may reduce depression, anxiety, and irritability, while increasing motivation. (According to other claims, it might make depression worse.)
- improves brain and cognitive function (nootropic): enhances memory, concentration, focus, mental clarity, sleep, and may reduce memory loss associated with dementia (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease).
- improves athletic performance and may even be beneficial for bodybuilding. Interestingly, one of DMAE’s side effects is increasing muscle tone.
- reduces weight and may thus be useful as an anti-obesity drug.
- improves ADHD symptoms in children with an effective that is similar to methylphenidate (Ritalin).
- extends life (studies on mice demonstrated life-extension by up to 50%) – but other studies showed the opposite effect.
- helps with symptoms of autism.
- may be used as a treatment for a movement disorder called tardive dyskinesia, characterized by unwanted movements of the face and mouth.
As a topical agent, DMAE is believed to have benefits for aging skin and may improve skin and lip appearance with no side effects.
DMAE dietary supplements for oral consumption often come as salts, such as:
- lactate salt
- p-acetamidobenzoate salt
- tartrate salt – The most common DMAE supplement available today is the bitartrate salt.
Other related substances include:
- DMAE aceglumate
- DMAE p-acetamidobenzoate
- DMAE dihydrogen phosphate
- DMAE hydrochloride
- DMAE orotate
- DMAE succinate
- centrophenoxine – may be beneficial for psychoorganic syndrome.
- dimethylethanolamine p-chlorophenoxyacetate hydrochloride
- centrophenoxine orotate
- meclofenoxate (DMAE p-chlorophenoxyacetate)
Very little is known about the specific effects of each of these.
How Does DMAE Work?
We’re not sure yet.
According to one theory, DMAE is converted to choline in the body, increasing production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in attention, alertness, and memory, and can also promote REM sleep, the stage of sleep in which most of our dreams occur.
Alternatively, DMAE may prevent choline reuptake and/or stimulate the synthesis of acetylcholine.
DMAE may also help prevent buildup of beta-amyloid in the brain and thus prevent or slow down age-related cognitive decline and memory loss.
Additionally, DMAE is believed to be neuroprotective and an anti-oxidant, capable of protecting the brain from the harmful effects of oxidation.
Finally, it is claimed that DMAE is a powerful stimulant of the reticular formation, a part of the brainstem which plays a central role in states of consciousness such as alertness and sleep. Taking the supplement before sleep, according to this theory, will increase awareness during sleep.
DMAE, Lucid Dreaming, and Astral Projection
Dreams are said to become more ”alive” and easier to remember under the influence of DMAE.
DMAE may even be better than choline supplements for this purpose due to its purported better ability to pass through cellular membranes and/or the blood-brain barrier.
While some people may experience DMAE’s tonic effect on consciousness with the first dose, for other about 2 weeks may be required to reach full effects.
Some people also report the effects of DMAE become permanent after using it for some time.
Ideally, take DMAE with some food for better absorption, especially high-choline foods, such as a cup of soy milk or an egg.
Taking a small dose of a choline supplement with the DMAE may boost its effects.
For better results, it is recommended to combine any dream supplements you take with induction techniques, such as MILD.
DMAE is sold as a dietary supplement in capsule and powdered form as well as an ingredient of cosmetic and skin care products.
The degree of cerebral stimulation may vary with the salt of DMAE used:
- the lactate salt is the most effective
- the pacetamidobenzoate salt next best
- the tartrate the poorest, but that is the only DMAE supplement currently available in the market.
Dosage of bitartrate DMAE salt: 20-2000 mg. (Start with the lowest dose and gradually increase if needed.)
If you are able to procure pure DMAE, vaping it may be possible since its boiling point (at which it turns from liquid to gas) is 134.1 °C (273.3 °F). However, it may be dangerous to inhale DMAE so I wouldn’t recommend it.
While DMAE is a safe and relatively nontoxic compound if taken for short periods in doses of up to 2,000 mg per day, do not take it without consulting with your doctor first, especially if:
- you suffer from a disease, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or epilepsy.
- you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or plan to become pregnant in the near future.
- you take medications, such as
- acetylcholinesterase inhibitors / cholinesterase inhibitors (e.g., donepezil, galantamine, tacrine, rivastigmine)
- anticholinergic medications
- cholinergic medications
- anticoagulants / blood-thinning medications (e.g., warfarin)
The following side effects have been reported to sometimes arise with DMAE supplementation:
- muscle twitching/tension
- gastrointestinal systems, such as stomach upset, constipation, or diarrhea
- increased blood pressure
- neurological symptoms, such as confusion, irritability, mania, depression, or drowsiness
- insomnia or vivid dreams
- sneezing, coughing, or wheezing
- eye irritation
- convulsions in susceptible people
- body odor
- skin conditions, such as irritation, itching, redness, and swelling (topical use)