What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is DMAE?

DMAE (2-dimethylaminoethanol) is a chemical that has been used to treat a number of conditions affecting the brain and central nervous system. Like other such treatments, it is thought to work by increasing production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, although this has not been proven.

Preliminary evidence suggests that DMAE may be helpful for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ( ADHD ). 1 More widely marketed today as a memory and mood enhancer, DMAE is said to improve intellectual functioning; however, there are no clinical studies that support its use for these purposes. The basis for such claims probably stems from its purported ability to increase levels of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Drugs and supplements called cholinergicsthat increase acetylcholine have been used to treat Alzheimer's disease , tardive dyskinesia , and Huntington's chorea. Because DMAE was believed to be a cholinergic, it has been tried for all of these disorders. However, well-designed double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have yielded almost entirely negative...

Safety Issues

Although most clinical investigations using DMAE report that the participants experienced no side effects, enough researchers have found adverse reactions to suggest that some caution is appropriate in using this supplement. One study, as noted above, reports increased confusion, drowsiness, and elevated blood pressure; 2 another reports headache and muscle tension as possible adverse effects; 3 and another paper suggests that weight loss and insomnia may accompany use of DMAE. 4 There is also one case report of a woman who developed severe TD after taking DMAE for 10 years for a hand tremor. 5 Besides this, a number of manufacturers warn against the use of DMAE by people with epilepsy or a history of convulsions.

Maximum safe dosages for young children,...