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DMAE (2-Dimethylaminoethanol)
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

DMAE (2-Dimethylaminoethanol) Overview

Written by ritasharma.

DMAE is more widely marketed today as a memory and mood enhancer, but some believe that it can improve intellectual functioning. The basis for such claims probably stems from its purported ability to increase levels of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Drugs and supplements called cholinergics that 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.

Evidence on How It Works

There have been some well-designed double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have yielded almost entirely negative results about DMAE's ability to increase a certain type of neurotransmitter, acetylcholine and improve intellectual functioning.1-7 In addition, there is some controversy over whether DMAE really increases acetylcholine at all.8


  1. Casey DE, Denney D. Dimethylaminoethanol in tardive dyskinesia [letter]. N Engl J Med. 1974;291:797.
  2. Re' O. 2-Dimethylaminoethanol (deanol): a brief review of its clinical efficacy and postulated mechanism of action. Curr Ther Res Clin Exp. 1974;16:1238-1242.
  3. Alphs L, Davis JM. Noncatecholaminergic treatments of tardive dyskinesia. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 1982;2:380-385.
  4. Soares KV, McGrath JJ. The treatment of tardive dyskinesia—a systematic review and meta-analysis. Schizophr Res. 1999;39:1-18.
  5. Caraceni TA, Girotti F, Celano I, et al. 2-dimethylaminoethanol (deanol) in Huntington's chorea. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1978;41:1114-1118.
  6. Tarsy D, Bralower M. Deanol acetamidobenzoate treatment in choreiform movement disorders. Arch Neurol. 1977;34:756-758.
  7. Fisman M, Mersky H, Helmes E. Double-blind trial of 2-dimethylaminoethanol in Alzheimer's disease. Am J Psychiaty. 1981;138:970-972.
  8. Zahniser NR, Chou D, Hanin I. Is 2-dimthylaminoethanol (deanol) indeed a precursor of brain acetylcholine? A gas chromatographic evaluation. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1977;200:545-559.


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