The Health Benefits of DMAE

Dimethylaminoethanol is Thought to Improve Skin Health and Cognitive Function

Woman applying skin cream
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DMAE (also known as "dimethylaminoethanol," "dimethylethanolamine," or Deanol) is a compound sometimes used as an ingredient in lotions, creams, and other skincare products. It is also available in dietary supplement form.

Health Benefits

DMAE is believed to increase production of acetylcholine (a type of chemical that helps nerve cells to transmit signals). Since acetylcholine plays a key role in many brain functions like learning and memory, proponents claim that taking DMAE in supplement form may boost brain health by raising acetylcholine levels.

DMAE is also said to reduce the buildup of beta-amyloid (a pigment that impairs cognitive function and is linked to age-related cognitive decline). Some proponents claim that the use of DMAE supplements has the potential in the prevention of Alzheimer's disease.

In addition, DMAE is purported to boost athletic performance, elevate mood, and address symptoms of depression.

There is currently a lack of scientific research on the effects of DMAE. Here's a look at several findings from the available research.

Skin Care Products

DMAE cream, lotion, and other skin-care products are said to offer anti-aging benefits by reducing the appearance of wrinkles, dark under-eye circles, and sagging neck skin. While research on DMAE's effectiveness is very limited, there's some evidence that using DMAE-based products may help improve skin.

For instance, a review published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology states that DMAE may help to increase skin firmness and curb inflammation in the skin. In their analysis of previously published research, the review's authors found that DMAE may help to lessen fine wrinkles on the forehead and around the eyes and improve the overall appearance of aging skin. What's more, the review's authors noted that DMAE did not appear to cause common side effects such as redness, peeling, and dryness.

In a preliminary study published in Pharmazie in 2009, topically applied DMAE led to increased thickness of the epidermal and dermal skin layers (in contrast, application of formulations without DMAE increased thickness of the epidermal layer only).

Cognitive Function

For a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease in 2012, 242 people (all of whom were diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer's disease) took either a placebo or an oral DMAE extract known as V0191 every day for 24 weeks. At the study's end, there was no significant difference in cognitive function between the two groups.

The study's noted that there may have been several issues in the study design, including a relatively short treatment period, a lack of valid measures to assess the study participants, and issues with assessing changes in cognitive function over time.

There's also no evidence that oral DMAE supplements can treat depression or improve sports performance.

Possible Side Effects

Very little is known about the safety of DMAE supplements. However, there's some concern that DMAE may trigger certain side effects, including increased blood pressure, stomach upset, headaches, muscle tension, drowsiness, confusion, and irritability.

Pregnant and nursing women and women who trying to conceive should not take DMAE, due to concerns that it may cause neural tube defects. Also, people with bipolar disorder or epilepsy shouldn't use DMAE. You can get tips on using supplements here.

When used topically, DMAE may cause skin irritation.

Dosage and Preparation

There is not enough scientific evidence to establish a safe or effective dose of DMAE.

There have been doses used in scientific studies. For example, in a study examining the athletic performance benefits of DMAE, study participants took 300 to 2000 mg of Deanol per day.

The safe and effective dose for you may depend on variables including your age, gender, and medical history. Speak with your healthcare provider to get personalized advice.

What to Look For

There currently isn't enough evidence to support the use of DMAE. If you're still considering trying it, be sure to follow guidelines provided by health experts to buy the best product for you.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that you look for a Supplement Facts label on the product that you buy. This label will contain vital information including the amount of active ingredients per serving, and other added ingredients (like fillers, binders, and flavorings).

Also, the organization suggests that you look for a product that contains a seal of approval from a third party organization that provides quality testing. These organizations include U.S. Pharmacopeia, ConsumerLab.com, and NSF International. A seal of approval from one of these organizations does not guarantee the product's safety or effectiveness but it does provide assurance that the product was properly manufactured, contains the ingredients listed on the label, and does not contain harmful levels of contaminants.

For more help in protecting your skin, consider using products that contain argan oil, shea butter, or green tea. It's also essential to wear sunscreen to shield your skin from sun-related damage and reduce your risk of skin cancer.

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