DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol) For Preventing Cognitive Decline

Posted by Andrew Neal on

What Does DMAE Do?

As we age our brains begin to work less efficiently. This is caused by a wide-variety of different factors such as the buildup of plaque, reduced blood flow, and impaired energy use of/to the brain (5). One way to increase the efficiency of the brain is to increase choline and acetylcholine. DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol) can impact the amount of choline and acetylcholine in the brain (Jope). But Why is choline and acetylcholine important?

Choline is used to make acetylcholine, which is the brains primary chemical for sending signals. If you can increase acetylcholine it will make you more alert and focused as well as improve your memory and learning (1). Most, if not all, nootropics are taken to do one of/or two things including

  1. Increasing, preventing the breakdown of, and facilitating the release of acetylcholine
  2. Protecting the brain

As mentioned, we want to increase acetylcholine because it will make you more alert, focused, and comprehend information more effectively. Supplements we use to increase acetylcholine include Bacopa leaf extract, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, PhosphatidylSerine, and Huperzine-A. On the other hand, if our goal is to protect the brain, we look for ingredients such as CDP-Choline, Lion's mane, and Vinpocetine.

DMAE does both because it can increase acetylcholine and protect the brain. Interestingly, DMAE is also in skin care products because it can reduce inflammation by acting as an antioxidant (2).

DMAE and Acetylcholine

As mentioned above, taking DMAE can increase the amount of available choline in the brain and body. It does this by reducing the uptake of choline in parts of the body other than the brain and facilitating the production of acetylcholine (9). The additional choline can then be used to create acetylcholine, which, as we discussed, can increase our cognitive awareness. DMAE can cross into the brain effectively to reduce choline uptake and synthesize acetylcholine.

In addition, DMAE can reduce anxiety and improve mood. Although we do not know the exact reason why it does this, we do know a few things that happen when you take DMAE:

  1. Promotes the production of acetylcholine and increases brain function.
  2. Improves feelings of well-being
  3. Increases energy

The three scenarios mentioned above may be able to make you feel better and reduce anxiety because they increase serotonin; the body's neurotransmitters that regulates mood.

Looking at this scenario, if you are more productive when taking DMAE it will make you feel better because you are more accomplished. This feeling of accomplishment can improve your mood and energy. Therefore, DMAE MAY (emphasizing may because this is not proven) promote serotonin release, which makes you overall feel better.

DMAE and Protecting the Brain

Another reason we take nootropics is because we want to protect the brain from further damage or increase the growth of new brain cells. Not only can DMAE indirectly increase acetylcholine, but it can also protect the brain.

In early research DMAE was used to treat learning disorders such as attention defict hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (6). Doses as low as 500mg for 3-months were able to be comparable to that of prescription drugs such as ridalin. DMAE is also an antioxidant meaning it can scavenge free radicals that can cause inflammation.

One of the causes of inflammation in the brain and body is free-radicals, which are molecules that have become unstable. The instability of these molecules can damage other cells promoting inflammation. When inflammation affects the brain, there is an increased risk of lowered cognitive function and potentially diseases such as dimentia and Alzheimer's (7).

DMAE can decrease genes that promote inflammation when taken orally (2). This can maintaining or increase brain health by decreasing the amount of inflammation the body is exposed. These effects are being investigated in skincare products because reducing inflammation in/on the skin can reduce signs of aging.

How Much DMAE Should I Take?

When you are taking DMAE, it depends on the goal and form. DMAE bitrate should be dosed at 150-350mg per day.

Other forms of DMAE include Centrophenoxine, which is a synthetic form of DMAE. If you are using this variety, you should dose with 500-1000mg per day. Again, this should be used intermittenly and not every day (8).

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  1. Blokland, A. (1995). Acetylcholine: a neurotransmitter for learning and memory?. Brain Research Reviews, 21(3), 285-300.
  2. Grossman, R. (2005). The role of dimethylaminoethanol in cosmetic dermatology. American journal of clinical dermatology, 6(1), 39-47.
  3. Jope, R. S., & Jenden, D. J. (1979). Dimethylaminoethanol (deanol) metabolism in rat brain and its effect on acetylcholine synthesis. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 211(3), 472-479.
  4. Lewis, J. A., & Young, R. (1975). Deanol and methylphenidate in minimal brain dysfunction. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 17(5), 534-540.
  5. Mayo Clinic. (2018, August 23rd). Mild Cognitive Impairment. Retrieved from
  6. Pellow, J., Solomon, E. M., & Barnard, C. N. (2011). Complementary and alternative medical therapies for children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Alternative Medicine Review, 16(4), 323.
  7. Sherwin, E., Dinan, T. G., & Cryan, J. F. (2018). Recent developments in understanding the role of the gut microbiota in brain health and disease. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1420(1), 5-25.
  8. Tomen, D. (n.d.). Centrophenoxine. Retrieved from
  9. Wallace, W. (2018). Interview.


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