DMAE, or dimethylaminoethanol (chemical name deanol), is a compound found in high levels in oily fish such as anchovies, sardines and salmon. It is also produced in small amounts by the human brain. It is sold as a food supplement to boost brain function and is thought to be helpful in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Doctors are also looking at its role in treating poor memory and Alzheimers Disease, as well as some movement disorders.
The supplement was originally researched as a treatment for ADHD and early studies in the 1970s revealed that it was helpful for children with learning disabilities and behavior problems. This substance appears to increase production of chemicals in the brain essential for short-term memory, concentration, and learning capacity. It is also classed as an “cholinergic” because it is thought to increase levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, one of the chemicals in the brain that enhances mental powers. A decrease in the brain cells that produce acetylcholine is thought to be partly responsible for Alezheimers disease. “Cholinergic” drugs, such as tacrine (Cognex), donepezil (Aricept), rivasatigmine (Exelon), and galantamine (Reminyl) are used to treat the dementia of Alzheimer’s disease.
Although there are no conclusive studies it is possible that DMAE has memory-boosting effects. Many nutritionally oriented physicians prescribe DMAE along with another memory enhancer, the dietary supplement phosphatidylcholine.
DMAE supplements won’t work for everybody and are not intended as a cure. But they are safe and may be helpful. They should be taken with meals.
There are no known drug or nutrient interactions associated with DMAE but more needs to be learned this supplement. You should consult a doctor, particularly if you have any illnesses such as epilepsy.
International anti-ageing skin doctor Nicholas Perricone describes DMAE as “the magic bullet” for skin. He prescribes supplements and a diet high in wild salmon – his research documents changes in the skin in only three days. He believes that DMAE is a building-block of the neuro-transmitter acetylcholine which declines with age and causes a deterioration in musle-tone as well as brain function. This diet also has a beneficial effect on weight.
Recommended books by Perricone: The Perricone Prescription and The Wrinkle Cure