Dimethylaminoethanol is an industrial chemical and dietary supplement used for memory/cognitive enhancement. DMAE is an analog of the essential nutrient choline, and is thought to increase levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Nonetheless, research on DMAE as a treatment for cognitive/neurological disorders is conflicting, and often does not support the claims made for it.
Research has shown that DMAE is actually an inhibitor of choline uptake and metabolism and is a potential teratogen. It is also used extensively in “cosmeceutical” formulas to reduce wrinkles, but short-term improvements in skin firmness may come at the expense of overall skin health, as DMAE is toxic to skin fibroblasts and induces extensive vacuolization damage.
There is still much that is unknown about DMAE metabolism. A toxicological review conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) has recommended that further research be performed to address “…data gaps with special attention to pharmacokinetics and the influence of dietary choline.”
DMAE may be listed on supplement labels by an older name, “Deanol.” DMAE bitartrate (or Deanol Bitartrate) is the most commonly used supplement form.