DMAE (dimethylethanolamine) has been used to treat human central nervous system disorders, especially those thought to be associated with decreased cholinergic neuron function, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, as well as learning and behavioral problems, Huntington’s disease, chronic fatigue and neurasthenia, but there has been little research and most of the results have been disappointing.
What are the benefits of DMAE in empirical medicine? Are there any side effects of DMAE? For details, please refer to the latest empirical discussion in the text
What is DMAE (dimethylethanolamine)?
DMAE (dimethylethanolamine), a structural analogue of choline in the B vitamin group that helps increase acetylcholine levels, was used as a prescription drug in the United States for more than 20 years to treat learning and behavioral problems in children, but was withdrawn from the market in 1983 due to the availability of better alternatives and is no longer available as a prescription drug.
Since acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter essential for helping nerve cells send signals, plays a key role in brain functions such as learning and memory, many dietary supplements advertised as nootropics on the market contain DMAE, which are purported to improve memory and general cognitive function.
What are the empirical effects of DMAE?
1. Beneficial for Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common dementia, characterized by the formation of plaques made up of β amyloid peptides and the formation of tangles of nerve fibers in the brain.
Due to an ageing population, the global prevalence is expected to rise in the future, with an estimated 44 million people worldwide living with Alzheimer’s disease, with the main symptoms including cognitive decline, behavioral changes, and inability to perform ordinary tasks, resulting in reduced quality of life and limited daily functioning.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (5-week trial of 27 patients with moderate or severe Alzheimer’s disease) noted that DAME drug therapy failed to improve clinical symptoms. Note 2
*Conclusion: DAME has not been clearly helpful for Alzheimer’s disease and is limited by small sample sizes, pending further validation
2. Beneficial for Huntington’s disease
Huntington’s disease is an autosomal dominantly inherited neurodegenerative disorder caused by repeated amplification of dominantly inherited CAG trinucleotides in the chromosomal Huntingtin gene, with an incidence of 10.6 to 13.7 per 100,000 population, with an average age of onset of 35 to 44 years.
Clinical symptoms are defined as occurring in three domains: motor, cognitive, and psychiatric disorders. Motor symptoms are progressive and, in the early stages of the disease, are mostly ADHD with involuntary chorea movements. In the later stages of the disease, dysphagia becomes a symptom with highly morbid effects, as aspiration is common and pneumonia is a common cause of death.
A double-blind crossover trial (in nine people with Huntington’s disease) noted that DMAE was ineffective in inducing any aspect of ADHD. Note 3
*Conclusion: DAME has failed to provide clear positive help for Huntington’s disease and is limited by small sample sizes, pending further validation
3. Good for skin health
Skin aging is a process by which skin quality deteriorates with age due to the synergy of time aging, photoaging, hormone deficiencies, and environmental factors.
During skin aging, the number of fibroblasts that synthesize collagen and blood vessels that supply the skin decrease, resulting in increased sagging that leads to the formation of wrinkles.
One study showed that topical DMAE gel preparations can increase skin firmness. Note 4
4. Improve cognitive function (nootropics)
Nootropics (or cognitive enhancers) can enhance cognitive performance through their effects on neurotransmitters (i.e., dopaminergic, glutamatergic/cholinergic, and serotonergic systems), hormones, transduction systems, and brain metabolism.
Cognition refers to the ability to process information, apply knowledge, and change preferences. It involves memory, attention, executive function, perception, language, and psychomotor function.
This cognitive manifestation depends on the interaction between genotype and lifestyle factors, including physical activity, sleep habits, and diet.
DMAE is thought to play a nootropic role by boosting the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter essential for helping nerve cells send signals that affect alertness, attention, memory, and mood. Note 6
*Conclusion: So far, no studies have proved that DMAE has the effect of improving cognitive function, and more studies are needed to further verify
Are there any side effects of DMAE?
Taking DMAE in moderation in the short term is probably safe for most people, and possible side effects or adverse effects that have been reported are: nasal and oral discharge, dyspnea, constipation, diarrhea, itching, headache, drowsiness, insomnia, dreaming, confusion, stomach upset, muscle cramps, irritability, mood changes, or increased blood pressure.
Safety precautions (4 contraindications to use)
1. Do not use by pregnant and lactating women (due to unknown safety)
2. Do not use in combination with anticholinergic drugs, which may affect the efficacy of drugs, which are used to treat overactive bladder, Parkinson’s disease, diarrhea, vomiting, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, muscle spasms, irritable bowel syndrome and other diseases involving involuntary muscle movement
Common drug names are: atropine, belladonna alkaloids, benztropine mesylate, Clidinium bromide, cyclopentolate, darifenacin, dicylomine, Fesoterodine, Flavoxate, glycopyrrolate, Homatropine hydrobromide, hyoscyamine, ipratropium, Orphenadrine, oxybutynin, Propantheline (propylthioline bromide), scopolamine, methscopolamine, solifenacin, tiotropium, tolterodine, trihexyphenidyl, trospium etc.
3. Do not use with cholinergic drugs, which may increase side effects, such drugs are used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, glaucoma, paralytic intestinal obstruction, urinary retention and myasthenia gravis and other diseases
Common related drug names are: acetylcholine, methacholine, carbachol (carbacholine), bethanechol (ureafine choline), pilocarpine, cevimeline, physostigmine, neostigmine, Pyridostigmine, Edrophonium, Rivastigmine, Donepezil, Galantamine etc.
4. Patients with depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or epilepsy should not take DMAE, which may worsen symptoms. Note 5