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DMAE Review - Does This Ingredient Really Work?

By Summer Banks on Oct 27, 2016
DMAE Review

In my never-ending quest to discover the best diet product, this week I reviewed DMAE. We accepted the challenge to create this comprehensive review, focusing specifically on the scientific studies, ingredients, customer-service quality, and side effects. We also scrutinized user comments from all over the internet. In the end, we have narrowed down all of the data we gathered in order to give you the facts.

EDITOR'S TIP:

What is DMAE?

Firstly, DMAE is the abbreviation for Dimethylethanolamine. This compound is sometimes found in topical solutions that claim to tighten and tone the skin. It is also found in dietary supplements to support a variety of neurological conditions such as ADHD and Alzheimer’s. More recently claims have been made that it can promote weight-loss.

DMAE can be found in products manufactured by a wide variety of companies. It can also be found in a number of commercial products such as paint removers, but read on…

Side Effects – “Worrisome”

Our first issue is with the potential for DMAE side effects. According to our Research Editor, “There are many safety concerns with this ingredient considering there is very limited proof that it provides significant weight-loss benefits.”

This commenter stated, “I had…headaches.”

Another individual claimed, “Whenever I take something with this in it I notice my [headaches] are more frequent.”

Others didn’t experience any noticeable side effects when this ingredient was present.

On a more positive note, this reviewer said, “I didn’t even realize this ingredient was in the product I take until I saw some people complaining about it. Whatever, it worked great for me.”

And a happy consumer offered, “I like how well it works.”

Unsubstantiated Claims – “Questionable?”

The research that has been conducted on DMAE has focused primarily on cognitive functions.

A client explained, “I [don’t like] when I see ingredients in a product that serve no purpose.”

While another man speculated, “I bet this is put in because the name looks impressive when it’s spelled out.”

Interestingly, others felt that the inclusion of DMAE was beneficial.

One pleased shopper mentioned, “I felt more alert and I think this is why.”

A purchaser declared, “I wouldn’t understand the science behind it anyway. What matters is that it works.”

It’s with years of research that we can say things like lacking proof to support claims is enough to cut down any chance of long-term weight-loss results. If DMAE is just not supported, the dieter will go elsewhere.

The Science – “Not There”

At DietSpotlight we don’t think it is enough that an ingredient has some scientific research available if it isn’t related to weight-loss. In this case we didn’t find any significant studies that indicated this would be effective in helping dieters reach their goals.

The Bottom Line – Does DMAE Work?

What is the real deal with DMAE? It is becoming more common to see this ingredient included in weight-loss products so you may run into it. There simply isn’t enough proof to justify inclusion. Companies may want to focus on those ingredients that have been proven to work which is why we are skeptical about giving it the green light.

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About the Author:

Summer Banks is an ISSA-Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist and has reviewed over 2000 diet products. She has years of nursing training, experience as a manager responsible for 15 supplement brands, and completed coursework on Food and Nutrition from Stanford University. full bio.

How Does DMAE Compare?

Previous DMAE Review (Updated August 9, 2010):

What You Should Know

DMAE, or dimethylaminoethanol is an organic compound commonly used in paint thinners, water treatment, and polyurethanes. In the weight loss industry, there is no connection between DMAE and weight loss, though some studies claim increased life span and alertness. Studies are currently underway testing DMAE as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

List of Ingredients

Dimethylaminoethanol, also known as dimethylethanolamine, N,N-dimethyl-2-aminoethanol, beta-dimethylaminoethyl alcohol, beta-hydroxyethyldimethylamine and Deanol.

Product Features

A quick search for DMAE will return more than 2 million listings. Many of these listings are for vitamin companies selling DMAE for dietary supplementation. General Nutrition Center, or GNC, a leader in supplement and vitamin sales, lists DMAE as a memory booster that increases choline. Choline is the foundation of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter in the brain. TwinLab offers DMAE-H that lists weight loss as one of the benefits of the supplement. The supplement is available in liquid form and contains PABA, para-aminobenzoic acid. There is no link between either DMAE or PABA that would support the claim of weight loss. PABA is commonly used to treat skin conditions and may be linked to allergic reactions suffered under general anesthesia. Topical DMAE is also marketed for skin tightening and anti-aging. There is no scientific data supporting this claim either. Dieters and consumers in general, may want to stay away from products claiming any benefits other than those that are memory related. Several websites list warnings about taking DMAE with certain medical conditions. These include schizophrenia, epilepsy, and bipolar disorder or manic depression. There is no reason given for the warning. DMAE supplements range in strength from 250 mg to more than 1,000 mg per dose. While there is no known toxic levels for DMAE, side effects of high doses have been reported. Side effects may include insomnia, muscle tension, and headaches. Supplements are generally priced around the $5 to $10 mark.

See Our Featured

Advantages

  • May boost memory.
  • Low cost.
  • Available online from a variety of sources.
  • No known toxicity level.

Disadvantages

  • No clinical support for DMAE use in weight loss.
  • Many DMAE claims are unfounded.
  • Supplements range in doses from 250 to 1,000 mg or more - could be confusing to dieters.
  • Weight loss claims are unfounded.
  • Side effects can affect normal daily life.
  • Some supplements contain PABA, which may be linked to allergic reactions.

Conclusion

DMAE is a widely sold supplement that is none essential in the body. Most claims link DMAE supplementation to increasing memory or boosting brain functions and there may be some clinical evidence to support these claims. Other products site weight loss as a benefit of taking DMAE, but that claim is unfounded. Dieters should beware of products containing PABA as toxicity can occur and allergic reactions may be more common than reported.

2 User Reviews About DMAE

Leave comments below (moderated by Leptigen)
  • 1
    Tina

    Okay…here are my pros and cons to taking DMAE…
    Pros:
    1. It does elevate my mood (not depressed, just some mild/moderate anxiety problems related to ADD)
    2. It does boost my wanting to get things done during the day (has something to do with the boosting of my mood)
    3. All in all, I just feel happier on it.

    Cons:
    1. Do not take too much or else it messes with your brain…makes you foggier then normal (even when I take my Concerta 36 mg along with Vitamin Bs).
    2. It seems as though if I take it for too long the effects (mostly the focus and concentration/energy part) wears off. I still get the elevated mood, but am a little more disorganized again and act as though I am running around like a chicken with their head chopped off for no reason…it’s like my body wants to go too fast (something to do with my brain, obviously).
    3. The first couple times I bought DMAE, I was able to get it at the GNC store (250 mg capsuls) which were great if I didn’t take too much. I only took one in the morning and one at lunch. However, the third time, I could not find it because they were out of stock and wound up at Vitamin World instead and, unfortunately, they only sold it as 100 mg capsuls. With that said, I started taking two 100 mg pills in the morning and the same at lunch and had not liked the effects. Mood elevation was still good, I still could focus and concetrate to a certain extent, but I was more disorganized (some days more than others for some strange reason…like an off and on switch with my brain).

    With that said, I stopped taking it two days ago. I continued taking my Concerta and Vitamin B pills in the morning as I had before. Yesterday, the first day I stopped, was okay. My mood was no longer elevated. I felt the same as I did prior to the DMAE. I felt much better on the DMAE as far as mood is concerned. It seems as though it helped with my negative thought process (I had more positive thoughts without even trying) and I just really enjoyed life even on stressful days. I was able to handle stress better and my anxiety issues that come and go were gone. As a matter of fact, even though it was goofed up in other ways, I miss the DMAE even though it has only been 2 days off it. I think by dropping to taking just 100 mg in the morning and same in the afternoon might be better (starting tomorrow). I also noticed that without it, my focus and concentration was not the same versus on it and my disorganized thought process was even worse today. Like I said, yesterday was okay. Today, however, is when I really noticed the difference. It’s like everything went down hill and my brain was much slower to process (even on Concerta). The Concerta does help, something I have taken since high school simply because it has been quite helpful. However, I have noticed that it is not enough. The Vitamins do help even out the Concerta throughout the day since it is an extended release pill taken once a day and I do get a mild crash in the afternoon and start noticing when it wears off (if I don’t take the Vitamins in the morning). Interesting how this all works. I do understand the concept of the Vitamins working for the brain, but the fact that it helps the Concerta work a little better (believe it or not it helps it last longer in the afternoon as well), that I will never understand. And, how the DMAE actually works (in details), I probably will not understand that either. But, all I know is that it does and I’m happy with the results. I just wish the GNC store would get their act together and stop running out of the 250 mg capsuls. I think that is how I got screwed up this last time. I don’t know…I’m going to try again and see what happens…tomorrow is a new day and I really hope it works because I did really like the mood effects it gave me. I am pretty happy as it is, but to have it make me even happier and provide me with the natural ability to think positive thoughts is wonderful. Also, I noticed that I could play the piano better. I think it is due to the fact that my mood is elevated and my anxiety is decreased on the medication versus off it. So, I am not stressing out trying to learn something new which causes the memory problems for me and most with ADD/ADHD.

    [Reply]

  • 2
    Marie Barber

    How long should I use Dmae cream for toning face before I see results?

    [Reply]

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