DMAE boosts alertness

Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE / DMEA)

David Tomen
David Tomen
13 minute read
DMAE has been shown to boost alertness, focus, memory, and mental clarity.

Key Takeaways

  1. DMAE is structurally similar to choline but not a direct precursor to acetylcholine (ACh), causing confusion about its role as a nootropic.
  2. It may provide neuroprotection by removing lipofuscin and free radicals from brain cells.
  3. DMAE boosts choline levels in the brain and stimulates cholinergic receptors, potentially leading to improved mood, energy, and sleep patterns in some people.
  4. Studies have explored its potential benefits in treating cognitive disorders and ADHD, while it is also used in cosmetics for skin-firming properties.
  5. Recommended dosage is 100-200 mg per day, with short-term or intermittent use is considered safe, but should be avoided during pregnancy or by those with epilepsy or bipolar disorder.

DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol, Deanol, Deaner) has two methyl groups and is structurally similar to choline, which is a direct precursor to the synthesis of acetylcholine (ACh).

ACh is a critical neurotransmitter that influences everything from memory to muscle control. And it is the relationship ACh has with DMAE that generates most of the hype around DMAE as a nootropic.

But it turns out that DMAE is NOT a precursor to acetylcholine as reported on many nootropic and brain optimization sites. However, many neurohackers report that supplementing with DMAE has worked wonders for their brain.

So here I’ll try to clear up some of the confusion and misinformation surrounding DMAE as a nootropic supplement. And if adding DMAE to your stack makes sense.

DMAE helps:

  • Neuroprotection. DMAE helps eliminate lipofuscin and free radicals from brain cells.
  • Neurotransmitters. DMAE prevents choline uptake by cells forcing more free choline to be available in your system. And DMAE stimulates cholinergic receptors that may promote the use of acetylcholine (ACh) in your brain.
  • Mood. DMAE supplementation may improve mood and energy while influencing sleep patterns.


DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol, Deanol, Deaner) is an amine naturally produced in small amounts in your brain. High levels of DMAE are also found in seafood like anchovies and sardines.

DMAE chemical structure

Researchers have speculated that DMAE may increase acetylcholine (ACh) levels in the brain by inhibiting choline metabolism in peripheral tissues.

By preventing the use of choline by other tissues (including acetylcholine synthesis), DMAE increases choline levels in the bloodstream.[i]

Once DMAE crosses the blood-brain barrier, it increases choline levels in the brain. So with higher choline levels present, you would expect elevated levels of acetylcholine (ACh).

But research has shown this is not always what happens when DMAE gets to your brain. In one study DMAE was rapidly taken into the brain. But when it reached synapses – nothing happened. Choline levels rose but did not convert into acetylcholine.[ii]

What’s going on here? First, we must look at how acetylcholine (ACh) is made. ACh is synthesized in a single step reaction catalyzed by the enzyme choline acetyltransferase (ChAT).[iii] The rate-limiting steps in ACh synthesis are the availability of choline and Acetyl Coenzyme A (Acetyl-CoA).

The only other source of acetylcholine (ACh) is synthetization from phosphatidylcholine (PC) via phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyltransferase (PEMT).[iv] And this ACh synthesis only happens in cholinergic receptors.

So it would appear that DMAE cannot be converted to either choline or ACh. The only way DMAE can increase choline is by inhibiting choline metabolism.

And the reason why choline levels rise in the brain when supplementing with DMAE is because the choline does not synthesize into acetylcholine (ACh).[v]

So why do some neurohackers experience a benefit in increased focus, clearer cognition, and even an antidepressant effect with DMAE?

It could be that DMAE stimulates cholinergic receptors into taking action.[vi] And with extra choline floating around because of DMAE, these neuroreceptors may decide to produce some extra ACh.[vii]

DMAE may be useful to those dealing with a choline deficiency in the brain. And studies show that DMAE effectiveness in the brain depends on the health of the cholinergic system in your brain.[viii]

But as neurohackers we have more efficient options available for boosting acetylcholine in the brain. Centrophenoxine which is a combination of DMAE and cCPA (parachlorphenoxyacetic acid) seems to boost acetylcholine in the brain much more efficiently than DMAE.

DMAE as a nootropic protects brain health by reducing lipofuscin

How does DMAE Work in the Brain?

DMAE boosts brain function and health in several ways. But two in particular stand out.

  1. DMAE is a neuroprotectant. Lipofuscin is a cellular waste product that accumulates in nerve cells in the brain as we age. It’s the same waste product that causes brown spots on skin. Lipofuscin hides in cells throughout your body including your brain, eyes, liver, kidneys, heart, adrenals and nerve cells (neurons).

Neurohackers often report that supplementing with DMAE produces enhanced vision. This vision effect may be DMAE’s ability to help remove waste like lipofuscin from cells that affect vision.

This lipofuscin removal mechanism of action by DMAE has been shown in animal studies. Researchers used Centrophenoxine injections on 17-month old female mice. The animals were injected daily for 3 months.

The researchers studied changes in pigment layers of the retina of both eyes in the mice. And found there was significant reduction of lipofuscin pigment in the treated animals.[ix]

Centrophenoxine breaks down into DMAE once in your body. And it is the DMAE in this nootropic that provides the lipofuscin scavenger affects.

  1. DMAE enhances attention and mood. DMAE has been reported by some neurohackers to improve vigilance, attention, mood and energy while alleviating depression. A study by German researchers may explain where this feeling of well-being comes from when supplementing with DMAE.

This double-blind, placebo-controlled trial used 80 human subjects evenly split between male and female. The study analyzed their brain’s electrical reaction during the presentation of five 7-minute video clips followed by a 3-minute pause for each.

This procedure was repeated after 6 and 12 weeks of daily intake of DMAE or a placebo. The subjects taking DMAE for 3 months developed significantly less theta and alpha brain waves.

Decreases in theta and alpha brain waves have been associated with increased vigilance and attention. The subjects using DMAE were also more active and felt better.

The researchers concluded that DMAE can induce a state of better feeling of well-being.[x]

How things go badDMAE helps with sleep and promotes lucid dreaming

As we get older, our brain chemistry and energy metabolism changes.

Concentration, working memory and executive function decline

↓ Cholinergic receptors degenerate

↓ DMAE levels decline

↑ Lipofuscin and free radicals build up in brain cells

All of these age-related changes could be influenced by declining DMAE levels. And are contributing factors to neurodegenerative diseases and depression.

DMAE levels are an inevitable consequence of aging. And may contribute to the onset of degenerative disease.

DMAE benefits

DMAE increases choline levels in your brain. This increase in choline and DMAE’s ability to stimulate cholinergic receptors into action may lead to an increase in acetylcholine (ACh) levels.

But DMAE does not directly elevate acetylcholine levels in the brain. DMAE is NOT a precursor to acetylcholine.[xi]

Increased ACh levels affect learning and memory. ACh helps the encoding of memories and your ability to concentrate. As neurohackers, we absolutely want to increase acetylcholine levels. Especially if our brain is low on ACh.

But DMAE is not the best way to achieve the goal of elevated ACh levels.

Research into DMAE is ongoing and there may be some benefits to supplementing with DMAE not yet known by the neurohacking or research community.[xii]

DMAE has been used to treat a variety of conditions from cognitive disorders to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). DMAE is also used in skin care products to help reduce age spots, fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin appearance, and even reduce sagging skin.[xiii]

Free radicals can cause damage to DNA, upset cellular metabolism, and induce the creation of oxygen species that kill brain cells.[xiv] Some research has found that DMAE is a somewhat effective free radical scavenger.[xv]

DMAE has been found to diminish the extent of “cross-linking” of proteins that have been implicated in diseases like Alzheimer’s.[xvi] Researchers think this may be due to DMAE’s effectiveness as a free radical scavenger.[xvii]

DMAE is reported to induce lucid dreaming.[xviii]

How does DMAE feel?

Some neurohackers report that DMAE supplementation causes a noticeable boost in their ability to concentrate.

DMAE users often report:

Dosing more DMAE than recommended has been reported to make you feel edgy and tense. And you may experience muscles spasms, particularly in your shoulders and neck.

DMAE Nootropic boosts cognition

DMAE Clinical Research

Early DMAE Research

A prescription form of DMAE called Deaner or Deanol was in clinical use as far back as the 1960’s and 70’s. Deanol was used for the treatment of learning and behavioral problems associated with shortened attention span.

Two clinical trials conducted over 40 years ago proving the efficacy of using DMAE for treating what’s now known as ADHD are below.

But in 1983, the FDA in all their wisdom insisted on additional studies to prove the effectiveness of DMAE. And because clinical trials would have been costlier than product sales could support, the company making Deanol and Deaner took them off the market.

DMAE is now available as a nootropic supplement. One that your doctor or psychiatrist is unlikely to prescribe to you for treating your ADHD.

DMAE to Treat ADHD

One double-blind, placebo-controlled study compared the effects of DMAE supplementation with methylphenidate (Ritalin) for treating ADHD. 74 children diagnosed with learning problems and hyperactivity were referred to this study.

The children received 40 mg of Ritalin, 500 mg of DMAE or a placebo daily for 3 months. Behavior, reaction times and other psychometric tests were done before and after treatment.

Both ‘drugs’ proved to be effective according to several tests. The researchers concluded that DMAE supplementation significantly improved performance in children with learning and behavior disorders.[xix]

Another study conducted by Dr. Carl Pfeiffer of the Brain-Bio center in Princeton, New Jersey with 25 girls and 83 boys found similar results in using DMAE for treating ADHD.

In this study, Dr. Pfeiffer DMAE enhanced the behavior in 2/3 of the boys and 3/4 of the girls. Attention span was better, irritability and hyperactivity were decreased, scholastic ability improved and in some cases even IQ got a boost.[xx]

So if you’re ADHD, and using Ritalin or Adderall and looking for a natural alternative, you may want to try DMAE.

DMAE use in Cosmetics

Most of the research on DMAE in the 1950’s and 60’s centered around using this compound for cognitive function and human brain health.

The most recent research on DMAE is primarily for using the compound in skin cosmetic formulas. But too much DMAE may cause skin irritation.

DMAE has been shown to increase skin firmness even in young skin. One study with 30 healthy adults aged 36 – 49 applied DMAE gel or a placebo. The results of the study showed that DMAE-treated skin was much firmer.[xxi]

Another randomized clinical study used 3% DMAE facial gel applied daily for 16 weeks. The gel was able to reduce forehead lines, wrinkles around the eyes and improve lip shape and fullness. And the effects did not regress even 2-weeks after stopping application.

Another open-label extension of the same trial showed that long-term application of DMAE gel had a good safety profile.[xxii]

DMAE Supplements Dosage

Recommended dosage the dietary supplement DMAE is 100 – 200 mg per day.DMAE dosage

DMAE nootropic supplements are usually sold as DMAE bitartrate. A capsule of DMAE bitartrate is only 37% DMAE and the rest is 67% tartaric acid.

A 250 mg capsule of DMAE bitartrate yields 92.5 mg of actual DMAE.

Take your DMAE dose in the morning before or with breakfast. Dose DMAE a few times a week, but not every day.

If you are going to use DMAE, stack it with a good source of choline.  Remember that DMAE inhibits choline and metabolism of choline. And you absolutely need choline and the neurotransmitter acetylcholine for a fully optimized brain.

DMAE inhibits phospholipid synthesis. This means you won’t get much help with choline precursors. You need a good source of choline.

Without getting into a long explanation of the mechanics – Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline and Omega-3’s can help offset the damage caused by long-term DMAE use.

DMAE Side Effects

DMAE is considered non-toxic and safe for short-term or intermittent use. Your body naturally produces some DMAE on its own.

You shouldn’t experience any side effects as long as you use DMAE in recommended doses.

Some neurohackers report insomnia, headaches and muscle tension. Usually because the dose was too high.

If you have a negative reaction to DMAE stop using DMAE.

If you are planning on becoming pregnant do not use DMAE. Clinical studies have shown that DMAE may stunt the growth of the child’s brain.[xxiii]

If you have epilepsy or bipolar disorder you should avoid using DMAE entirely.

See “DMAE Supplements Dosage” about how to stack DMAE if you’re going to supplement with this nootropic.

Where to buy DMAE

DMAE is available in tablet, capsule, powder, liquid, creams and gels.

DMAE tablets and capsules are usually DMAE bitartrate (see “DMAE Supplements Dosage”) and 150 – 350 mg.

Depending on the size of capsule or tablet, do the conversion for pure DMAE, and start slowly with a low dose of 50 mg. And see how you respond.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you take DMAE before bed?

DMAE should be used earlier in the day for its mild stimulant effect. But many users also report better sleep and lucid dreams and there is scientific evidence to support this benefit.

Why is DMAE banned?

DMAE has not been ‘banned. But neither does it have FDA approval as a drug nor a supplement. In 1983 the FDA insisted that Riker Laboratories who were producing DMAE provide additional studies to prove the effectiveness of DMAE. And because clinical trials would have been costlier than product sales could support, the company making Deanol and Deaner took them off the market. Now DMAE is sold as a nootropic supplement.

Does taking DMAE cause anxiety?

Some neurohackers report insomnia, headaches and muscle tension when using DMAE. Usually because the dose was too high.

If you have a negative reaction like anxiety then you should stop using DMAE.

What is the best way to take DMAE?

Take your DMAE dose in the morning before or with breakfast. Dose DMAE a few times a week, but not every day. You should use CDP-Choline or Alpha GPC and a good Omega-3 to help offset any potential damage while using DMAE.

How long does it take for DMAE to start working?

DMAE should starting working soon after you take it. This nootropic does not require long-term use before experiencing DMAE benefits.

Nootropics Expert Recommendation

DMAE 100 – 200 mg per day

Nootropics Expert - Tested and Not ApprovedI do NOT recommend using DMAE as a nootropic supplement. But if you must use DMAE, refer to the “DMAE Supplements Dosage” and “DMAE Side Effects” in this review.

Your body does make some DMAE on its own. But DMAE production inevitably declines with age.

Some neurohackers report that a DMAE supplement has a significant effect on concentration, memory, alertness, focus and mental clarity.

But here at Nootropics Expert, I feel there are much more effective and safe ways to improve alertness, concentration, focus, and memory.

If you’re going to use DMAE, start with 50 mg of DMAE per day. And see how you feel. Increase the dose no more than 50 mg at a time.

And watch for side effects. Don’t forget to cycle it. Take it for a few days and take a couple of days off.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may also contain other affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

[i] Haubrich D.R., Gerber N.H., Pflueger A.B. “Deanol affects choline metabolism in peripheral tissues of mice.” Journal of Neurochemistry. 1981 Aug;37(2):476-82. (source)

[ii] Jope R.S., Jenden D.J. “Dimethylaminoethanol (deanol) metabolism in rat brain and its effect on acetylcholine synthesis.” Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 1979 Dec;211(3):472-9. (source)

[iii] Zeisel S.H. “Choline: Critical Role During Fetal Development and Dietary Requirements in Adults” Annual Review of Nutrition. 2006; 26: 229–250. (source)

[iv] Waymiare J.C. “Chapter 11: Acetylcholine Neurotransmission” The UT Medical School at Houston (source)

[v] Millington W.R., McCall A.L., Wurtman R.J. “Deanol acetamidobenzoate inhibits the blood-brain barrier transport of choline.” Annals of Neurology. 1978 Oct;4(4):302-6. (source)

[vi] Kostopoulos G.K., Phillis J.W. “The effects of dimethylaminoethanol (deanol) on cerebral cortical neurons.” Psychopharmacology Communications. 1975;1(3):339-47. (source)

[vii] Haubrich D.R., Gerber N.H., Pflueger A.B. “Deanol affects choline metabolism in peripheral tissues of mice.” Journal of Neurochemistry. 1981 Aug;37(2):476-82. (source)

[viii] Russell R.W., Jenden D.J. “Behavioral effects of deanol, of hemicholinium and of their interaction.” Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior. 1981 Aug;15(2):285-8. (source)

[ix] Dylewski D.P., Nandy S., Nandy K. “Effects of centrophenoxine on lipofuscin in the retinal pigment epithelium of old mice.” Neurobiology of Aging. 1983 Spring;4(1):89-95. (source)

[x] Dimpfel W., Wedekind W., Keplinger I. “Efficacy of dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) containing vitamin-mineral drug combination on EEG patterns in the presence of different emotional states.” European Journal of Medical Research. 2003 May 30;8(5):183-91. (source)

[xi] Zahniser N.R., Chou D., Hanin I. “Is 2-dimethylaminoethanol (deanol) indeed a precursor of brain acetylcholine? A gas chromatographic evaluation.” Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapy. 1977 Mar;200(3):545-59. (source)

[xii] Lewis J.A., Lewis B.S. “Deanol in minimal brain dysfunction.”Diseases of the Nervous System. 1977 Dec;38(12 Pt 2):21-4. (source)

[xiii] Grossman R. “The role of dimethylaminoethanol in cosmetic dermatology.” American Journal of Clinical Dermatology. 2005;6(1):39-47. (source)

[xiv] Siesjö B.K., Agardh C.D., Bengtsson F. “Free radicals and brain damage.” Cerebrovascular and Brain Metabolism Reviews. 1989 Fall;1(3):165-211. (source)

[xv] Malanga G., Aguiar M.B., Martinez H.D., Puntarulo S. “New insights on dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) features as a free radical scavenger.”Drug Metabolism Letters. 2012 Mar;6(1):54-9. (source)

[xvi] Nagy I., Nagy K. “On the role of cross-linking of cellular proteins in aging.” Mechanisms of Ageing and Development. 1980 Sep-Oct;14(1-2):245-51. (source)

[xvii] Nagy I., Floyd R.A. “Electron spin resonance spectroscopic demonstration of the hydroxyl free radical scavenger properties of dimethylaminoethanol in spin trapping experiments confirming the molecular basis for the biological effects of centrophenoxine.” Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics. 1984 Dec;3(4):297-310 (source)

[xviii] Sergio W. “Use of DMAE (2-dimethylaminoethanol) in the induction of lucid dreams.” Medical Hypotheses. 1988 Aug;26(4):255-7. (source)

[xix] Lewis J.A, Young R. “Deanol and methylphenidate in minimal brain dysfunction.” Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 1975 May;17(5):534-40. (source)

[xx] PFEIFFER C.C., JENNEY E.H., GALLAGHER W., SMITH R.P., BEVAN W. Jr., KILLAM K.F., KILLAM E.K., BLACKMORE W. “Stimulant effect of 2-dimethylaminoethanol; possible precursor of brain acetylcholine.”Science. 1957 Sep 27;126(3274):610-1. (source)

[xxi] Uhoda I., Faska N., Robert C., Cauwenbergh G., Piérard G.E. “Split face study on the cutaneous tensile effect of 2-dimethylaminoethanol (deanol) gel.” Skin Research and Technology. 2002 Aug;8(3):164-7. (source)

[xxii] Grossman R. “The role of dimethylaminoethanol in cosmetic dermatology.” American Journal of Clinical Dermatology. 2005;6(1):39-47. (source)

[xxiii] Fisher M.C., Zeisel S.H., Mar M.H., Sadler T.W. “Inhibitors of choline uptake and metabolism cause developmental abnormalities in neurulating mouse embryos.” Teratology. 2001 Aug;64(2):114-22. (source)

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Join The Discussion - 157 comments

November 24, 2020

Hi David, what do you think of cholinesterase inhibitors? Is it beneficial to the body in long term?

    David Tomen
    November 24, 2020

    Jason, only if you need more acetylcholine. I think there is short-term benefit to using them sometimes. But keep in mind that there are potent prescription drugs that are acetylcholinesterase inhibitors to treat Alzheimer’s patients.

    Seems to me a better choice is to just increase acetylcholine as needed with something like Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline. It’s more predictable and reliable.

Tammo Brinkhorst
November 14, 2020

Hi David, what is the half life time of DMAE? I used 2 supplements of 500 mg to start (far to high as it seemed to be for me) and now 6 days later i still suffer from the effects.

    David Tomen
    November 14, 2020

    Tammo, the half-life of DMAE seems to be around 4 hrs. if taken internally and up to 30 hrs. if used on your skin (

    Best way to recover I think is with 300 mg Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline twice per day until you’re feeling better.

      Tammo Brinkhorst
      November 21, 2020

      Dear David,
      I used DMAE 12 days ago. I have taken it orally. However i still feel little noticable effects. How long does it take untill its fully degraded? I use vitamin B12 and B5, Choline and Gingko to speed up the proces. Do you have other tips how its degraded quicker.

      Let me know.

      Tammo Brinkhorst

        David Tomen
        November 23, 2020

        Tammo, DMAE has a half-life when taken orally of about 3 – 4 hrs. Which means it has completely left your system within 8 hours.

        Learn how DMAE works in your brain. Because since DMAE forces your cells to release more choline then using a Choline supplement to mitigate the effects you’re talking about is not a good idea.

        The only way to efficiently ‘use up’ lots of acetylcholine within a few hours is using one of the racetams. Like Aniracetam.

August 14, 2020

“And the reason why choline levels rise in the brain when supplementing with DMAE is because the choline does not synthesize into acetylcholine (ACh)”

“It could be that DMAE stimulates cholinergic receptors into taking action.[vi] And with extra choline floating around because of DMAE, these neuroreceptors may decide to produce some extra ACh.[vii]”

First you said DMAE doesn’t convert choline to ACh, then you
said DMAE stimulates cholinergic receptors to produce extra ACh. Im confused.

    David Tomen
    August 14, 2020

    Jason, it is confusing. DMAE does not and cannot provide a choline molecule to contribute to the synthesis of acetylcholine. It’s physically not possible because that’s not the way it works.

    DMAE inhibits choline metabolism in peripheral tissues which forces more choline into the bloodstream. Once that choline makes it to your brain it may contribute to the synthesis of acetylcholine.

    DMAE is valuable for some things but not for making acetylcholine. If you’re looking for a supplement to boost acetylcholine in your brain, use a direct precursor like Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline.

    But DMAE is great for reducing age spots, fine lines and wrinkles, and even sagging skin. And it seems to be a somewhat effective free radical scavenger.

      August 17, 2020

      Hi David, thanks for the explanation.

      I really love DMAE it gives me focus which I lack and it starts to work within 30mins. When I can’t focus, my psychosis would get worse.

      It’s a good thing I came across your website, so I know I need to supplement my body with Choline when I take DMAE.

      I intend to get CDP-Choline.

      I sleep 11 hours a day and I still feel tired.

      Could you recommend supplement for psychosis?

      Right now Im taking Lithium orotate 5mg, B complex, Beta Alanine (1/4 tsp), vitamin C, vitamin D3, zinc, Magnesium glycinate, Ginkgo biloba, Glutathione and ofc DMAE.

        David Tomen
        August 17, 2020

        Jason, one of the only other nootropics shown to be effective for psychosis is CBD Oil:

        Fatigue can be caused by so many different things. The most fundamental source of energy your body produces comes from ATP synthesized in mitochondria. So one of the first things I’d suggest trying is supporting you mitochondrial energy production. Which is explained here:

        August 17, 2020

        Thank you David for the link on energy. Im thinking of getting PQQ for energy.

        David Tomen
        August 17, 2020

        Jason, PQQ stacks really well with CoQ10. They work together for energy production. Or save yourself some time and money with a stack I find effective for pure, clean energy and that’s Performance Lab Energy. It does what they advertise.

        August 18, 2020

        Hi David I can’t find Alpha GPC or CDP Choline locally, I brought Lecithin 1200 Plus With Chromium Picolinate, (Phosphatidyl Choline 420 mg) is it ok? I take DMAE 100mg/day.

        David Tomen
        August 19, 2020

        Jason, phosphatidylcholine is one way to boost acetylcholine. But it’s not the best way. You can use other choline supplements as well. Here’s a link that include two others you may want to try:

August 14, 2020

You don’t recommend DMAE, what is your recommendation?

    David Tomen
    August 14, 2020

    Jason, for increasing acetylcholine I recommend either Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline.

August 4, 2020

DMAE side effect. Lucid dreaming noted by one researcher. In my case it was lucid nightmares.

June 25, 2020

Hey David – I’m just recently getting into the nootropics world but I’ve noticed a substantial “clarity of mind” so to speak when adding DMAE to my stack.

About 8+ years ago I was diagnosed with ADHD and around that same time discovered a multivitamin with more or less a nootropic stack as part of the “Energy” portion of the multi. The stack is as follows:
Coffea Robusta Seed Extract
DMAE Bitartrate
Phenylethylamine HCl
Siberian Ginseng Root Extract
Huperzia Serrata Extract

This multi has since been taken off the shelves as the company who sold it, Complete Nutrition, regularly cycles these things in and out. I’ve done my best to re-create the stack as for years it actually worked really well when taking both the vita-pack as well as my daily 10mg of Daytrana (Methylphenidate)

I’m reading in here that I should potentially add some additional CDP Choline to help supplement the choline my brain is currently producing but I wanted to ask you if there is anything else I should be doing? Is this a safe stack? Should I be concerned with intake levels in any of these substances? At the moment I am more or less just taking the recommended doses or lower for each of the listed substances along with a multivitamin. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts!

    David Tomen
    June 27, 2020

    Parker, CDP-Choline is a great idea because the ADHD brain has problems with dopamine and the way it’s used. And brain cell signalling. The latter is dependent on acetylcholine which is made using either CDP-Choline, ALCAR (cofactor) and the B-Complex vitamins.

    DMAE and Huperzia Serrata Extract require more acetylcholine as well. I recommend you only use Huperzia once very 2 – 3 days because of its long half-life. Using it every day and your body can’t get rid of it fast enough to be safe long-term.

    And last thing … the caffeine you’re using demands more dopamine which you’ve got covered. But it also depletes the B-Vitamins and it forces your adrenals to put out excess cortisol. You can bring cortisol under control by using L-Theanine.

    So what you’re using is safe but would be better with CDP-Choline, ALCAR, B-Complex and L-Theanine.

May 1, 2020

Hi David,

Just to clarify – there is no need to cycle DMAE (351 mg bitartrate = 130 mg DMAE per day) when taking Alpha GPC (300 mg twice a day)? Purpose of supplementing with DMAE is to help with lipofuscin excess caused by L-Carnosine (2 x 500 mg daily). I mean long term (years) use.

Also, is supplementing with ALCAR necessary or is DMAE sufficient?



    David Tomen
    May 1, 2020

    Darek, Phosphatidylcholine (PC) or CDP-Choline and Omega-3’s can help offset the damage caused by long-term DMAE use. Alpha GPC may replace CDP-Choline too but I haven’t seen any evidence of this.

    ALCAR is a completely different nootropic with a distinct mechanism of action. And is a required cofactor in the synthesis of acetylcholine.

      May 1, 2020

      Thank you.

March 24, 2020

hi David just watch your video on dma I don’t know if I quite understand it and I read a few articles recently contrary to what you said so I just wanted to clear the air in layman’s terms in a few sentences can you tell me what it does one thing that I read is that dma dmae could be a, is this true I take GPC but I’m going back to have a pretty good job. I’m going back to school as well so I’m on a budget therefore I’ll still take still take GPC what if I took it instead of taking two of those a day if I took it with bitartrate or dmae if it is a cholinergic are there any other budget supplement you can really recommend that actually work I’m a low-energy person by nature because there’s two things I need to mention about my bring emmylou energy person because I don’t drink coffee and I never took caffeine in my life secondly I am diagnosed with general anxiety disorder so I take a medication you know associated with that and you can imagine the primary ones and I know those really mess with your color there’s a signaling so I do find myself pretty forgetful if I don’t take some new pepper or something everyday but that’s getting a little bit pricey and I can’t take it I used to take two or three doses a day even if I couldn’t sleep well now I’ll take one I watch all your videos and the best nootropics ones however as stacks for energy and mental focus could you please clarify is dmae a cholinergic or not and how car is that a cholinergic what does it do

    David Tomen
    March 24, 2020

    Kristian, DMAE works by preventing the use of choline by other tissues (including synthesis into acetylcholine), which in turn increases choline levels in the bloodstream. But research shows it does not increase acetylcholine levels as you would expect.

    If you are trying to increase acetylcholine for better learning and memory I suggest using something like Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline instead.

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