Could DMAE Help You Lose Weight?

Could DMAE Help You Lose Weight?

You’ve planned your exercise program and your diet is nailed on. You’re ready to give this diet everything and all that’s left is to add the finishing touch – a good, high-quality fat burner supplement.

But with so many supplements to choose from though, it can be difficult to know which one will suit you best. Manufacturers make grand claims but the results don’t always back them up.

In this article we’ll take a look at the popular beauty product DMAE. It’s used in weight loss products but does it do the job? Or is it just another supplement that makes promises that just don’t deliver?

Let’s find out…

What is DMAE?

Dimethylaminoethanol or DMAE is used primarily in the health and beauty industry to help tighten and tone the skin. It is used in many topical skincare products that promise anti-ageing benefits.

It’s main role is that it may reduce skin inflammation and blemishes by reducing the build up of the aging pigment beta-amyloid.

DMAE is structurally similar to choline – a vitamin that helps to regulate liver function, brain development and metabolism. You’ll find it in oily fish such as salmon, sardines and anchovies and small amounts are produced in the brain. This means it isn’t an essential nutrient.

Choline acetyltransferase is an enzyme that helps choline attach to acetic acid to form acetylcholine. Although the biochemistry is complicated, all you need to know here is that acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter responsible for modulating your nervous system. It activates muscles and controls unconscious functions such as heart rate, breathing and blood pressure.

Dimethylaminoethanol as a Cognitive Enhancer

DMAE is a building block of acetylcholine meaning it is vital for its production. The structure of dimethylaminoethanol lets it cross the blood-brain barrier easily – it has less methyl molecules attached to it meaning it passes into the brain’s own circulatory system with less effort than choline.

As a supplement, DMAE is claimed to improve cognition – the process of acquiring knowledge, learning and memory.

Bear with us here but the reason why is that DMAE may enhance the cholinergic system and production of acetylcholine. This in turn means that it optimizes the learning and memory function of the nervous system – the result is better cognition.

DMAE is also said to enhance stimulation of glucose uptake, oxygen consumption and energy metabolism in the brain.

There’s limited evidence though

It’s worth noting that there isn’t much (if any) actual clinical research to back this up. A study from the Journal of Neurochemistry [1] found that whilst DMAE does enhance acetylcholine levels, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it makes it more bioavailable.

Based on theories, doses between 150 and 2000 mg per day could improve cognition and for that reason you’ll find DMAE as an ingredient in a number of nootropics. These are supplements that claim to enhance brain function. You could find anything between these dosing ranges dependant on which supplement you choose.

Studies in those with cognitive decline haven’t seen any benefits though, even with doses of 1,500 mg over 24-weeks [2].

Key Point: DMAE may enhance memory, improve concentration and increase circulation within the brain.

Does DMAE Cause Weight Loss?

The theory is that as a precursor to acetylcholine, DMAE may help you to lose weight. But the justification behind this link is quite poor and only hypothetical.

As a supplement that supposedly enhances concentration and reduces erratic behaviour, DMAE is said to help weight loss by reducing the chances of binge eating. There is absolutely no science to back this up though other than some research showing DMAE can enhance feelings of well-being [3].

Other, more widely-researched nutrients such as glucomannan are more effective at reducing overeating as they make you feel fuller for longer which in turn reduces calorie intake.

Manufacturers claim that dimethylaminoethanol can boost acetlycholine levels. This is their main reason why it helps with weight loss. At no point though is there any explanation or justification as to why. You don’t really need concentration to peak in order to burn fat – you need focus, drive and motivation. These are different characteristics altogether.

Could it help in any way?

The only way that this compound might help with weight loss is that it could give you a bit of an energy boost. This in theory could help you exercise harder and burn more calories. But even then the link is tentative as there is still not enough evidence to suggest that this even happens.

There could be a small argument in favour of DMAE for skin tone. If you are losing weight you want to keep your skin tight as your body fat comes down, and therefore DMAE could be useful. That’s very much clutching at straws though, and as long as weight loss is gradual you don’t need to worry about saggy skin anyway.

Key Point: There is no evidence that DMAE will help you lose weight.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Not only is DMAE an ineffective fat burner, it may also result in side effects.

You may experience headaches, insomnia and excitation in large doses – much like having a few too many coffees. DMAE can provoke some pretty lucid dreams too which may result in insomnia or a bad nights’ sleep.

Other side effects include headaches, manic episodes, constipation, increased blood pressure or bloating of the stomach.

Those with epilepsy, manic depression or bipolar disease should avoid dimethylaminoethanol altogether due to its mood changing effect. In those with mental disorders, DMAE could increase the symptoms of schizophrenia too as it can directly interact with anti-psychosis medications.

DMAE may also increase the chances of teratogenesis meaning it could increase the risk of birth defects if you take it during pregnancy.

Summary – DMAE and Weight Loss

If you are considering using DMAE as a topical skin toner or cognitive booster then you’d be better off looking elsewhere. There isn’t much evidence at all to suggest that it’ll work.

For weight loss we recommend using high-quality product instead – one that is more scientifically tested. There is absolutely no evidence at all that dimethylaminoethanol works. The tentative links between acetlycholine production and improvements in body composition are just non-existent.

We suggest that instead of a dimethylaminoethanol-based supplement, you focus your attention on a supplement that uses clinically tested ingredients and from a trusted brand.



  1. Dahlberg, GCL. Effects of 2-dimethylaminoethanol (deanol) on the metabolism of choline in plasma. J Neurochem. 1978; 30(6): 1293-1296
  2. Dubois, B et al. Effect of six months of treatment with V0191 in patients with suspected prodromal Alzheimer’s disease. J Alzheimers Dis. 2012; 29(3): 527-35
  3. Dimpfel, W et al. Efficacy of dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) containing vitamin-mineral drug combination on EEG patterns in the presence of different emotional states. Eur J Med Res. 2003 30; 8(5): 183-91