One of the traits that make humans stand out from all of the other living creatures is our ability to improve our environment and ourselves through reasoning and through the use of tools. And the actual improvement of our brain’s functioning – through enhanced memory, focus and cognitive abilities – is no exception. Today we are realizing that there are compounds occurring in nature or created in the laboratory that can help us focus, learn, have clarity in our ideas and even stop the natural degradation of our most complex and amazing organ. We can use a knowledge of nature and chemistry to build a better brain and more agile mind. [This article, “7 Amazing Brain and Neurological Benefits of DMAE – A Powerhouse Nootropic” was originally published in HealthXWire]
One compound that is taking a key role on the cognitive enhancement and neurohacking front is DMAE, a common acronym for dimethylaminoethanol, dimethylethanolamine, or Deanol, which has been shown to offer significant benefits for several different brain activities. Let’s explore these benefits and find out the best way to add this natural nootropic to our supplement regimen or our neurohacking stack.
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Already in our brains: An endogenous chemical
First, what is a nootropic and why is DMAE in that category? Nootropic is the name given to various foods, medicines, food supplements, nutraceuticals, etc., that have an enhancing effect on the functions and activities of our brain, such as memory, concentration, creativity, attention, learning, and other cognitive and recognition or processing activities. They work through the activation of neurotransmitter and neuroprotective agents in ways that are evident to science or, in some circumstances, are still a mystery waiting to be unveiled.
DMAE is a nootropic that our brain produces naturally in small amounts and is part of the nervous system that coordinates sensory information in our body. This compound can also be found occurring in nature in small or medium-sized fish, such as anchovies, sardines, and salmon, which makes DMAE available in products derived from these animals. On the market, there are also products made with synthetic versions of DMAE with an identical molecular structure but that are not extracted from animals, so these fall into the vegan category of supplements.
This nootropic is classified as a brain function enhancer because it is presumed that it stimulates the production of acetylcholine, a key chemical in the communication system of nerve cells, hence the possibilities of DMAE in the treatment of cognitive disorders. The first studies around DMAE date back to the middle of the 20th century and today it can be consumed either as a single ingredient or as part of a combined formulation in over-the-counter food supplements available in many online and brick-and-mortar stores selling health and nutrition products.
This powerful nootropic has been shown to have benefits and positive effects on key functions of our life and personal development, as well as potential in treatments that are still in the experimental phase. Let’s see some of the benefits of DMAE for our brain and cognitive functions.
DMAE improves our mood and outlook
A study carried out by German scientists published by Europe PMC that analyzed over three months the impact of DMAE on encephalographic (EEG) patterns during different emotional states among active consumers detected a psychophysiological state of a better sense of well-being and improvements in mood among participants who received daily doses of DMAE. This means that the consumption of DMAE can benefit our mood and help us to have a more positive perspective on the situations that we face in our lives on a day-to-day basis.
DMAE it is a potent neuroprotective agent
When we talk about what is inside our brains, we usually talk a lot about neurons, the nerve cells responsible for receiving outside sensory information, sending commands to our muscles, and transmitting the electric signals that shape what we know as the mind, but neurons are not the only protagonists in the magnificent setting of our brain and its intricate workings.
The brain, as well as the entire central nervous system, is a complex ecosystem made up of neurons, substances, signals, and information. Some of these elements are biological residues of natural processes that, when accumulated, can cause damage to neurons, deteriorating them, such as lipofuscin and free radicals. This is where DMAE comes in to protect neurons by helping to remove these agents from brain cells. In other words, DMAE helps us eliminate molecules that can be harmful to the proper development and ongoing operation of our brains.
DMAE stimulates our neurotransmitters
Another benefit that DMAE can give us is that it stimulates neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that work in our brain. Roughly stated, if we didn’t have neurotransmitters working for us, none of us would be smarter than a houseplant. A neurotransmitter influences a neuron in one of three ways: excitatory, inhibitory, or modulatory. And according to a clinical article on neurotransmitters, “their job is to carry chemical signals (“messages”) from one neuron (nerve cell) to the next target cell. The next target cell can be another nerve cell, a muscle cell, or a gland.”
Within this cellular information exchange system, DMAE has been identified to increase the production of acetylcholine, considered a “chief neurotransmitter” that accumulates in neurons, helping us to have better neuronal and cellular communication in our brains and bodies.
DMAE increases our ability to concentrate and allows us to focus better
Concentration is the ability to focus on one particular idea or task. Related to the previously mentioned benefits, one effect of consuming DMAE is to obtain a greater capacity for concentration and focus, something that for many people is the main objective in the use of natural nootropics. That is why most of the food supplements that contain DMAE available on the market promote this particular benefit because having an enhanced ability to concentrate and truly focus when performing any activity is one of the most readily noticeable and easily identifiable effects.
DMAE is an ally for mental clarity and learning
DMAE consumption is also associated with states of mind in which we have mental clarity (as differentiated from concentration), something that can be achieved through various routes, such as nootropics, breathing exercises, and meditation. Lack of mental clarity can manifest itself as a fog that gets in the way of our ideas and intrudes upon things we want to do with distractions and worries. And this can lead to confusion, a failure to express thoughts orally or in writing, or a failure to complete important tasks.
As a natural neuroprotector and stimulant of neuronal communication, DMAE can be a key contributor to achieving mental clarity in the different tasks of our lives and help us gain understanding and learning in subjects that tend to be more complex.
DMAE helps to prevent brain disorders
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are neurodegenerative disorders that affect the lives of many people in the world. Alzheimer’s disease usually develops in adulthood and is most common in men and women over 65 years of age. It is defined by the destruction of nerve cells and neural connections in the cerebral cortex.
This disease, commonly identified for causing severe short-term memory loss was first described just over a century ago by the German neuropathologist Alois Alzheimer, and today is considered the most common form of dementia in the elderly. It is estimated that by 2030 there will be more than 75 million people with Alzheimer’s disease worldwide, which is why scientific research is actively and aggressively being carried out in different branches of the healthcare field to try to prevent and counteract it, and, in the best possible scenario, find some means of curing it outright.
In this race to combat and prevent Alzheimer’s disease, DMAE is a compound that is being investigated to evaluate its potential therapeutic use against cognitive deficiencies and as a neuroprotector in cases of memory deficits.
A 2009 study made with rats found that DMAE reduced the harmful effect of scopolamine on long-term memory and suggested that DMAE might be effective in reducing memory deficits in patients with cognitive impairment. The foregoing gives us a clue that the ability of DMAE to combat memory loss could be a key element in future developments of treatments and therapies to treat diseases related to cognitive impairment which are similar causally or symptomatically to Alzheimer’s.
DMAE reduces hyperactivity
DMAE has also been evaluated as an alternative in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD, a neurodevelopmental disorder that manifests itself in children and whose most common symptoms, according to the CDC, are problems paying attention, lack of control over impulsive behaviors and hyperactivity.
For fifty years, studies have been carried out on the use of DMAE in children with ADHD. An investigation carried out in 1975 analyzed the effectiveness of DMAE in children diagnosed with ADHD and found that it was as effective as Ritalin, but although there is evidence that the use of DMAE can be effective against this type of disorder, more evidence and research is still needed.
DMAE is great for your brain… and your skin
Another benefit associated with the consumption of DMAE has nothing to do with brain function, but it has to do instead with our largest organ: the skin. The use of DMAE through the skin has been shown to have antioxidant effects in strengthening collagen fibers and skin hydration, which is why it is included as an ingredient in anti-aging products to combat the appearance of wrinkles, thick skin, and inflammation.
Although there are over-the-counter cosmetic products for use on the skin, there is still not enough data on the side effects that DMAE may cause when applied to the skin, so it is recommended to consult a dermatologist before applying it topically.
Science is just starting to realize all of DMAE’s potential benefits
Research about the medicinal and therapeutic use of DMAE to treat neurodegenerative diseases began three-quarters of a century ago, but the path to discovering, with certainty, all the benefits of this amazing compound is just at its beginning.
As with all significant advances in medicine and science, it may take years to know the extent of the impact of DMAE in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease or its effectiveness in treating children with ADHD and hyperactivity. It is also necessary to analyze the data on the possible side effects that DMAE can cause in the human body, something that has not yet been adequately detailed.
What we do know today is the potential that DMAE has as an a tried-and-true nootropic to safely bring benefits to our fundamental cognitive functions such as memory, mental clarity, learning and good mood for a better quality of life.
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Important Note: The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as health or medical advice, nor is it intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease or health condition. Before embarking on any diet or program of nutritional supplementation, it is advisable to consult your healthcare professional in order to determine its safety and probable efficacy in terms of your individual state of health.