The Natural Way

Thursday, July 4, 2002

What a problem, how do you make a supplement sound interesting when it has more science than character?

This one is called DMAE and is short for 2-dimethylaminoethanol. Not a very sexy label. Still it is a natural product (often from fish) and it is useful especially for people who are prone to age spots and who want to keep mental sharpness.

Age spots are also known as liver spots. These are those rather large brown spots on the hands, forearms, neck and face which look like freckles on steroids! Most of the time, fade creams are used to gently reduce the coloration over time. The best fade creams contain glycolic acid. Well, there is some evidence proving DMAE, when taken in small amounts daily, will stabilize skin membranes so the culprit which causes the age spot (lipofuscin) can't collect very well. It seems prevention of liver (age) spots is the benefit of supplementing with DMAE.

Additionally, there is a mountain of anecdotal evidence supporting the use of DMAE for improving cognitive function. Many people use it for this purpose and love it for what it does. DMAE is a chemical naturally produced in the human brain. It is thought to be used by the body in converting choline to the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. This is the basis for thinking that supplementing will enhance brain activity.

The popularity of DMAE hit a peak a while back when Dr. Nicholas Perricone, M.D., published his top selling book, "The Wrinkle Cure." In the book he promotes supplementing with DMAE as a treatment for reducing wrinkles. Can it do this? I'm not sure. Prevention is so hard to prove. It does stabilize the cell membranes, so you would think it would certainly benefit tissue throughout the body including skin.

Other claims include weight loss (can't verify this one), alleviation of Attention Deficit Disorder (maybe) and induction of lucid dreams (many people report it but this has not been studied).

Seems like a small amount each day is what most folks use, such as 100 mg with or without food for any use. The proof is always in the use and is often different for different people. As far as we know this one can't harm you.

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