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DMAE: Life Shortener?

An excerpt from The Doctors' Vitamin and Mineral Encyclopedia
by Sheldon Saul Hendler


"Deaner" and "Deanol" were the registered names of prescription drugs that contain dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE), thought to be a precursor of acetylcholine. Like choline, DMAE has been used to treat various disorders of the nervous system. It appears to have a beneficial role in the treatment of tardive dyskinesia and Huntington's chorea. There is no support, however, for recent claims that DMAE is a potent life extender that might benefit the general population. The life spans of some animals were reported to have been extended through DMAE supplementation, but a more recent study not only failed to confirm this, but found the opposite to be true. Deanol-treated animals actually had shorter life spans than control animals that did not receive this substance. Some have noted the relationship of DMAE to Gerovital H3, one of the breakdown products of which is diethylaminoethanol (DEAE), a close chemical relative. If DMAE has any efficacy at all it appears likely that this is due to its role as a choline precursor in the liver. The choline synthesized in the liver from DMAE can go to the brain via the blood and may play a role in the regulation of acetylcholine there. No such role can be conceived of for DEAE. Deaner is no longer a prescription drug and is now sold in some health food stores. It certainly should not be used as a dietary supplement, as some "life extension" enthusiasts have suggested.