DMAA vs DMAE: What's The Difference?

by Nader Qudimat
Updated July 17, 2023

DMAE and DMAA are two acronyms that sound similar but represent two very different substances.

This article'll dive into these substances' benefits, potential side effects, and how they compare.

Quick Summary: DMAE vs. DMAA At A Glance

DMAE, or dimethylaminoethanol, is a compound found in various skincare products and has been studied for its potential benefits in mental health conditions.

On the other hand, DMAA, or 1,3-dimethylamylamine, is a dietary supplement ingredient often used in sports nutrition products for its stimulant effects.

What Is DMAE?

Dimethylaminoethanol, or DMAE, is a compound known as a mind health compound.

It does this by reducing the buildup of what is known as the 'age pigment,' which impairs cognitive function and is implicated in cognitive decline with age.

It can increase levels of the compound involved with memory, acetylcholine.

It's been shown to reduce the buildup of the 'age pigment,' beta-amyloid, a compound implicated in brain aging.

Uses Of DMAE

DMAE has been studied for its potential benefits in various areas, including skincare and mental health.

DMAE In Skincare Products

DMAE is often used in skincare due to its potential anti-aging benefits.

It's believed to help tighten and smooth the skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

DMAE For Mental Health Conditions

Beyond skincare, DMAE has also been studied for its potential benefits in mental health conditions.

Some research suggests that it may help improve mood and mental clarity, making it a topic of interest in studying depression, ADHD, Alzheimer's disease, autism, and other conditions.

Benefits Of DMAE

  • Memory Improvement: DMAE is used in many health supplements to improve memory and cognitive abilities. In a 2009 study, mice with memory deficits induced by scopolamine were put through a maze test. The mice that were given DMAE significantly improved their memory and learning abilities.
  • Increased Physical Energy: Some users of DMAE report increased energy, particularly in physical stamina and endurance. However, these effects are not as widely studied and are more anecdotal.
  • Improved Mood/Reduced Depression: DMAE may have mood-enhancing properties due to its ability to influence neurotransmitters. Some users report general well-being and reduced depressive symptoms when taking DMAE.

Side Effects Of DMAE

Like any supplement, DMAE can have side effects.

These are generally mild and go away independently, but it's important to be aware of them. Some potential side effects include:

  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Some people may experience gastrointestinal issues such as constipation, bloating, or an upset stomach.
  • Headaches: Some users report headaches after taking DMAE. This side effect is generally mild and goes away on its own.
  • Insomnia: Because DMAE can increase energy levels, it may cause difficulty sleeping in some people, especially if taken later in the day.
  • High Blood Pressure: There have been reports of increased blood pressure in people taking DMAE. If you have high blood pressure or other cardiovascular issues, it's important to talk to your doctor before starting DMAE.

What Is DMAA?

DMAA, or 1,3-dimethylamylamine, is a potent central nervous system stimulant often found in pre-workout supplements and fat burners.

It's known for its ability to increase energy, focus, and endurance, making it a favorite among athletes and bodybuilders.

However, DMAA is not without its controversies.

It has been linked to serious health risks, including heart attacks and strokes.

The FDA has issued warnings about its use, and it's banned in several countries.

Read more about the safety, benefits and side effects of DMAA here.

Benefits Of DMAA

The primary benefit of DMAA is its ability to enhance physical performance.

It does this by increasing the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in motivation, pleasure, and motor control.

This can lead to improved focus, energy, and endurance during workouts.

In addition to its performance-enhancing effects, DMAA can also aid in weight loss.

It has thermogenic properties, meaning it can increase your body's metabolism and fat-burning potential. This makes it a popular ingredient in many fat burners.

However, it's important to note that while these benefits can be appealing, they come with significant risks.

The use of DMAA has been linked to serious health problems, including heart attacks and strokes.

As such, it should be used with caution and under the supervision of a healthcare professional.

Side Effects Of DMAA

While DMAA can provide significant performance-enhancing benefits, it also has many potential side effects. These can range from mild to severe and can include:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure: DMAA stimulates the nervous system, which can increase heart rate and blood pressure. This can be dangerous, particularly for individuals with pre-existing heart conditions.
  • Nervousness and anxiety: Some users feel jittery or anxious after taking DMAA. This is likely due to its stimulant effects.
  • Difficulty sleeping: DMAA can interfere with sleep patterns if taken later in the day because of its stimulant properties.
  • More serious health risks: In some cases, DMAA use has been linked to serious health problems, including heart attacks and strokes. These risks appear to be higher in individuals with pre-existing health conditions and those who use DMAA in high doses or for extended periods.

It's important to note that while these side effects are potential risks, they do not occur in all users.

However, given the serious nature of some of these risks, it's recommended that DMAA be used with caution and under the supervision of a healthcare professional.

Recommended: The Safest FDA-Approved Pre-Workouts

Benefits Of DMAA

Despite its controversial status, DMAA has been used for its potential benefits in enhancing workout performance and promoting weight loss.

DMAA For Energy And Alertness

One of the main reasons people turn to DMAA is for its energy-boosting effects.

It's known to increase alertness and provide energy, which can be particularly beneficial during a tough workout.

Side Effects And Precautions Of DMAA

While DMAA may have some potential benefits, it also has several side effects and risks.

It's important to be aware of these before deciding to use DMAA.

DMAE vs DMAA: A Comparative Analysis

While DMAE and DMAA may sound similar, they are very different substances with different uses, benefits, and risks.

Effectiveness And Potency

Regarding effectiveness and potency, DMAA is often considered stronger.

However, this doesn't necessarily mean it's the better choice.

The right choice depends on individual needs, health status, and goals.

Safety And Legal Status

Regarding safety and legal status, DMAE is generally considered safer and legal in many places.

DMAA, on the other hand, has been associated with more serious side effects and is banned in many countries, including the US.


Here, we'll answer some of the most common questions about DMAE and DMAA, including their uses, benefits, side effects, and more.

What is the difference between DMAE and DMAA?

DMAE and DMAA are two different ingredients. DMAE, also known as dimethylaminoethanol, is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and is an ingredient for helping support brain health and mood. DMAA, on the other hand, is a dietary supplement ingredient that is commonly used in sports nutrition products as a stimulant.

Is DMAE a stimulant like DMAA?

While DMAE is known to support brain health and mood, it does not act as a stimulant like DMAA does.

What are the benefits of DMAE?

DMAE is thought to work by increasing the production of acetylcholine, a compound involved with memory. It's also been studied for depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Alzheimer's disease, autism, and tardive dyskinesia.

What are the benefits of DMAA?

DMAA is commonly used in sports nutrition products as a stimulant to promote focus and increase energy.

Are there any side effects of DMAE?

While DMAE is generally considered safe, some people may experience side effects such as constipation, itching, headache, drowsiness, insomnia, excitation, vivid dreams, confusion, depression, increased blood pressure, an increase in schizophrenia symptoms, and unwanted movements of the face and mouth.

Are there any side effects of DMAA?

DMAA can potentially cause a range of side effects, including high blood pressure, shortness of breath, chest pain, stroke, and psychiatric disorders.

Can DMAE and DMAA be used together?

It's not recommended to use DMAE and DMAA together without the advice of a healthcare provider due to the potential for side effects and interactions.

What are some alternatives to DMAA?

There are DMAA alternatives that trainers can use that are safe, legal, and potent. These include Teacrine, Dynamine, and Higenamine HCL.

Is DMAA banned?

Yes, DMAA has been banned by the FDA due to serious safety concerns.

What is DMHA and how does it compare to DMAA?

Like DMAA, DMHA is known by several other names and is found naturally in the bark of the walnut tree. Unlike DMAA, it's also manufactured synthetically.

Bottom Line: DMAE vs DMAA

DMAA is a powerful stimulant that can enhance physical performance and aid in weight loss.

However, it also comes with significant risks, including the potential for serious health problems like heart attacks and strokes.

On the other hand, DMAE is a nootropic compound used to enhance cognitive function.

It does not have the same stimulant effects as DMAA and is generally considered safer.

However, as with any supplement, it's essential to use both DMAA and DMAE responsibly.

Always research and understand the potential risks before starting any new supplement regimen.

by Nader Qudimat

Forged by iron and cold steel, I'm Nader, a mid-30s natural bodybuilder. Once a 100lb skinny guy, I've transformed into a 200lb muscular athlete with over 15 years of lifting experience. Today, I leverage my transformation and extensive experience to guide countless individuals on their fitness journeys.

Click here to check out my 12 year transformation: Natural 12 Year Transformation

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