DMAE and CDP Choline

Polly: Urocholine isn’t the only substance that can increase acetylcholine. DMAE, CDP choline and the amino acid taurine are all thought to increase acetylcholine levels in the brain. (For more information on taurine, see the chapter on amino acids in Book 6 of this series.)

DMAE (2-dimethylaminoethanol) occurs naturally in the body and is a precursor to choline. DMAE is believed to cross the blood brain barrier and increase acetylcholine levels in the brain. Initial use may cause a dull headache. DMAE is available in most health stores. It is also known as Deaner, Deanol or DNZ-2. (BioTech sells DNZ-2 to professionals and has some literature on it.)

CDP-Choline (cytidine 5’ diphosphocholine), also increases the synthesis of acetylcholine in the brain. It also supports the creation of phosphotidylcholine, and improves the regulation of neuronal membrane excitability and osmolarity. CDP-Choline is made by Jarrow.

According to the Pfeiffer treatment center, DMAE should not be used if the child is undermethylated. In Dr. Bill Walsh’s presentation to the 2002 DAN! conference, he stated that about 45% of the children with autism are undermethylated and about 15% are over-methylated. From their database of patients, they have observed general characteristics of these two conditions. The following table contains these observations. They aren’t hard and fast rules, but they may help you determine the best nutrients to try first.

Result from Overmethylation Undermethylation
Might help DMAE, folic acid, B12 and
(Niacin can cause flushing.
Niacinamide or NADH won’t.) methionine, calcium, magnesium,
B6, SAMe, DMG, TMG and/or
Might react poorly to TMG, inositol, SAMe, copper
and methionine folic acid, choline, DMAE
More likely to have low histamime,
high norepinephrine,
high serotonin and
high dopamine. high histamine
low norepinephrine
low serotonin and
low dopamine
More likely to display Depression, severe chemical
sensitivities, food sensitivities,
anxiety, upper body pain,
underacheivement Obsessive Compulsive Disorder,
Oppositional-Defiant Disorder,
seasonal depression, seasonal
allergies, perfectionism,
General observations by Dr. Bill Walsh of Pfeiffer Treatment Center

Marianne had some success with DMAE. Then she found that Jarrow’s CDP Choline worked better for her child. Here is what she had to say.

Marianne: I have a four-and-a-half year old son diagnosed with autism, or Aspergers. After four years of sleep deprivation we started giving him melatonin. It has been a miracle. For the first time in his life, he has slept through the nights, and woken up rested! Life (for the whole family) improved so much, that I decided to keep looking into supplementation. Next we started on magnesium. My son was so noise sensitive, that we could hardly go anywhere. We bought him ear muffs to block the noise, and they helped enough that we were able to at least run the vacuum. He even had to have them to go into the bathroom, because one time the fan was on, and the noise scared him so much. About his point I met Willis, and he suggested we add B6 with the magnesium. This has made such a difference that the ear muffs just sit around unused 99% of the time. This is a complete reversal of USING them 99% of the time!

Well now for the most amazing thing of all…..My son has drooled since he was 2 months old. Soaking through 3-5 shirts a day. When he Autism Interventions 29 was a baby, I made him cute bandanas to wear, and just thought it was teething….ha….He has had all his teeth for years! Anyway Willis suggested drooling could come from excess dopamine in the system, because of too little acetlycholine. I read that DMAE helps the brain stimulate the production of choline, which then helps the brain better produce acetlycholine. Well, in 2 DAYS of giving him this, the drooling is almost nonexistent. I realized at the end of the day yesterday, that my son had the same shirt on from the morning, and it was dry!!!!!

We have been working with an occupational therapist on some oral motor exercises to help the drooling, along with his speech. We were trying to get him to make a “fish face” with his lips last week. He couldn’t make his lips pucker at all. Well yesterday, he looked at me, and had the best fish lips face you have ever seen! I guess the reason his speech was so unclear, is that he couldn’t make his lips move right. Well….we hadn’t even done the exercises, so it IS the choline factor, as Willis pinpointed! We are also having success with the TMG. Our son is so much more out going. He is talking and singing up a storm. This is the same child that said his first word at age 3.

Thanks to Willis, and you all, for such great information, I know time is limited when caring for these wonderful children. By the way, my son has never been vaccinated, had antibiotics, fluoride, or all of the things that contribute. He was breast fed for 2 years, no cows milk ever…….just to add to the confusion.

Polly: Be watchful. Too much acetylcholine can also cause drooling. Since you now have your son on B6, you may find that you don’t need the melatonin for his sleep. The sleep disturbances might be due to an excess serotonin influence. Glycine, taurine, B6 and magnesium might help reduce this influence and thus help with the sleep. Although melatonin can counter some of the effects of serotonin, this adaptation is at a cost to the body. Melatonin is a stress hormone and should be used with caution.

It is interesting that your son didn’t have all the predisposing factors that people think contribute to autism. However, have you considered exposure to mercury in the womb? There is the danger of flu shots just before becoming pregnant, or Rhogam shots while pregnant, since these contain mercury. There are some moms that report having dental work while pregnant, and fear this is the source of the damage. I wouldn’t rule mercury poisoning out just yet.

Marianne: Yes, I have considered mercury from the womb and my breast milk. I have a huge amount of mercury fillings in my mouth, so I am sure some got into my son. I also had many problems with chemicals as I worked in the hairdressing business for 20 years. I finally had to quit. Luckily I wasn’t in that environment while I was pregnant. I do think that he has a genetic predisposition though as both my husband and myself have quite a few Aspergers characteristics, although nothing diagnosed. My husband also has ADD.

As far as the B6 goes, I found it was keeping my son up at night. I strictly use it only in the morning now. My son was going to sleep fine with the melatonin but he was waking up in the middle of the night. The Epsom salts baths have REALLY helped this too. I am really new to all of this, so we are still experimenting with everything. I know this is the right track though. I have also started using CDP choline from Jarrow instead of the DMAE, and have found it works much better.

Polly: My daughter does not have autism, but she was definitely having sleep difficulties. I used to Hope for Autism through Nutrition The Health Forum—Book 5 30 give the coenzyme B6 to my daughter in the morning for the same reason that you state. I had heard that it takes a couple of weeks for the body to adjust to it, and during this time it can disturb your sleep. It took two weeks of 150 mg per day before I noticed the improvement in my daughter’s sleep. I now give her coenzyme B6 about once a week, and at any time of the day. The Epsom Salt baths didn’t help my daughter’s sleep other than to relax her a little bit before bedtime. (There is a little more information on acetylcholine in the chapter on mercury poisoning.)

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