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Prevagen Side Effects and Risks

Last modified on January 21st, 2023

Prevagen side effects and risks are based primarily on the main ingredient, called apoaequorin.

Overall, side effects of this brain health supplement are minimal, although you should always speak to your doctor or health care professional before taking any supplement.

Below, we explore more of what you should know as far as Prevagen side effects, so you’re informed before taking this memory supplement.  

Key Takeaways

  • Prevagen is a memory-improving supplement for healthy brain function and cognitive health
  • One of the primary active ingredients in Prevagen is called apoaequorin
  • Apoaequorin is a protein preparation that comes from jellyfish species and may help you have a sharper mind and boost your mental function
  • There is limited clinical research and scientific evidence on the long-term safety of Prevagen, but also no known major side effects
  • There have been a few user reports of more serious side effects stemming from Prevagen and apoaequorin

What is Prevagen?

First, before exploring the possible side effects of Prevagen, what is it?

Prevagen is a natural product available through retailers like Amazon that may help with mild memory loss associated with aging and general cognitive aging. It is formulated with apoaequorin.

People take Prevagen to help improve cognitive functioning and reduce any signs of cognitive impairment or a decline in memory they might experience. 

This ingredient, originally discovered in jellyfish, may support cognitive function. It is patented for use by Quincy Bioscience.

Quincy Bioscience is located in Wisconsin, and they focus on creating products to help reduce mild memory loss and support healthy cognitive function.

In one particular study, adults who were over 40 years old took one Prevagen capsule a day for 90 days. According to Quincy Bioscience, they experienced improvements in different aspects of cognitive function.

Prevagen first came onto the marketplace in 2007.

Apoaequorin protein comes specifically from glowing luminescent jellyfish. When this protein is exposed to calcium, it binds, producing the blue light seen in the jellyfish.

The idea behind using it in a memory supplement for cognitive decline like Prevagen is that it has a similar structure to a calcium-binding protein found in humans.

Some evidence suggests it could help regulate calcium levels in the human brain, reducing mental decline and memory loss.

Calcium is relevant to cognition and memory because it’s an important messenger molecule. It’s thought to be related to neuron cell death and aging. That can mean it plays a role in age-related cognitive and memory declines.

Prevagen also contains 50 mcg (2000 IU) of vitamin D, an important vitamin especially for older people or people who don’t get a lot of sunlight. Vitamin D is also helpful for many chronic conditions. 

In the 2020 Pharmacy Times Survey of pharmacists’ recommendations for the best over-the-counter memory support, Prevagen was number one. Seventy-three percent of pharmacists said it was their top choice among OTC memory supplements. 

No supplement is considered among the FDA-approved drugs. The FDA doesn’t regulate supplements, so you have to do your own research before trying them. You often can’t find a database of adverse event reports, allergic reactions or detailed concerns for safety. 

prevagen side effects
Image Source: Amazon


While Prevagen does have great reviews and some strong anecdotal evidence for its use, that doesn’t tell the whole story. It has been the subject of controversy, including potential false advertising claims in recent years. 

We wanted to learn more about the possible adverse effects of this supplement promising to fight age-related mental decline and promote healthy brain activity. 

First, we did mention the positive results of a double-blind study above.

Critics have said that when they looked at that trial, they didn’t see any statistically significant results observed over the entire study population for any cognitive tasks. The trial also failed to compare the protein apoaequorin and control groups.

Opponents of the company’s safety assessment and claims say that what’s actually being touted as evidence is an after-the-fact analysis of study participants’ subgroups.

There has been no further research beyond this original study to verify the supposed claims.

The company may have taken one bit of inconclusive information from a study and then used that to validate their hypothesis.

There is another issue as well, which is bioavailability.

Bioavailability is something we talk about a lot when ranking and reviewing supplements.

If something isn’t highly bioavailable, it will have limited benefits for you because your body can’t absorb and utilize what you’re taking.

There is research showing Prevagen may degrade quickly during digestion. That means that the actual apoaequorin might not be able to make it past the blood-brain barrier, which would limit the potential psychological benefits.

In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Attorney General of New York State charged the Quincy Bioscience Company was making unsubstantiated and false claims about Prevagen’s effectiveness.

However, the court ruled in favor of Quincy Bioscience, saying the concept of looking at subgroups is widely used in data interpretation in dietary supplements.

What Are the Potential Side Effects of Prevagen?

While the evidence is mixed as to whether this apoaequorin product is effective, we couldn’t find anything suggesting it’s dangerous or has especially harmful side effects.

MedicineNet describes it as being possibly safe when taken by mouth. You should always follow the dosage instructions, which means taking up to 10 mg daily.

Some of the user-reported Prevagen common side effects have included:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Problems sleeping
  • Anxiety

Rarely, some Prevagen side effects have occurred related to the heart and nervous system. Even so, we don’t know that these are Prevagen side effects.

Any number of other factors could have caused these and there’s insufficient evidence to say that Prevagen causes heart-related adverse effects. 

We don’t have much information on a larger scale to determine specifically what Prevagen’s side effects could be.

Along with the side effects of Prevagen, we also looked at whether there were any known interactions with other medicines.

We couldn’t find any at this time. Always ask your doctor before you take any supplement, including Prevagen. This is especially true if you take any prescription or over-the-counter medicines already.

In addition to officially recorded Prevagen side effects, we also looked at Amazon to see if the users there reported any.

One fear that someone expressed we found interesting was the worry about the vitamin D the supplement contains. Vitamin D is very important, especially as we age.

However, too much vitamin D can be harmful. If you’re taking Prevagen and getting vitamin D elsewhere, you could be at risk of toxicity.

Vitamin D3 is fat-soluble. It doesn’t leave your body if you take too much, as vitamin C does as an example. Instead, too much vitamin D3 can buildup in your body’s fat cells and lead to toxicity issues like hypercalcemia.

Some United States reviews on Amazon that mention Prevagen side effects cite “incapacitating dizziness” and similar effects. 

Prevagen Side Effects on the Liver

Some people worry about liver side effects when taking supplements, including Prevagen. 

According to the NIH National Library of Medicine, apoaequorin is considered safe regarding potential liver toxicity.

In published human studies, there are no reports of liver toxicity or liver damage associated with this memory supplement. 

Currently, there aren’t reports of any elevated serum liver enzymes or other damage in the scientific literature and research. 

side effects of prevagen
Image Source: Amazon

Prevagen Side Effects FAQs

Below are answers to popular questions people tend to have about the Prevagen brain supplement and Prevagen side effects.

The primary adverse side effects of Prevagen will stem from its inclusion of apoaequorin, a dietary protein. Some of the potential common side effects of Prevagen reportedly may include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble sleeping

Overall, Prevagen is rated as possibly safe when taken by mouth and as instructed by the manufacturer. A Prevagen dose of 10 mg has been safely used in a study for up to 90 days. No clinical research has thoroughly evaluated the potential Prevagen side effects, though.

There have been a few reports that Prevagen led to adverse events such as seizures, heart arrhythmias, strokes, and seizures. However, there isn’t any definitive proof linking the memory supplement to these effects. 

In a 2015 internal report from the FDA, there was an indication that the Agency felt a severe potential safety hazard stemming from the numerous adverse events reports. The FDA hasn’t publicly indicated concerns about the product and has a Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status.

Since they aren’t regulated, the issue with some supplements is that if people experience side effects, they have no real way of knowing whether or not it is coming from the supplement.

The main ingredient in Prevagen is apoaequorin, a protein found in jellyfish, and the supplement also contains vitamin D3.

Apoaequorin is thought to act similarly to calmodulin, a protein in our bodies. Calmodulin may play an essential role in our memory, but the research is limited.

The thought is that the apoaequorin may regulate calcium levels in the brain, and dysregulated brain calcium levels contribute to Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline.

There’s no definitive period for how long you should take Prevagen. The one major study done on Prevagen had participants taking it for 90 days, so researchers tend to feel fairly safe with that timeline. However, you may be able to take it safely for longer, but since the research is limited, we can’t say for sure.

When you take Prevagen, it’s supposed to help the health of your brain, and it’s purported to improve your memory. The way it works theoretically is that the apoaequorin protein binds to excess calcium in the brain, which can help regulate levels, improving memory.

Whether or not Prevagen is effective is something that research hasn’t confirmed.

In one study conducted by the company that makes Prevagen, 10 mg of apoaequorin a day was compared to a placebo for 90 days.

All the participants in the study self-identified as having memory issues, but none had serious conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s.

At the end of the study, people taking apoaequorin had higher scores than the placebo group on tests used to measure overall memory.

Some people taking Prevagen feel like it helps with their sleep quality.

Apoaequorin side effects may include:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Potential cardiovascular problems if large doses are taken—these side effects may include hypertension, irregular heart rate, or chest pain

Some reports from people using Prevagen thought it was linked to strokes. There has been no research proving this, and no official FDA warnings about this, to date

Prevagen Side Effects-Final Thoughts

Potential Prevagen side effects and the possibility for adverse events are likely minimal. However, there are other problems with this product promoted to help brain performance to be aware of. Prevagen has little research to verify its effectiveness for any memory loss conditions or even mild impairment of cognition. It’s an expensive supplement that doesn’t have any benefits for a lot of people.

Possible Prevagen side effects and common events might include headache, nausea, and dizziness. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking any supplement or following any health tips. 

What Are The Pros and Cons of Prevagen?



Our Recommendation and Where to Buy Prevagen

Prevagen is a pricey supplement. There’s minimal research that it may help improve memory and cognition, but not a robust amount of evidence. Overall it doesn’t seem to be associated with any significant side effects, although at worst you may not find it’s effective. some users do feel it’s beneficial for them. 

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