Last modified on October 24th, 2023
Have you ever wondered if there’s a secret ingredient to improving memory and cognitive function as you age? Imagine unlocking the power of a protein derived from jellyfish to enhance your brain health. In this blog post, we’ll explore Prevagen, a memory supplement that claims to do just that. Get ready to dive deep into the world of Prevagen, its primary component, apoaequorin, and the controversies surrounding its manufacturer, Quincy Bioscience.
This article examines the science and controversies related to Prevagen, a dietary supplement marketed as a solution to improve memory loss associated with aging.
Studies have indicated that apoaequorin’s low bioavailability and inability to traverse the blood-brain barrier may impede its ability to improve memory and cognitive function.
It is recommended to consult healthcare professionals before taking Prevagen due to limited evidence of effectiveness, mixed customer experiences, potential side effects, and adverse events.
Understanding Prevagen: A Closer Look
Prevagen is a dietary supplement aimed at older adults who desire to enhance their brain health and cognitive function.
Apoaequorin is the main ingredient of the product. It is a protein that has been extracted from Aequorea victoria, a species of jellyfish known for its glow-in-the-dark luminescence.
Prevagen is marketed as a solution to improve memory loss associated with aging and support healthy brain function.
You might be wondering whether a jellyfish-derived protein can really enhance memory.
This question leads us to explore the science behind the product and the controversies surrounding Quincy Bioscience, the maker of Prevagen.
The Science Behind Apoaequorin
As a calcium-binding protein, apoaequorin draws attention due to research hinting at a link between calcium, brain health, and memory performance. Quincy Bioscience produces a laboratory-made version of apoaequorin, which is then used as the primary component in Prevagen.
While this protein’s unique properties seem promising for brain health, the research supporting its effectiveness is limited.
The bioavailability of Prevagen, or how well the body can absorb and utilize it, is another factor to consider.
Limited scientific evidence exists on the bioavailability of Prevagen, and studies indicate that apoaequorin, when administered orally, may not effectively cross the blood-brain barrier. These concerns cast doubt on Prevagen’s true potential to enhance memory and cognitive function.
Quincy Bioscience and Controversies
In 2017, Quincy Bioscience faced a lawsuit over false claims regarding the memory improvement and cognitive health benefits of Prevagen. The legal action, which concluded in 2020, resulted in a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the addition of a court-approved disclaimer to Prevagen’s marketing materials: “Based on a clinical study of subgroups of individuals who were cognitively normal or mildly impaired.”
Even with legal hurdles and differing views on Prevagen’s effectiveness, it emerged as the top pharmacist-recommended brand in the 2023 Pharmacy Times annual survey.
This demonstrates that while some experts and consumers may question Prevagen’s effectiveness, others still believe in its potential benefits.
Evaluating the Research on Prevagen
Research on Prevagen’s efficacy is limited and often contradictory. Some studies suggest that the doses provided in each capsule of Prevagen may not be sufficient to produce a significant pharmacological effect.
In one double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial, Prevagen improved certain aspects of cognitive function in subgroups of individuals with normal cognitive aging or very mild impairment.
However, another study revealed that Prevagen was not more effective than a placebo at improving cognitive skills, including memory.
Given the conflicting studies and the issues related to apoaequorin’s bioavailability and blood-brain barrier permeability, it’s crucial to consider the various findings and carefully evaluate the existing research on Prevagen.
Bioavailability and Blood-Brain Barrier
Apoaequorin, as the main ingredient of Prevagen, has low bioavailability, which questions its ability to effectively enhance memory and cognitive function. The blood-brain barrier is a protective layer of cells that serves to separate the brain from the rest of the body while regulating the passage of ions and molecules between the blood and the brain.
Studies indicate that when administered orally, apoaequorin is improbable to traverse the blood-brain barrier, potentially impeding its potential to improve memory and cognitive function.
Comparing Prevagen to Other Memory Improvement Supplements
When compared to other memory improvement supplements, Prevagen’s effectiveness is not well-established.
Research has indicated that the following supplements are some of the most effective memory improvement supplements currently on the market:
Mind Lab Pro
Omega-3 fatty acids
These brain health supplements have been found to be beneficial for memory and brain health and may help individuals with mild cognitive impairment.
Price-wise, Prevagen typically comes across as pricier than other popular memory-boosting supplements like Focus Factor and Neuriva. For example, Focus Factor costs around $26 for a one-month supply, while Prevagen costs about $47 for one month. It is important to note that the prices may vary; thus, comparing prices from different sources is recommended.
Expert Opinions on Prevagen
Expert opinions on Prevagen are mixed, with some questioning its efficacy due to limited research.
The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation conducted an independent review in 2016, concluding that Prevagen is unlikely to positively affect brain health.
On the other hand, some experts advocate for the use of Prevagen, contending that it improves memory, supports healthy brain function, and increases cognitive abilities.
As the discussion persists, the significance of healthy lifestyle choices, including diet and exercise, in promoting better brain health should not be overlooked.
Research has indicated that a healthy dietary pattern can improve aging, including reducing memory and cognitive decline.
Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation’s Stance
The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation does not endorse Prevagen as a memory improvement supplement. Their independent review conducted in 2016 concluded that Prevagen is unlikely to positively affect brain health.
The foundation cites the FDA’s warning letter issued to Quincy Bioscience for selling an ‘unapproved drug’ and making unlawful claims about its memory-enhancing capabilities as a reason for their stance.
The foundation has provided various pieces of evidence against Prevagen, including clinically proven data from:
Preclinical rat studies
Human clinical studies
Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials
These constitute the basis for their strong opposition against the product. Research suggests that their assessment highlights the need for more research to support the claims made by Prevagen’s manufacturer.
Healthy Lifestyle Choices for Brain Health
Experts recommend healthy lifestyle choices like diet and exercise for better brain health.
Diets rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, seafood, beans, nuts, and olive oil, such as the Mediterranean diet, have been shown to improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline. Physical exercise, including aerobic activities like running, swimming, and cycling, as well as mind-body practices like yoga and tai chi, can also be beneficial for brain health.
While memory supplements like Prevagen may offer some potential benefits, it is essential to prioritize a healthy lifestyle and consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.
Purchasing Prevagen: Costs and Considerations
Prevagen is available in various forms, including regular strength, extra strength, and chewable, catering to individual preferences and needs.
For the authenticity of the product, it’s advised to buy Prevagen from authorized outlets like the official website, Amazon, or physical retail stores.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not evaluated any statements made regarding dietary supplements. These supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. Like any dietary supplement, seeking advice from a healthcare professional before starting with Prevagen is recommended.
Prevagen Product Varieties
Prevagen offers different product varieties to suit various needs and preferences. These include regular strength, extra strength, and chewable options. The strengths of Prevagen available are 10, 20, and 40 milligrams of apoaequorin, providing a range of options for those seeking memory support. Each formulation contains the unique ingredient apoaequorin and is designed to support memory.
Prevagen products can be found in both 30-capsule and 60-capsule quantities, accommodating different budgets and usage patterns. Taking Prevagen for a minimum of 90 days is generally recommended to allow the brain sufficient time to become accustomed to the product.
Tips for Identifying Authorized Sellers
To verify the authenticity of the product, it’s advised to buy Prevagen from authorized sellers. Authorized retailers include:
Be cautious of counterfeit Prevagen products, which may have unusually low prices, lower-quality packaging, or missing seals.
Buying Prevagen from authorized sellers can better assure you of the product’s quality and safety. Remember, products sold by non-authorized dealers may be counterfeit, diluted, adulterated, or defective. Consult with a healthcare professional before initiating any new supplementation, and prioritize a healthy lifestyle for optimal brain health.
Customer Experiences with Prevagen
Customer experiences with Prevagen vary, with some reporting benefits such as improved memory, sharper thinking, clearer mind, and support for healthy brain function.
However, others have experienced side effects such as headache, dizziness, nausea, constipation, and hypertension.
Taking into account individual experiences and seeking advice from a healthcare professional before starting Prevagen is advised.
Reported Benefits and Success Stories
Some customers report that Prevagen improves memory and cognitive function after using it, while others see no change.
Success stories and positive feedback from users primarily come from company-sponsored studies and testimonials.
Bear in mind that the evidence backing these claims is scarce, and the discussion regarding Prevagen’s effectiveness for memory enhancement is ongoing.
Potential Side Effects and Adverse Events
Potential side effects of Prevagen include headache, nausea, constipation, edema, and hypertension. More severe adverse events reported by users include seizures, strokes, heart arrhythmias, chest pain, and dizziness.
Like any supplement, being mindful of possible side effects and seeking a healthcare provider’s advice before starting Prevagen is crucial.
Why is Prevagen being sued?
The FTC and New York have brought a lawsuit against the makers of Prevagen for deceptive advertising, as their own study found that the supplement was no more effective than a placebo at improving memory, despite them claiming otherwise.
What is the downside to taking Prevagen?
Taking Prevagen may result in adverse effects such as headache, nausea, constipation, edema, and hypertension. There is also a lack of evidence to support its effectiveness, and it should not be used if you have serious memory problems, including Alzheimer’s. Additionally, the company has not disclosed over a thousand reported adverse reactions to the supplement.
What is the active ingredient in Prevagen?
Apoaequorin is the active ingredient in Prevagen®, which is a calcium-binding protein isolated from jellyfish Aequorea victoria and has been used for many years as a calcium indicator.
Are there any memory supplements that actually work?
There is no substantial evidence that memory supplements work, as multiple studies have not found them to be effective. Even though there may be some rare exceptions, research has yet to prove any real benefits of taking these supplements.
Has Prevagen been proven to improve memory?
Results of studies conducted on the use of Prevagen to improve memory are mixed, making it difficult to draw a definite conclusion.
Prevagen vs. Focus Factor
“Prevagen” and “Focus Factor” are two dietary supplements that claim to support cognitive function and mental clarity.
While both supplements aim to enhance memory, focus, and overall brain health, they contain different ingredients and may work differently for individuals. Here’s a comparison of the two:
- Active Ingredient: Prevagen’s primary active ingredient is apoaequorin, a protein originally found in jellyfish.
- Mechanism of Action: Prevagen claims to improve cognitive function by supporting healthy brain cells and the release of neurotransmitters.
- Claims: Prevagen is marketed as a supplement to enhance memory and support a sharper mind.
- Research: Some small-scale studies have suggested potential benefits of apoaequorin, but more robust studies are needed to establish its efficacy conclusively.
- Formulations: Prevagen comes in various formulations, including regular strength, extra strength, and chewable versions.
- Availability: It’s available over-the-counter.
- Active Ingredients: Focus Factor contains a blend of vitamins, minerals, and herbal extracts, including B vitamins, DMAE, phosphatidylserine, and others.
- Mechanism of Action: Focus Factor’s ingredients are believed to support overall brain health by providing essential nutrients required for cognitive function.
- Claims: Focus Factor is marketed as a supplement to enhance memory, concentration, and focus.
- Research: Some of the individual ingredients in Focus Factor have shown potential cognitive benefits in research. However, limited clinical data are available on the specific formulation of Focus Factor.
- Formulations: It comes in various formulations, including original and a “Focus Factor for Kids” version.
- Availability: Also available over-the-counter.
- Ingredient Differences: Prevagen relies on a unique jellyfish-derived protein, whereas Focus Factor contains a blend of vitamins, minerals, and herbal extracts.
- Scientific Support: Both supplements lack robust clinical evidence to definitively support their claims. Individual ingredients may have some scientific backing, but the effectiveness of these specific supplement formulations remains uncertain.
- Individual Response: Cognitive supplements may work differently for each person, depending on their specific needs and biology. What works for one individual might not work as effectively for another.
Prevagen vs. Neuriva
“Prevagen” and “Neuriva” are dietary supplements designed to support cognitive function, brain health, and memory. They both aim to enhance mental clarity and focus, but they contain different ingredients and may have varying mechanisms of action. Here’s a comparison of the two:
- Active Ingredient: The primary active ingredient in Prevagen is a protein derived from jellyfish.
- Mechanism of Action: Prevagen is claimed to support cognitive function by promoting healthy brain cells and neurotransmitter release.
- Claims: It is marketed to improve memory and support mental clarity.
- Research: Some small-scale studies have suggested potential benefits of apoaequorin, but larger, more robust studies are needed to establish its efficacy definitively.
- Formulations: Prevagen is available in different formulations, including regular strength, extra strength, and chewable versions.
- Availability: It’s available over-the-counter.
- Active Ingredients: Neuriva consists of two key ingredients—Coffee Cherry Extract (Coffea arabica) and Phosphatidylserine.
- Mechanism of Action: The active ingredients in Neuriva are believed to work together to support brain function by promoting neuroplasticity, which helps the brain adapt and learn more effectively.
- Claims: Neuriva is marketed to enhance memory, learning, and reasoning.
- Research: While the individual ingredients have some scientific support, there is limited clinical data available on the specific formulation of Neuriva. Some studies suggest potential cognitive benefits of Coffee Cherry Extract.
- Formulations: Neuriva is available in different forms, including Neuriva Original and Neuriva Plus.
- Availability: It is also available over-the-counter.
- Ingredient Differences: Prevagen contains apoaequorin derived from jellyfish, while Neuriva includes Coffee Cherry Extract and Phosphatidylserine.
- Scientific Support: Both supplements lack robust clinical evidence to definitively support their claims. While some of the individual ingredients have shown potential cognitive benefits, more research is needed to establish the effectiveness of these specific supplement formulations.
- Individual Response: The effectiveness of cognitive supplements can vary from person to person, as it depends on individual needs and biology.
Which Is Better, Prevagen or Neuriva?
Prevagen’s main ingredient, apoaequorin, has been subject to controversy, with concerns raised by regulatory agencies like the FDA about its safety and efficacy.
Neuriva’s ingredients have some support in scientific research, with Coffee Cherry Extract and Phosphatidylserine having potential cognitive benefits.
How Does Apoequorin Work?
Apoaequorin is a protein derived from a type of jellyfish called Aequorea victoria. It is claimed to work by supporting brain health, including memory and cognitive function. The proposed mechanism of action of apoaequorin is based on its potential ability to interact with calcium ions in the brain. Here’s how it’s suggested to work:
- Calcium Regulation: Apoaequorin is thought to interact with calcium ions in brain cells. Calcium is essential for various cellular functions, including neurotransmitter release, cell signaling, and synaptic plasticity. It is possible that apoaequorin could play a role in helping to regulate calcium levels in brain cells.
- Neuroprotection: Apoaequorin is claimed to support the health of neurons (nerve cells) by potentially influencing calcium homeostasis. It may help protect neurons from calcium-related damage, which can be a factor in age-related cognitive decline.
It’s important to note that while these mechanisms are proposed, the scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of apoaequorin in improving memory and cognitive function is limited and has been a subject of controversy. Some studies have shown benefits, while others have not. Additionally, regulatory agencies like the FDA have raised concerns about the safety and efficacy of products containing apoaequorin.
Why is Prevagen Being Sued?
Prevagen has been shrouded in controversy over the years.
In March 2018, public health groups submitted a brief supporting the State of New York and the FTC in taking enforcement action against Prevagen for misleading claims about memory and the possible benefits of the supplement.
In a national ad campaign, Prevagen’s makers claimed the supplement is shown clinically to improve memory.
Based on the company’s own study, Prevagen wasn’t more effective than taking a placebo for memory improvement.
The FTC and the State of New York said the claims being made by the Prevagen company were based on researchers going back and analyzing the data to find a few positive results in a study that would otherwise be considered negative.
The FTC and New York say that it’s false and misleading for Prevagen to use unreliable methodology, known as a post hoc analysis, to support the claims that the supplement can improve memory.
The district court ended up dismissing the lawsuit, with the court holding New York and the FTC didn’t meet the standard of showing the memory claims were misleading because they didn’t show they were wrong.
They just showed that the post hoc analysis increased the risk of being wrong.
In early 2019, the Second Circuit ruled in favor of the FTC, sending the case back to the district court. This means a federal appellate court let the State of New York and FTC take enforcement actions against the Prevagen brand.
As of 2021, Prevagen can still sell the product, but they have to qualify advertising claims with a disclaimer approved by the court.
What Is the Downside To Taking Prevagen?
Prevagen is largely considered safe, with few rare adverse side effects, including nausea, constipation, and headache. Aside from the potential side effects, the biggest downside to taking Prevagen is that it may not improve memory.
What Are the Negative Side Effects of Prevagen?
Potential negative side effects of Prevagen are nausea, constipation, headache, hypertension, and edema. So, is it safe to take Prevagen?
Overall, yes, it’s safe to take Prevagen, but it might not be effective.
What Is the Main Ingredient in Prevagen?
The main ingredient in Prevagen is apoaequorin, a protein that binds to calcium and is isolated from jellyfish.
What Does AARP Say About Prevagen?
AARP didn’t have kind words for Prevagen a few years ago. According to the AARP in a brief supporting a federal false advertising lawsuit against Prevagen, the company is deceiving millions of aging Americans.
The AARP hit back against Prevagen’s claims that the supplement can help with memory loss related to aging.
A senior attorney for AARP, which filed the brief on behalf of the organization, wrote that the statements made to sell Prevagen are misleading and unsubstantiated.
The lawyer said that supplement companies have zeroed in on the idea that older people will spend a lot of money on products because they want to feel better.
What Do Pharmacists Say About Prevagen?
While Prevagen is controversial among some outlets, pharmacists seem to like the product. Pharmacy Times named it the most recommended memory support supplement in 2023, based on a survey of thousands of pharmacists.
Forty-eight percent of surveyed pharmacists said they recommended Prevagen most often.
What is the Number One Herb for Memory?
Ginseng is one of the best herbal supplements for memory because it’s been found to help reduce memory declines related to aging and prevent memory loss. In studies of participants given ginseng supplements, it’s frequently been found to improve various aspects of cognitive health and function. Ginseng may be especially effective when combined with ginkgo biloba as memory support supplements.
Does B12 Help with Memory?
Some of the top memory supplements include B12 as a critical ingredient. This isn’t the case with Prevagen, but there’s evidence to show that B12 may help with memory. One of the diagnostic symptoms of a B12 deficiency is changes in your memory or confusion. Increasing your B12 levels could help you have clearer thinking and less brain fog.
Older people are more likely to be deficient in vitamin B12 than younger people, so it’s worth speaking to a healthcare provider about checking your levels if you’re concerned about your memory, cognitive function, or brain fog.
Undoubtedly, the best brain vitamin for elderly people is vitamin B12, and regular supplementation may be needed to help memory and focus and lower the risk of depression.
Overall, when it comes to the best vitamins for brain health, the B vitamins are essential. These include not only B12 but also vitamin B6 and vitamin B9, also known as folate.
They’re needed for the brain to function normally, and being deficient in any of the B vitamins could lead to symptoms of cognitive decline and memory loss.
In conclusion, Prevagen is a memory supplement that has garnered both support and skepticism. While some users report positive experiences, the research supporting its efficacy is limited, and experts’ opinions are mixed. It is crucial to consider individual experiences, consult with a healthcare professional, and prioritize a healthy lifestyle for optimal brain health.
As you navigate the world of memory supplements, remember that each person’s experience is unique. Whether or not Prevagen is the right choice for you, prioritizing a healthy lifestyle, including diet and exercise, can go a long way in supporting your brain health and cognitive function.
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:
- 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:
- 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.