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Prevagen side effects are based primarily on the main ingredient, called apoaequorin. Overall, Prevagen side effects are minimal, although you should always speak to your doctor 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.
Prevagen Side Effects-Key Takeaways
- Prevagen is a memory-improving supplement
- One of the primary active ingredients in Prevagen is called apoaequorin
- Apoaequorin comes from jellyfish
- There is limited clinical research on the 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 supplement available through retailers like Amazon that may help with mild memory loss associated with aging. It is formulated with apoaequorin.
This ingredient, which was 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. They experienced improvements in different aspects of cognitive function, according to Quincy Bioscience.
Prevagen first came onto the marketplace in 2007.
Apoaequorin is a protein that comes specifically from glowing 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 like Prevagen is that it has a similar structure to calcium-binding proteins 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.
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 surveyed pharmacists said it was their top pick among OTC memory supplements.
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 in recent years.
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 in the study. Supposedly, the trial also failed to compare the apoaequorin and control groups.
Opponents of the company’s 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’s going to 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, so that 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 Side Effects of Prevagen?
While the evidence is mixed as far as whether or not Prevagen 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 a day.
Some of the user-reported Prevagen side effects have included:
- Problems sleeping
Rarely, some Prevagen side effects have occurred related to the heart and nervous system. Even so, we don’t know for sure that these are Prevagen side effects. Any number of other factors could have caused these.
We don’t have a lot of information to determine specifically what Prevagen 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 that 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 reviews on Amazon that mention Prevagen side effects cite “incapacitating dizziness” and other similar things.
Potential Prevagen side effects are likely minimal. However, there are other problems with this product to be aware of. Prevagen has little research to verify its effectiveness. It’s an expensive supplement that doesn’t have any benefits for a lot of people.
Possible Prevagen side effects might include headache, nausea, and dizziness.