Prevagen® is simply a branded form of a protein called apoaequorin. This stuff is isolated form jellyfish. It is incredibly popular right now; lots of people are talking about its potential as a treatment for dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. It is a calcium-binding protein, which means that it could theoretically help keep a healthy calcium ion balance in the brain, which would in turn promote brain cell health and make dementia less likely.
Unfortunately, apoaequorin is seriously under-studied. There has only been one human clinical trial conducted, and while the results were promising, that isn’t enough evidence to draw a strong conclusion. It seems likely that apoaequorin is broken down in the stomach – the 10mg we get from Prevagen is therefore probably useless anyway!
In our opinion, it’s never worth risking your health and your money on untested substances when so many proven nootropics exist.
Where To Buy Prevagen
Prevagen isn’t available from the official website. It is, however, sold through a huge array of retailers, from GNC to Target!
Full Prevagen Review
Prevagen is one of the most talked about substances in the nootropics world right now. It is being advertised everywhere as a miracle memory drug. Posts keep popping up on popular forums like Reddit and LongeCity. Major news outlets like NBC and online magazines such as Gizmodo have even written articles about the stuff! As you’ll if you click those articles though, opinion is very much against the memory supplement.
So there’s only one thing for it; we need to do our own detailed Prevagen review to see whether it really is a potent memory booster or just another scam.
First of all, what is Prevagen supposed to do exactly?
Who is it designed for?
As you can see from the box, Prevagen’s main purpose is to “improve memory”.
The box also lists some more specific benefits that users can look forward to:
- A shaprer mind
- Healthy brain function
- More mental clarity
Those are very good benefits for a nootropic to aim for on top of enhancing memory function.
If a supplement can support healthy memory function while also improving you mental clarity, removing brain fog, and helping to keep your brain cells nice and healthy, then it deserves to be among the current market-leaders.
But does Prevagen actually do any of this, or is it all marketing spiel?
Have clinical trials really demonstrated that this stuff works as advertised?
Is it safe? What are the main side effects risks with this stuff?
How does it compare to other natural memory supplements on sale today?
Find out by reading our full, impartial Prevagen review below. Unlike many sites, we limit ourselves to the science – we aren’t swayed by what the manufacturers say their product can do, or what some paid shills claim to have experienced for themselves. We look at the ingredients, doses, and side effect risks. If you have any questions, please let us know in the comments and we’ll get back to you asap.
Prevagen Formula Analysis
Let’s take a look at the Prevagen ingredients:
Obviously, this isn’t a comprhesnsive nootropic stack.
Prevagen contains just two ingredients.
One of these is a standard dose of Vitamin D.
The other is an ingredient most of you will have never heard of before: Apoaequorin.
We all know that Vitamin D is necessary for many bodily functions, but that it doesn’t have any real nootropic properties.
Even 250% of your RDI isn’t going to make a massive difference to your day-to-day mental performance.
So Prevagen’s usefulness really hinges on apoaequorin.
Their website almost exclusively focuses on this ingredient, after all. It’s obviously important.
They’ve even gone as far as to patent it!
What is this stuff?
Does it do anything?
Is it safe?
Let’s get into it.
Apoaequorin – What Is It?
This is a new ingredient for us. We’ve never seen this stuff before now. Chances are you haven’t either.
Apoaequorin is a kind of protein derived from Jellyfish.
No, we’re not kidding.
More specifically, apoaequorin forms part of a photoprotein called aequorin.
A photoprotein is an enzyme constructed from protein. You will only find these photoproteins in bio-luminescent organisms – hence the jellyfish.
Basically, a specific type of jellyfish (Crystal Jellyfish) contains aequorin. When this photoprotein comes into contact with calcium, it produces a bright flash of light.
Apoaequorin is the actual enzyme which reacts with the calcium, causing the flash of light and, by extension, the bio-luminescence.
These proteins were first isolated from jellyfish back in 1962. The scientist responsible for doing so, Osamu Shimomura, was actually awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2008 for his work on bio-luminescent proteins.
That’s great for Osamu!
But what about us?
Can apoaequorin help with memory function?
Does it do anything?!
Does It Work?
The Prevagen website only lists a single scientific study in support of their amazing patented ingredient.
One study…and it FAILED!
The study was conducted between 2009 and 2011, although the results were only published in 2016 (more on this later).
Participants were either given a placebo (white rice flour capsules) or capsules containing 10mg of apoaequorin and some added white rice flour.
They were subjected to various cognitive ability assessments both before and after 90 days of supplementation. These tests covered verbal learning, memory retention, attention span, and more.
Here are the results (the initials indicate specific tests):
As you can see, 90 days of apoaequorin had almost no impact on any of the average test scores.
If you look at the variability within the group, you’ll notice that some people’s test scores probably went down! That’s certainly the case for the GML test and the IDN (which test for executive function and attention, respectively).
For those of you who are comfortable with statistics, take a look at the P values for these results too:
Those are some pretty poor P-scores.
Basically, what this is telling us is that the results were not statistically significant.
The researchers themselves say as much in the results section: “No statistically significant results were observed over the entire study population.”
This was actually a sponsored study.
THEY PAID FOR THIS TRIAL!
A sponsored study, and it showed that their patented main (only) ingredient does absolutely nothing.
Nothing that rice flour doesn’t do at least.
But this has left us a little confused.
Why are Prevagen proudly showing people this study on their website?!
How are they still claiming that this stuff boosts memory function?
Shady Tactics From Prevagen
If you read the full conclusion, you’ll see that the authors don’t let statistical insignificance stop them.
The full conclusion reads: “While no statistically significant results were observed over the entire study population, there were statistically significant results in the AD8 0-1 and AD8 0-2 subgroups. These subgroups contain individuals with either minimal or no cognitive impairment, and are the appropriate population for a dietary supplement intended to support people with mild memory loss associated with aging.”
This is called post hoc reasoning.
Post hoc is Latin, and it means “after this”.
Basically, it is when you go back and look at some results in the hope that you can find some sort of relationship buried beneath the main study criteria.
We don’t need to tell you that this is very unscientific.
You can go back and look at many study results and find some tenuous relationship between a substance and a particular subgroup – you just have to keep playing with subgroups until a relationship pops up!
This is why post hoc analyses need to be backed up with subsequent studies. These studies need to be dedicated to looking at the exact relationship in question.
In the case of apoaequorin, Prevagen obviously told their bought-and-paid-for scientists to go back and identify some sub group that did benefit from supplementation.
They did some juggling on the computer, and hey presto, we have a match!
But for this conclusion to be valid – or even remotely scientific – they will need to do another study explicitly looking at how apoaequorin supplementation affects cognition in people with very mild cognitive impairment (as they defined it).
No such study exists.
So we’re happy to go with the original, scientifically valid conclusion of the sponsored study: apoaequorin does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for cognitive function.
Jellyfish protein might have sounded exciting, but unfortunately, it doesn’t do a damn thing for your memory.
Prevagen have been officially sued by the US government for making health claims about their product that have not been properly backed up. Prevagen deny these charges. If they show up in court with their sponsored study in hand, there’s only one way that case is going to go! We will update this review as the case progresses!
Prevagen have been officially sued by the US government for making health claims about their product that have not been properly backed up. Prevagen deny these charges. If they show up in court with their sponsored study in hand, there’s only one way that case is going to go!
We will update this review as the case progresses!
Prevagen Side Effects – Is It Safe?
There have been several safety assessments conducted on apoaequorin. But worryingly, they have all been carried out by the same researcher – and these studies are published on the Prevagen website.
We know these guys are happy to sponsor studies.
We would be much happier if a couple of different researchers had carried out safety assessments.
That way we could be fairly confident that these assessments were independent.
As it stands, we’re going to take all of this with a pinch of salt. Of course, since apoaequorin has been shown to be INEFFECTIVE for improving memory function, even mild side effect risks strike us as unacceptable.
According to this study, apoaequorin is very safe and well-tolerated. The only caveat here is that it was conducted on mice!
The authors stated: “Administration of the Apoaequorin preparation did not result in any mortality. There were no clinical or ophthalmological signs, body weight, body weight gain, food consumption, food efficiency, clinical pathology or histopathological changes attributable to administration of Apoaequorin. Any changes noted were incidental and in agreement with those historically observed in the age and strain of rats used in this study.”
For rats, the conclusion was as follows: “Based on the results of this study, the No Observed-Adverse-Effect Level (NOAEL) for Apoaequorin was determined as 666.7 mg/kg bw/day, the highest dose tested.”
The same head researcher published this study in 2014. The paper was published in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology.
Like in the study cited above, the authors found that apoaequorin was safe for human consumption and was well tolerated.
They concluded: “Apoaequorin is easily digested by pepsin, a characteristic commonly exhibited by many non-allergenic dietary proteins. From these data, there is no added concern of safety due to unusual stability of the protein by ingestion.”
So judging by these papers, apoaequorin doesn’t look like it’s going to cause many users any problems.
BUT we stress that these are just two studies.
On top of that, they were conducted exclusively on RATS.
The one human study conducted on Prevagen didn’t mention any serious adverse effects. The study authors stated that it was well tolerated.
One important thing you need to bare in mind is the fact that apoaequorin doesn’t work.
It doesn’t give you any benefits.
It doesn’t improve memory function, mental clarity, or attention.
Prevagen are being used by the government for claiming otherwise.
There are countless natural supplements out there that have been thoroughly tested on humans and are known to be not only safe, but also much more effective than this stuff.
So why expose yourself to any dangers whatsoever?!
We are not doctors. This is not medical advice. It is absolutely vital that you do your own research and consult a medical professional before you use any of the supplements reviewed on this site. This is all the more important when the substances in question are so under-studied and poorly understood. Don’t try to treat serious cognitive decline with natural nootropics. Go and see a doctor!
We are not doctors.
This is not medical advice.
It is absolutely vital that you do your own research and consult a medical professional before you use any of the supplements reviewed on this site. This is all the more important when the substances in question are so under-studied and poorly understood.
Don’t try to treat serious cognitive decline with natural nootropics. Go and see a doctor!
Conclusion – Does Prevagen Work?
This might disappoint some of you, but it looks like jellyfish protein is pure snake oil.
If you’re looking for a way to protect your memory function – or even improve it – an enzyme derived from jellyfish doesn’t look like it’s going to be much help.
Apoaequorin has only been studied in humans once, and the results were conclusive: it doesn’t work.
No statistically significant difference was observed between participants using apoaequorin and those consuming rice flour.
Some groups actually saw a slight decline in test scores after 90 days of apoaequorin supplementation.
The researchers paid by Prevagen did their best to jig the results with a post hoc analysis, but we’re not falling for it.
Prevagen is just 10mg of this ineffective, under-studied enzyme coupled with a rather standard dose of Vitamin D.
Nobody is going to see significant improvements in cognitive function here. Don’t waste your money on this stuff. These guys are just peddling false promises (while they fight the US government in court for making those promises).
If you want to see genuine improvements in cognitive function, use a tried and tested, premium-quality natural nootropic. Beware of untested, unproven, shady products like Prevagen!