Product Name: Prevagen
Product Description: Prevagen claims to reverse memory loss, prevent cognitive decline and improve memory function. Prevagen uses one ingredient; apoaequorin, a jellyfish protein.
Brand: Quincy Bioscience
Offer price: 39.95
Focus, Learning & Memory
Neuroplasticity & Brain Health
Value For Money
Prevegan is a blatant scam as far as I’m concerned (and according to the FTC). It uses one active ingredient which has never been proven to work by scientific study. The only evidence the company provides are PDFs published by them on their own website – hardly scientific! The supplement company behind Prevagen seems extremely shady and deceptive. I recommend you stay well away.
See our current top rated nootropics:
Jellyfish protein completely unproven by independent clinical trials
One ingredient will never provide total cognitive enhancement
Quincy Bioscience is being suded bv the FTC for “deceiving aging Americans”
What Is Prevagen?
Prevagen is perhaps one of the most widely-recognized nootropics in the United States and Canada, where it is heavily advertised on TV and online. Unlike most natural nootropic supplements today, Prevagen is not sold as a cognitive performance enhancer. Instead, Prevagen is primarily sold as a pharmacist-recommended memory supplement; the manufacturer company website says that Prevagen can improve cognition in older people with “normal cognitive aging or very mild impairment”.
More specifically, the Prevagen website claims that this nootropic can:
- Protect against memory loss associated with aging
- Promote overall cognitive function
- Help reverse symptoms of age-related cognitive decline and mild cognitive impairment
- Provide “cell supporting” activity which prevents brain cell aging and related cognitive decline
These may sound like quite mild claims to some of you, but they are far from pedestrian; these are spectacularly bold claims for a natural supplement. The pharmaceutical industry has still not come up with a reliable treatment for age related memory loss, and there is no known way to prevent age-related cognitive decline.
If Prevagen can really do this, it would be groundbreaking stuff.
So, can it? Does Prevagen really work? Does it really help memory function? Is Prevagen safe? What are the side effects? Do pharmacists really recommend Prevagen? What is apoaequorin? Is it the best nootropic for memory enhancement? Can it compete with Mind Lab Pro? I answer all of these questions in my full Prevagen review below – check it out! Please feel free to share your own Prevagen review in the comments if you’ve tried it!
What is in Prevagen? The Prevagen ingredients list is the first thing that all Prevagen reviews need to focus on, ad this is what determines the effectiveness of the nootropic.
Here is the Prevagen ingredients list as it appears on the bottle:
Here is a list of Prevagen’s ingredients with dosages in case that image doesn’t load:
- Vitamin D (as D3) – 50mcg
- Apoaequorin – 10mg
Please note that this is the formula for the original Prevagen . There are now different products such as Prevagen Extra Strength, which has 20mg of Apoaequorin, and Prevagen Professional, which contains 50mg of the stuff. The Vitamin D content always stays the same.
As you can see, Prevagen is actually just some Vitamin D coupled with a mysterious ingredient called Apoaequorin. As Vitamin D has no meaningful nootropic effects, we’ll spend the rest of the review focused exclusively on apoaequorin.
I probably don’t need to tell you that this is highly unusual. Most good nootropic supplements promising to improve memory, support brain health and enhance overall cognitive function will combine several different nootropics which all have different mechanisms of action. Generally speaking, the best nootropics will increase neurotransmitter production, reduce stress, improve circulation, and more. To do this, they use a group of proven ingredients.
Quincy Bioscience is therefore clearly confident that Apoaequorin is basically a miracle drug, capable of reversing memory loss and potentially even helping people avoid Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. Apparently, no other nootropics are necessary.
So, what is Apoaequorin and does it work?
What Is Apoaequorin?
Apoaequorin is a protein found in jellyfish. It is the active ingredient in Prevagen, and the focus of all the “science” carried out by Quincy Bioscience “researchers”. According to the Prevagen website, apoaequorin has been “clinically shown to be safe and improve memory and support brain function”.
What clinical trial are they talking about here?
Quincy Bioscience is here referring to the so-called “Madison Study“. This was an in-house clinical trial, carried out by Quincy Bioscience researchers, to determine the effect of apoaequorin on scores in various memory tests.
Quincy Bioscience claims that this “Madison Study” showed a significant improvement in memory function in people given apoaequorin after 90 days. But if you delve into the data, the results are not quite what they seem.
Apoaequoring Research Evidence: Far from convincing
Right away in the Madison Study report, the “researchers” state that there was no statistically meaningful difference in memory function between all treatment groups and placebo over the 90 days.
However, the “scientists” did find a pattern int he data. It seems apoaequorin improved memory function in people with mild cognitive impairment:
“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 sounds promising, until you see the “statistically significant” improvements in memory function they’re talking about.
At Day 60 of the trial, the best responding group to apoaequorin showed a 7% improvement in ISL scores (ISL is a word memorization test used to measure memory loss). At the same point in the trial, the placebo control group showed a 4% improvement.
THAT’S A 3% EDGE IN FAVOR OF APOAEQUORIN!
This is in the group of strongest responders.
In the other subgroup identified by Quincy Bioscience’s data as good responders, the difference between placebo and treatment groups was 0.84% at Day 60.
I can go through the other memory tests used by Quincy Bioscience and tell the same story; very marginal relative improvements between carefully selected groups of participants. But there’s no point. All of this is academic, because this is not an independent clinical trial.
I’ll repeat: THIS IS NOT AN INDEPENDENT, PEER-REVIEWED CLINICAL TRIAL.
It is not a study.
it is just a PDF published on Quincy Bioscience’s website. it is not an academic article, and it does not show conclusive, repeatable data. The company knows that they’re not going to be held to the same standards as the pharmaceutical industry as they make no concrete health claims (although they do suggest and imply that Prevagen can treat memory loss).
Any talk of the discovery of a novel health-promoting substance obtained from some obscure animal needs to be treated with extreme suspicion. Apoaequorin is no different. Supplement companies often misrepresent data and information to make sales. In this case, Quincy Bioscience have taken chance results showing improvements in memory function and represented them as proof of major benefits of Prevagen’s only active ingredient.
Don’t fall for it.
What is in Prevagen?
The only ingredient in Prevagen apart from Vitamin D is apoaequorin, a protein that supposedly improves memory, thinking speed, and overall cognition. Apoaequorin was originally discovered in jellyfish and is patented by Quincy Bioscience for use in a variety of products to support cognitive function. However, apoaequorin has never been proven to actually work.
How Does Prevagen Work?
Does Prevagen work as advertised?
No it doesn’t – that’s the simple answer.
But how does Prevagen claim to work?
Quincy Bioscience’s explanation of the mechanism of action of Prevagen is deliberately vague: “Laboratory research has demonstrated that Prevagen has powerful cell supporting activity by providing a protein originally found in jellyfish. In aging, these proteins are depleted leaving brain cells vulnerable to damage.”
Whenever you see vague statements like “cell supporting activity” without any further explanation or concrete science, you know you’re dealing with a scam. None of the “research” posted on the Prevagen website explains how the product actually works. All we’re told is that it contains a special protein with amazing properties.
Classic snake oil stuff!
Formula Analysis: Does Prevagen Really Improve Memory?
Does Prevagen really improve memory?
In a word, no. I do not think Prevagen stands any chance of delivering on the promises made by Quincy Bioscience, be it improving memory, preventing memory loss, or slowing cognitive decline. Prevagen is just a completely unproven jellyfish protein coupled with Vitamin D; hardly a powerful nootropic stack!
Most good nootropics – or rather, nootropic stacks – combine several different ingredients which all have different, but complimentary, mechanisms of action. In more simple terms, the best nootropics today all contain multiple ingredients which improve different aspects of brain function in different ways.
This is because the brain is an extremely complicated organ, and its functions more so; improving overall cognitive function typically requires making more than one change in the brain. For example, Mind Lab Pro enhances cerebral circulation, increases acetylcholine synthesis, raises dopamine, and stimulates neuron growth. Other nootropics actively reduce stress and anxiety, promote serotonin synthesis, and protect brain cells from oxidative damage.
If you’re experiencing memory loss, then chances are there are multiple different causes all happening at once. You could have poor circulation (as is the case with vascular dementia), your acetylcholine levels may be low, you may be experiencing neuron atrophy, and so on. Perhaps you’re experiencing all of these things at once!
There is no one nootropic substance capable of delivering total cognitive enhancement, as mental performance is dependent on so many different facets of brain function.
Even if there was, apoaequorin is not it! This is a completely unproven substance as far as cognitive enhancement and memory loss is concerned. None of the in-house studies used by Quincy Bioscience as evidence are remotely convincing, and there are no independent clinical trials showing apoaequorin working as advertised.
Prevagen is a scam
Overall then, I feel comfortable calling Prevagen a scam. There’s no reason to believe Quincy Bioscience’s claims about this nootropic. In fact, there’s good reason to view them as outright lies.
The evidence Quincy Bioscience present to support their claims was not carried out by independent researchers, and it does not meet the standards accepted by most scientists as scientific evidence. On closer analysis, it appears that apoaequorin is a gimmick which does absolutely nothing for cognitive function.
If you’re suffering from memory loss or age-related cognitive decline, then you need to speak to a doctor. Do not try to reverse or treat cognitive impairment with supplements. Especially when they’re products like Prevagen; making ridiculous claims and using a single, unproven, gimmicky ingredient.
There are nootropics, such as Mind Lab Pro, capable of enhancing cognitive function by a significant degree. These nootropics may also help slow the onset of cognitive decline by promoting cerebral blood flow, preventing oxidative damage, and supporting healthy brain cell development and activity. These supplements use several ingredients proven by hard scientific trials, and they target multiple different measures of cognitive performance.
Can Prevagen Treat Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia?
No, Prevagen cannot treat or reverse Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, or any other cognitive diseases. Prevagen’s manufacturer knows that this product cannot treat any diseases, and they say so explicitly on their website. They make a big deal out of being a dietary supplement, not a drug. Yet Alzheimer’s Disease patients frequently ask if Prevagen can help them.
The thinking here is that, if Prevagen can help with mild cognitive impairment, then maybe it is good for more serious cases of cognitive impairment, like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
This thinking is deeply flawed, of course. The studies that report benefits from apoaequorin do not show significant improvements in memory function; only slight differences.
The experts have made it clear that there is no way Prevagen is capable of affecting the progression or severity of conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, or any other condition related to brain health.
For practical purposes, doing daily brain teasers is likely going to have the same benefits as taking Prevagen every day, only without any of the safety concerns that come with using weird proteins taken from jellyfish, and without the $500 a year price tag. Looking after your brain health and practicing memory tests on a regular basis will probably do more for your memory than Prevagen ever could!
All “evidence” on apoaequorin is severely suspect and the “research trials” were all conducted by the manufacturer. Scams are pretty common in the supplement industry, but what Quincy Bioscience is trying to do here is particularly shameful. It’s no wonder the FTC took them to court!
If you think you are showing early signs of cognitive impairment or a related memory condition, please talk to a medical professional; ideally an expert in cognitive conditions. People with early diagnosed Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia have many more treatment options available to them than people who caught the condition late. Prevagen cannot treat or reverse cognitive diseases, conditions, or impairment.
Prevagen/Quincy Bioscience Lawsuit!
Many people are surprised to learn that Prevagen has actually been sued by the United States government.
In fact, more than one lawsuit has been brought against the makers of Prevagen over their use of misleading advertising and bogus science.
The most recent lawsuit has been brought against Prevagen’s maker by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). According to the FTC, Prevagen ads have said the supplement was “clinically shown” to improve people’s memory. The FTC and New York Attorney General filed a lawsuit against the supplement company, saying Prevagen advertising claims were purposefully misleading. However, a Federal District Court Judge in New York dismissed the lawsuit, saying the plaintiffs had not shown that Prevagen advertising was purposefully misleading.
This is not the first time the FTC has gone after Prevagen and Quincy Bioscience. An earlier report by the regulatory body states that Prevagen is “deceiving millions of aging Americans” with shady science and misleading medical advice. Specifically, the governing body states that Prevagen is scamming older people with its claims about reversing memory loss.
While claims about supporting brain health are not seen as medical claims, Prevagen does walk a fine line between supplements and pharmaceuticals. It claims to have hard evidence that its only ingredient can help people with cognitive impairment, when in reality this “evidence” cannot be called scientific.
in my opinion, the complaints about Prevagen brought forward by governing bodies have all been sound. Prevagen does make health claims based on shady science, and it is clearly deceiving aging Americans by the thousands.
As a dietary supplement, Prevagen is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Quincy Bioscience are careful not to present themselves as anything other than a dietary supplement. If they did, I think there’d definitely be another lawsuit happening!
Prevagen Side Effects & Safety: Is it safe to take?
Is Prevagen safe to take? Will it cause side effects?
This is probably the most important question Prevagen reviews can answer.
According to research published by, you guessed it, Quincy Bioscience, apoaequorin is safe to consume in doses up to 4000 times the dosages used in Prevagen.
This conclusion was reached using a toxicity study; a common way to determine the safety of nutritional supplements. Rats were given large doses of apoaequorin (90-900mg/kg bodyweight) every day for 90 days. It is worth quoting the conclusion of the study in full:
“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. 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.”
However, please remember that this study was looking at the safety of apoaequorin in rats. This does not mean that this product is safe for human use.
Apoaequorin was put through a human clinical trial, and no adverse reactions were recorded. But again, this was an in-house study conducted by the supplement company itself; it was not a proper, peer-reviewed study carried out by medical professionals using supervised patients suffering with cognitive impairment.
I cannot possibly comment on whether or not Prevagen is safe for patients with cognitive conditions, or even otherwise healthy people, because this is yet to be tested through independent study. Since Prevagen uses such an unusual
Possible Prevagen side effects
Prevagen users should look out for possible adverse reactions and side effects, including:
- Stomach discomfort
- Skin rashes
- Loss of focus
- Low mood
Prevagen side effects are likely to be highly unpredictable since Prevagen’s active ingredient has not been thoroughly tested in independent clinical trials. As such, Prevagen’s side effects are not known.
This is not medical advice. I am not a qualified medical professional or health care provider, and as such nothing you read on this website should be taken as medical advice. You must do your own research carefully before using any nootropics, even if they have been specifically studied for their safety. Please talk to a qualified healthcare professional, ideally your usual MD, before you use any memory supplements. If you experience any adverse reactions side effects from Prevagen, stop using it immediately and seek medical attention. Prevagen side effects can be unpredictable as the active ingredient has not been well tested.
Prevagen Cost: Are There Better Value Memory Supplements?
Few Prevagen reviews focus on the pricing aspect of this supplement (because there’s so much to talk about), but it is important.
In my opinion, every Prevagen review should spend a great deal of time talking about the outrageous price tag of this memory supplement.
So, how much does Prevagen cost? What is Prevagen’s price tag?
Quincy Bioscience charge $39.95 for Regular Strength Prevagen, and up to $74.99 for Prevagen Extra Strength (for a 60 capsule bottle).
At this price, Prevagen works out at $1.33 per day, or almost $500 per year.
Considering there is very little chance you’re going to get any benefits out of using Prevagen, even $1.33 seems extremely pricey to me. Particularly given that Prevagen is just one active ingredient and some basic Vitamin D, $40 a bottle seems very expensive. For the same price, you can get a top-shelf natural nootropic actually backed by hard science and countless user reviews.
Prevagen Review Conclusion: Does Prevagen really Work?
Does Prevagen really work? Will it help reverse cognitive impairment and memory loss?
No, Prevagen does not really work. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which charged Quincy Bioscience with false and deceptive advertising, the “study” carried out by Prevagen’s makers found that Prevagen did not work any better than a placebo at improving any of the nine cognitive skills, including memory, measured by the company.
The science backing Prevagen is shaky at best, and outright dishonest at worst. None of the “research” provided by Quincy Bioscience is peer-reviewed or regulated by third party bodies. It is all just stuff written on a PDF and published on the Prevagen website. No “evidence” has been replicated in other studies, and none of the articles on the Prevagen website explain how the main ingredient works.
Available evidence does not convincingly show that the active ingredient in Prevagen is able to bring about any positive changes in mental performance or brain health. Prevagen will certainly do nothing for information processing, reactions and thinking speeds.
So, to sum up this and pretty much all other Prevagen reviews:
- Prevagen does not actually improve memory function
- All research presented as evidence that this nootropic works is meaningless as it is not peer-reviewed and is published by the manufacturer
- Even the massaged results presented by Quincy Bioscience are pretty weak (3% improvement in memory test scores after jellyfish protein supplementation)
- Prevagen is being sued by the FTC for misleading advertising, bogus science and misleading medical advice
- Other nootropics are available which do actually improve memory function to a much greater degree than jellyfish protein
There are lots of good quality brain supplements out there capable of enhancing memory function, learning, and focus. Many of the best nootropics also reduce anxiety, giving you a calm, clear mind capable of focusing entirely on the important tasks at hand. The very best nootropics in the world will also promote optimal brain health and neuroplasticity (brain cell development and adaptation).
I don’t see why anybody would use a sub-par brain supplement lacking scientific backing like Prevagen!
Does Prevagen really help memory?
No, Prevagen does not work to improve memory. The Quincy Bioscience study relied heavily on the purported memory-enhancing benefits of apoaequorin, Prevagen’s main ingredient. The study asserted that “Prevagen demonstrated the ability to improve aspects of cognitive function in older participants”, but the study was deeply flawed and the results were not much different to placebo.
Do pharmacists really recommend Prevagen?
According to Prevagen, 73% of pharmacists who recommend memory support products, recommend Prevagen. This is of course not true at all; pharmacists do not really recommend Prevagen. Quincy Bioscience obviously polled specific pharmacists to get this figure, if they reall asked any pharmacists at all. Pharmacists do not recommend supplements, especially supplements like Prevagen that lack scientific backing!
Is prevagen over the counter?
Yes, Prevagen is available over the counter. A prescription is not needed to buy Prevagen. Prevagen is not a drug but is a dietary supplement that is available over-the-counter from many stores, such as Walmart and GNC.
What is apoaequorin?
Apaoequorin is a protein found in jellyfish. It is responsible for producing the luminescence associated with certain species of jellyfish; in other words, it makes jellyfish glow in the dark. Quincy Bioscience claim that apoaequorin help with memory function, but no independent, peer-reviewed studies exist proving this to be the case.
Is Prevagen FDA approved?
No, Prevagen is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the supplement industry. Supplement companies know this; it’s why they’re able to use questionable science to sell substandard products to unwitting consumers. So long as products like Prevagen do not claim to treat actual medical conditions or serious health problems, the FDA cannot regulate them.
Do you need a prescription for Prevagen?
No, a prescription is not needed to buy Prevagen. Prevagen is a dietary supplement, not a pharmaceutical drug. It is available over-the-counter from many stores, such as Walmart and Walgreens.
Is there a lawsuit against Prevagen?
Yes, there is a lawsuit against Prevagen. Quincy Bioscience has been sued multiple times over allegations of false advertising for Prevagen, including by the US government. After hearing about the lawsuits against Prevagen, Prevagen users say they felt like their worst nightmare—of losing their memories—had been exploited by Quincy.
Paul Tardner is the Head Writer at IJEST.org. Paul is a former academic and research scientist. He now dedicates his time to his own research into nootropics, with a particular focus on cognitive enhancement in old age. You can learn more about Paul from his profile page.