One of the most important things I tried to cover in my detailed Prevagen review was the potential side effects. However, I still regularly receive questions from concerned users about the potential health and safety risks of using Prevagen, so I thought it was worth answering th equestion on a dedicated page.
Prevagen is still an extrmeely popular and widely used nootropic supplement. Quincy Bioscience are constyantly advertising online and on TV, and their underhanded tactics lead many people to believe that this is a pharmaceutical-grade, pharmacist recommended memory supplement.
Well, it isn’t!
Prevagen is, in my personal opinion, an outright scam. It contains just one ingredient which has never been proven to work in independent clnical trials. The only evidence backing this ingredient up was published by Quincy Bioscience on their website in the style of an adcademic study.
Despite these facts – and a very public lawsuit brought against Prevagen by the FTC – people still buy Prevagen in their thousands. So, it’s important for us top consider the safety and side effect risks associated with this nootropic.
Is Prevagen safe?
What are the side effects of Prevagen?
Will Prevagen cause long-term health problems?
Let’s take a look at what is in Prevagen and find out whether or not this brain supplement is safe for everyone.
What is in Prevagen?
Prevagen is billed as a safe, natural brain supplement which delivers enhanced memory function and supports brain health.
Besides Vitamin D, Prevagen contains just one active ingredient: apoaequorin.
I have explained multiple times elsewhere on this site that apoaequorin is a protein obtained from jellyfish. As a photoprotein, apoaequorin is responsible for producing the bioluminescence associated with some jellyfish species.
Like a lot of scammy nootropics, Prevagen relies on the exotic and unusual nature of apoaequorin to trick people into thinking thta it is a potent memory enhancer; it’s a special protein only obtainable from jellyfish, so it must be a miracle drug, right?
There is absolutely no evidence that apoaequorin has any discernible effect on memory function. This is true of older people with cognitive decline and healthy young people; in either case, apoaequorin does nothing.
The “clinical trials” Quincy Bioscience are often harping on about are just in-house studies written up as PDFs and published on the company’s own website.
Such hard hitting science!
Even the results themselves put out by Quincy Bioscience are uninspiring; in one subgroup Prevagen gave participants a 3% edge over the placebo group in memory tests.
So clearly Prevagen doesn’t actually work for memory.
Its only ingredient is a complete dud.
But is it safe?
Will Prevagen cause side effects?
Considering that apoaequorin has not been properly tested by indpendent, large-scale, long-term clinical trials, I have to say that it should not be considered a safe nootropic.
In the “studies” published by Quincy Bioscience, none of the participants reported serious or notable adverse effects. As far as I can tell not a single participant reported any side effects of any kind.
However, you need to keep in mind the fact that this is just a PDF describing a trial, published only on the manufacturer’s website. This trial was not carried out under third-party supervision, and it has not been repeated by independent medical researchers.
To make matters worse, we know that Quincy Bioscience are not afraid to falsify study results. In the lawsuit brough against the company by the FTC, the regulatory body said that Quincy Bioscience was deceiving the American people by making claims not substantiated by their research. The FTC said that Quincy Bioscience’s own studies did not show that Prevagen improved memory function, let alone that it is an effective treatment for cognitive decline or memory loss.
So obviously we cannot trust the side effect reports 100%.
The simple fact is, if a substance has not been put through independent clinical trials, then it cannot be considered safe.
We have no way of knowing what side effects Prevagen is likely to produce. We certainly have no idea what the long-term side effects of Prevagen might be.
That said, we do have a list of probable side effects of Prevagen from user reports and from the little we do know about the ingredients.
The negative side effects of Prevagen include, but are not limited to:
- Stomach cramps
- Memory impairment
- Blotchy skin
- Increased heart rate
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
Until some good, long-term clinical trials come out, I’m advising everybody to stay away! Read our review of Prevagen and our comparison of Prevagen and Neuriva to learn more about the pros and cons of the nootropic.
Does Prevagen cause strokes?
There is some evidence that Prevagen causes strokes. The FDA claims that Quincy Bioscience has not disclosed over a thousand reported adverse reactions to Prevagen including seizures, strokes, and worsening symptoms of multiple sclerosis as well as chest pains, tremors, fainting and curiously, memory impairment and confusion.
While strokes and more severe side effects are very rare while using Prevagen, we have to factor these risks in when judging the safety of Prevagen.
So is Prevagen safe to take long-term?
According to a spokesperson for Quincy Bioscience, “Prevagen has been thoroughly tested and has GRAS [Generally Recognized As Safe] status, i.e., it is generally recognized as safe”.
However, we’re not convinced. Prevagen does not look like a safe nootropic. It lacks extensive clinical testing by independent third parties, and there is some evidence it may cause serious side effects.
Who Should Not Take Prevagen?
Prevagen, a dietary supplement marketed for cognitive enhancement, has garnered significant attention, not all of it positive. Its primary ingredient, apoaequorin, a protein derived from jellyfish, remains largely untested for long-term safety and efficacy in humans. While some supplements undergo rigorous scientific scrutiny before reaching consumers, apoaequorin’s effects on human cognition are not well-established.
More concerning is the fact that the company behind Prevagen has faced scrutiny from the U.S. federal government over potentially misleading claims about the product’s benefits. The Federal Trade Commission and the New York Attorney General’s office have both taken action against the company for making unsubstantiated claims about Prevagen’s ability to improve memory.
Given these concerns, it’s advisable for individuals to exercise caution. Until more comprehensive research is available, and the legal issues are resolved, it might be best for consumers to avoid Prevagen.
Conclusion: Does prevagen cause side effects?
A 10 mg dose of Prevagen has supposedly been used safely for up to 90 days. But it’s really unclear what side effects Prevagen might cause as this was not an independent study. Possible shot-term side effects include headaches, dizziness, and nausea.
The only study actually carried out on Prevagen was done by the manufacturer, Quincy Bioscience. They are hardly going to accurately report Prevagen having negative side effects! The active ingredient in Prevagen, apoaequorin, has never been properly tested for potential side effects either.
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.