- Product Name: Prevagen
- What it does: Claims to improve cognitive function
- Product dosage: 1 per day
- Price: $39.95 per month for lowest strength – $89.95 for ‘professional’ strength
- Complementary or alternative services: SelfDecode – The best option for health-focused DNA analysis with personalized reports, symptom analysis, and health recommendations.
- May improve cognitive function
- Available for purchase at many locations
- Possibly deceptive claims made in advertising campaign
- Benefits may be exaggerated
- Limited information on dosage over 90 days
Prevagen is a dietary supplement owned by Quincy Bioscience which was founded in 2004. Quincy Bioscience is led by Mark Underwood and Michael Beaman, with the former taking credit for Prevagen.
The headquarters of Quincy Bioscience is now located in Madison, Wisconsin. The company’s primary focus is ‘the discovery, development and commercialization of novel technologies to support cognitive function and other normal health challenges associated with aging’.
Prevagen, the core product of Quincy Bioscience, is a dietary supplement that claims to support cognitive function and memory to reduce the impact of brain aging. It was first brought to the market in 2007.
The key ingredient of Prevagen is apoaequorin, a jellyfish protein first discovered by scientists in the 1960s. The company claims that apoaequorin provides benefit by protecting brain cells from damage by binding to excess calcium.
Prevagen is available at a high number of locations over the counter. A list of retailers can be found on their website but popular stores include Walmart or Bed, Bath & Beyond.
The supplement is available to purchase in 9 different forms and the price depends on which product you choose. Prevagen comes in regular 10mg strength, 20mg extra strength, or as a 40mg professional formula.
- Regular strength: $39.95USD for 30 capsules
- Chewable tablets: $74.95USD for 60 tablets
- Extra strength: $59.95USD for 30 or $109.95USD for 60
- Professional 40mg capsules: $89.95USD for 30 capsules
The instructions included with these supplements suggest taking one per day for 90 days, however, there is no instruction beyond 90 days. Overall, research is very limited on the optimal and safe dosage of this product.
So down to the main question, does Prevagen really work? Does it do what it claims and improve cognitive function and memory?
Well, actually there are some questions surrounding the product’s effectiveness. In particular, both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have questioned the validity of the claims made by the owners of Prevagen, particularly those that claim it has been ‘clinically proven to improve memory’.
These questions come from the fact that the study performed by Prevagen found that there was no significant difference in the 9 cognitive skills they tested on subjects regardless of whether they took Prevagen or were in the placebo group.
The claims made by Prevagen were only identified after they performed more than 30 different unplanned post-hoc (after the fact) tests on their data, which in the end turned up three statistically significant results.
The problem with this is that typically if you analyze data after the fact like this, there is an expectation that the experiment needs to be repeated to confirm these findings to prove they weren’t just found through chance. The end result of this was the FTC deeming Prevagen’s advertising campaign to be ‘deceptive’.
There also don’t appear to be any studies which show the supplement’s key ingredient apoaequorin is capable of reaching the brain. Despite this, many still use the product and Prevagen has produced sales of more than $165 million worldwide.
As well as this, it’s worth noting that every supplement doesn’t necessarily work for every person so they could just end up being an expensive waste of energy. A much more cost and time effective way to identify whether a diet, lifestyle or supplement may be beneficial is to use a genetic testing service such as SelfDecode to find out what works for you.
So if you can’t necessarily trust what Prevagen tells you, what are people saying about the product online from their own personal experience?
Well, on Amazon from a total of 5,267 reviews at the time of writing, Prevagen’s regular strength has an average rating of 4.3 out of 5 which is more than respectable suggesting that overall customers are satisfied with the product.
That being said, there are several negative reviews ranging from complaints about Prevagen side effects such as sleeplessness to individuals seeing no benefit from the product.
As mentioned, if you’re looking to make diet, supplement or lifestyle changes to help you with cognitive function, it’s best to understand whether or not these are actually suited to you before you expend time and money on them. Companies like SelfDecode may offer an alternative or complementary approach to using Prevagen.
If you would like to boost your cognitive function for example, it may be worth utilizing a service such SelfDecode first. SelfDecode analyzes up to 83 million genetic variants and provides personalized diet, lifestyle, and supplement recommendations to help you achieve your health goals.
Whether or not Prevagen is effective is still up for debate. Going by Prevagen’s own claims plus the overall reviewer score of more than 5,000 customers on Amazon, then this supplement may well be able to counteract cognitive decline. However, concerns around the validity of the companies product claims add skepticism to their overall integrity which can’t be ignored.
A complementary or more optimal approach would be to use a company like SelfDecode to better understand your genes to identify how they’re influencing your cognitive performance. SelfDecode will give you prioritized and personalized recommendations to help you improve your overall health, all backed by science.
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