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Prevagen Apoaequorin, 30-Count Bottle
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1,459 of 1,513 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 2012
Quincy Bioscience Prevagen (30 caps)
Prevagen Apoaequorin, 30-Count Bottle

I took Prevagen for 60 days and my memory recall definitely seemed like what it had been when I was younger. When I ran out recall appeared worse, worse than it had been prior to my stint as a guinea pig. Given the absence of human safety studies, this apparent memory decline would raise alarms if the apoaequorin protein, which is the active ingredient in Prevagen, were able to not only survive the digestive system without being digested (which is iffy), but also cross the blood-brain barrier. I will return to its impact on my memory, and what I do suggest, but first, more basic information on Prevagen.

With regard to the effectiveness of Prevagen, size matters a lot. You have as much hope of catching a gorilla in a havahart trap as apoaequorin has as of crossing the blood-brain barrier. To cross the blood-brain barrier, one of the requirements a molecule must meet is to be smaller than the doorway, which is 400 Daltons, a unit of measurement for molecules. Apoaequorin is 22,885 Daltons, much too big to fit through a 400 Dalton size entranceway.

It is a terrible shame that apoaequorin can't cross the blood-brain barrier because there is evidence that it is neuroprotective. When apoaequorin actually gets into the brain, it provides protection for neurons from neurotoxic levels of calcium released by overstimulated NMDA receptors. These finicky NMDA receptors are especially overstimulated by stress as well as when oxygen is restored after a period of lack of oxygen, as may occur in stroke, near downing or heart attack. In case you were wondering, this does Not mean that you should reduce your calcium intake. Calcium deficiency will not protect your memory, but calcium deficiency it will hurt your bones. What you should reduce is high stress, chronic stress, stroke and heart attack risk, which will likely help protect your brain and your memory through multiple mechanisms. While on the subject, high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, excess alcohol and, as you might expect, head injuries also tend to rust even the best steel trap mind.

So how do we know that apoaequorin is neuroprotective when it can't get into the brain? The short answer is that it is injected into the brain with a needle. In the June 11, 2010 U.S. patent "Method of treating ischemic injury with apoaequorin" obtained by Mark Underwood of Quincy Bioscience, apoaequorin was directly injected into the rats' brains. To be more precise, the rodent scalps were excised and retracted - in laymen's terms the rats were scalped. Then a stereotaxic device was used to screw a tiny steel tube into the skull and apoaequorin was injected directly into the hippocampus of the rat brain. As an aside, the hippocampus is a major component in your memory network and it has the distinction of responding to mental exercise by beefing up.

Studies on the Prevagen website describe the effectiveness of taking Prevagen as a pill. However, none of these studies were published in a peer reviewed scientific journal and there is no indication of any being in submission for publication. There was one presentation at a conference, but again, no evidence that it was submitted for publication. This seems fishy. Even if they had been published, science and common sense require that individuals without a financial interest replicate this work.

So, if Prevagen is a scam, then why did my memory improve? As a neuropsychologist who has administered thousands of memory tests, I can say that an important factor in whether someone remembers is how long they struggle with retrieval before giving up. While on this placebo, I worked longer and harder at pulling up the memory because I expected to find what I was looking for. Because I almost never gave up I eventually succeeded in remembering.

My advice is not - just try longer, but this is part of my advice. Although you can't protect your neurons pharmacologically with apoaequorin after they come under attack, you can do something much better. You can take steps to prevent them from coming under attack in the first place.

Many studies have shown that humans and animals with elevated stress exhibit poorer memory and a higher rate of age related memory decline as well as a faster rate of brain atrophy. An important mechanism in causing this to occur is that psychological stress overstimulates the NMDA receptors. We also know that if you get optimal sleep, and few Americans do, then your memory will work better and you will be under less stress. Physical exercise, in addition to stimulating the brain, also reduces stress. Actively altering thoughts that induce fight or flight reactions can seriously reduce stress. We are talking lifestyle, which is now sometimes called Lifestyle Medicine. This is not a miracle cure by any means, but it is more important and in some ways more basic than what Prevagen claims to do. Nonetheless, whatever you do, there is a good chance that, if you live long enough, your brain will shrink and your memory will decline with age, but lifestyle can slow the process.

This is not to say that there aren't supplements that might actually protect your brain and improve your memory at a basic level by reducing neurotoxic NMDA receptor overstimulation. Based on published studies, magnesium threonate does cross the blood-brain barrier and it has improved memory in animal studies. Although it is for sale now, the human research is yet to be published. Still, it is a better bet than Prevagen.

If you take magnesium threonate or any other supplement as a substitute for working your hardest to modify lifestyle factors, then you are not utilizing the best available knowledge. What you are doing is betting on unvalidated or only partially validated claims coming from people with financial interests. Should you take a substance before it is fully tested, or, for that matter, even after it is "fully" tested? Like financial investing, what you should do depends on your risk tolerance.

2/20/13 Update: To underscore that taking supplements entails possible risks, as well as possible benefits, the FDA has received over 1000 reports of adverse effects from Prevagen. An excerpt from the 10/16/12 Warning Letter the FDA sent to the manufacturer follows: "... you failed to report to FDA adverse events like seizures, strokes, and worsening symptoms of multiple sclerosis that had been reported to your firm as being associated with use of Prevagen products. Some of these adverse events resulted in hospitalization. In total, our inspection found records of more than 1000 adverse events and product complaints that had been reported to your firm between May 2008 and December 1, 2011. Some of these involved heart arrhythmias, chest pain, vertigo, tremors, and syncope (fainting), in addition to the seizures, strokes, and worsening of multiple sclerosis already mentioned. As of the beginning of the inspection, only two of these adverse events had been reported to FDA or investigated by your firm."
[...]
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331 of 352 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2011
Having a degree in biochemistry, it's my opinion that Prevagen does almost nothing more than the placebo effect. Disregarding the sketchy clinical trials cited, the active ingredient is a protein compound (apo-Aequorin) that gets broken down upon digestion into its component amino acids. While Aequorin certainly does bind calcium, even if it did survive digestion it is unlikely to pass the blood-brain barrier and is more likely to bind calcium in the body first. At best it is a dose of protein and, by the looks of the other ingredients, EDTA, which is known to chelate (i.e., bind) calcium and other metal ions like iron. This could probably pass the blood-brain barrier, however higher doses of EDTA (2 g/kg) are known to be toxic to lab rats and the quantity of EDTA in Prevagen is unreported. If the purported effects of Prevagen work as a placebo for you or your loved one, by all means, continue. Though in my opinion the best way to promote healthy brain function is through intake of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils. These have been rigorously proven to lower risks of depression, suicide, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and psoriasis, and have even been shown to benefit pregnancies. These essential oils (EPA and DHA, specifically) can be taken as pills as well but do look for organic, ethically-farmed products.
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288 of 310 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2009
Verified Purchase
I have just completed 30 days of Prevagen and have thus emptied the bottle. I am sorry to say that the product was completely and utterly ineffective. So ineffective I cannot even remember the reasons why I was persuaded that it would work. My short term memory is just as bad if not worse than when I started. I did not expect that it would cure my memory problem completely but I did expect some good benefit. Consequently, I'm really disapointed.

There was no way to rate this item on your scale but from my review it should be obvious. I'm not sure why Amazon says I rate it a 2.

I hope either the product or my review helps someone else.
\
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114 of 120 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2014
As soon as I saw the Prevagen advertisement I became intrigued. I too am a slave to my memory where I wish I could cram additional items into my brain as I go about my busy day working, looking after my family, keeping up with future events & trying to go to school. I called within the selected timeline, spoke to one of the individuals, ordered the designated product which allotted me the free S&H along with the additional gifts that were promised. When I asked if there were any side effected to Prevagen, I was told, "there are no side effects." It wasn't until I received a call from the advertiser the following day stating that since I was located outside the US they could not justify some of the perks as advertised but if I paid extra I would still get the product. I declined. Then I did some extra digging and this is what I found out:

2/20/13 Update: To underscore that taking supplements entails possible risks, as well as possible benefits, the FDA has received over 1000 reports of adverse effects from Prevagen. An excerpt from the 10/16/12 Warning Letter the FDA sent to the manufacturer follows: "... you failed to report to FDA adverse events like seizures, strokes, and worsening symptoms of multiple sclerosis that had been reported to your firm as being associated with use of Prevagen products. Some of these adverse events resulted in hospitalization. In total, our inspection found records of more than 1000 adverse events and product complaints that had been reported to your firm between May 2008 and December 1, 2011. Some of these involved heart arrhythmias, chest pain, vertigo, tremors, and syncope (fainting), in addition to the seizures, strokes, and worsening of multiple sclerosis already mentioned. As of the beginning of the inspection, only two of these adverse events had been reported to FDA or investigated by your firm."

It seems as though the FDA has indicated the warnings of this product but the advertisers have refused to note this on the product. Please be aware of all those who purchase this product.
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231 of 249 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2010
The science is completely unproven. The small study they tout had a small sample set (56). The "study" was paid for by the company and is not double blind - no idea if a placebo would have similar effect. If this stuff works the company should be happy to provide studies with clear scientific methodology.

The small rodent study is also unclear as to scientific conclusions as they tell you that more brains cells survive, but its unclear if that is statistically significant or repeatable. If rodent brain cells "survive longer" does that automatically imply that humans will become smarter by consuming this? I do not believe so, its a huge leap of logic - and unproven.

Its also quite interesting that nearly all the 5 star reviews are from reviewers that don't show up on amazon.com reviews anywhere else. Apparently those folks don't review any of the wonderful books on amazon.com... I find that a bit suspicious.

Please consider carefully before purchasing. Please consider the "science" or lack thereof.

Thanks.
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376 of 420 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2009
I do scientific (not medical) research on the proteins which are contained in this supplement, and there is no reason that this product, a calcium-binding protein, will help you.

As they are legally required to say on their own web site: "This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease." Their "research" consists of cells in a culture dish and has no relation to human mental acuity. In the past, the creators have tried to mislead people into thinking that this is the jellyfish protein that won the Nobel Prize in 2008 (it's not). The lies do not end there: the "testimonials" on their site come from easily found stock photos (unless the same people are also fluent in French and also concerned about Italian osteopathy -- aah, the irony).

If you ingested EDTA or another calcium-binding chemical, it would be more effective at pulling calcium from your bloodstream than this protein. Proteins will not cross the blood-brain barrier, and they will largely be digested before leaving your system, releasing any calcium they might have bound. Even if this product *did* work to remove calcium, in the age groups that they are targeting, you should probably be taking calcium *supplements* and not trying to leach it out of your system. My grandfather died of complications from a broken hip, and he is not the only one.

Please do not be fooled.
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100 of 109 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2010
Verified Purchase
Well, I have to say that my months supply of Prevagen is almost gone and I felt absolutely NOTHING! I was hoping to feel more alert along with maybe some improvement in memory, but I feel absolutely no difference. To me... not worth the money.
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84 of 94 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2011
Maybe it's me - within an hour of taking one capsule, I felt like I was drugged (and no, I do not have seafood allergies). It made me so lethargic and foggy, I had to lie down, where I then slept for 3 hours. Even after getting up, I was still very, very brain-foggy. Very scary feeling. It's now a week later and although the druggy feeling is subsiding a little, it is still very much present. I had taken 'Brain Elevate' (by: Now) in the past which worked well and is far, far less expensive. It worked well, but a friend had recommended Prevagen so I decided to try it - WHAT A MISTAKE!! Don't waste the $$$!
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2014
I bought the Prevagen extra strength elsewhere...gave me chest pains. So I started researching the product and found that the maker is being scrutinized by the FDA...Other notables are saying such things as "Far more scathing in his criticism is UW-Madison neuroscientist Baron Chanda. "This product doesn't make sense. It's basically quackery," he says after reviewing some of the online Prevagen research. He says there is no way the apoaequorin protein could survive the digestive tract and make its way to the brain. Prevagen purchasers, he suggests, are basically being played for "suckers." "

My advice is to save your money, exercise regularly, shift your diet away from processed foods (processed grains) and towards lower calorie green vegetables and lose weight gradually through life style changes...take curry powder or curcumin supplements daily (they do seem to be beneficial on many fronts)...these are the best ways to stave off cancer, diabetes, heart disease, dementia and other common conditions naturally arising from being an inactive, self-indulgent, careless, aging adult.
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81 of 94 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2010
Verified Purchase
My mother has alzheimers, I was listening to a radio program on how prevagen would help. My mother has been on this medication long enough for it to be in her system. I have not seen any change. I am not looking for a miricale, just something to keep her from getting so frustrated.
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