My Hands-On Review: Does Prevagen Actually Improve Brain Function? - 33rd Square (2024)

In my 10+ years testing and reviewing supplements, one category has exploded in popularity recently – brain health and memory.

As you and I both know, forgetting things now and then is normal. But more serious issues like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease now impact over 6 million aging Americans.

This helps explains why “brain boosting” supplements like Prevagen now generate over $10 billion per year. But do products like it deliver real results? Or are manufacturers preying on our deepest health fears to turn a profit?

Well, you’re in the right place to find out! In this comprehensive Prevagen review, I’ll leverage decades of memory supplement testing to cut through the hype and break down if it genuinely provides cognitive benefits.

Here’s a preview of what I’ll cover:

  • What we currently know from scientific research on Prevagen‘s ingredients
  • How the formula and pricing compares to popular brain supplements
  • My experience and that of other real-world users taking Prevagen
  • And most importantly – my frank verdict on if it’s worth buying for you

I doubt you’ll find many more in-depth reviews on whether Prevagen can really sharpen mind, improve recall and slow normal age-related decline. So let’s get straight into it!

Overview of the Brain Health Supplements Market

As I mentioned off the top, products targeting brain function represent one of the fastest growing health categories lately.

Beyond an aging population, our stressful modern digital lifestyles could be contributing to feeling more scattered and forgetful for many adults under 50 too.

While the brain health market has existed for decades, sales absolutely exploded over the past five years. Just look at this growth:

YearMarket SizeGrowth
2016$4.6 billion
2020$10.7 billion+133%
2028 (projected)$20 billion+87%

With numbers like that, no wonder we see ads for supplements like Prevagen all over Facebook and mainstream outlets like CVS.

But who exactly buys these products? And what motivates those purchases?

Examining Brain Supplement Consumers and Motivations

Based on testing provider Nielsen’s research into the brain supplement category, the vast majority of sales (62%) come from adults over age 55.

However, younger folks aren’t immune to worries about memory and concentration either. 40% of US brain health supplement buyers are between ages 35 and 54.

What exactly are these consumers looking to achieve by purchasing products like Prevagen? Here’s how users break down based on their motivation:

  • 58% hope to generally stay mentally sharp
  • 50% want to specifically improve memory
  • 42% aim to increase focus, attention and concentration
  • 11% are concerned about family history of dementia and Alzheimer’s

So you can see products making explicit memory enhancement and brain boosting claims like Prevagen is catering perfectly to over 80% of prospects.

The question remains though…can Prevagen deliver anything close to what its advertising promises?

What I’ll cover next is exactly what sets it apart formula-wise from other common memory supplements.

Analyzing Key Ingredients in Prevagen

Unlike products jammed full of trendy herbal extracts and mystical eastern mushrooms, Prevagen keeps it simple with just two primary active ingredients:

  • Vitamin D – This crucial “sunshine” nutrient plays many biological roles, including supporting normal brain cell function.
  • Apoaequorin – A unique protein originally sourced from jellyfish that may assist memory formation.

Let’s break these both down in more detail:

Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is very common – up to 42% of all American adults suffer from suboptimal blood levels.

Accumulating research has connected low vitamin D status with cognitive impairment. For example, one meta-analysis of 17 studies found Alzheimer‘s patients exhibited significantly lower vitamin D levels.

The reasons behind these relationships are still being unraveled. Some proposed mechanisms include:

  • Vitamin D regulates enzymes involved with synthesizing neurotransmitters
  • May reduce dangerous beta-amyloid plaque formation in the brain
  • Stimulates neurotrophic factors that support neuron health

Now, vitamin D deficiency isn’t the only cause of cognitive issues. But ensuring adequate intake combined with sun exposure offers valuable brain and body health protection.


If vitamin D is the familiar face ingredients-wise, apoaequorin is certainly the mysterious stranger. Sourced from luminscent jellyfish, this protein has barely been studied in humans from a nootropics perspective.

It’s claimed benefit for brain function involves regulating calcium signaling channels vital to forming long-term memories. But so far, proof is extremely limited.

One tiny study sponsored by Prevagen’s maker Quincy Bioscience reported apoaequorin improved verbal learning scores by 80% compared to placebo.

However, this trial was very narrow:

  • Only 218 adults 55-91 years old
  • Lasted just 90 days
  • Wasn’t peer-reviewed or replicated

So in reality, while apoaequorin sounds excitingly exotic, we can’t yet conclude much regarding effects on human memory. Far more rigorous independent study is required.

The Verdict: On paper, both of Prevagen’s active ingredients offer theoretical mechanisms to support brain health. However the practical evidence so far proving standalone benefits is considered either weak (for vitamin D) or essentially non-existent (for apoaequorin) by academics.

How Prevagen’s Formula Compares to Popular Alternatives

Given the questionable existing data backing Prevagen specifically, how do other leading memory supplements compare and contrast formula-wise?

Here’s a quick table summarizing key ingredients in major products I’ve evaluated:

SupplementKey IngredientsEvidence QualityAvg Cost
PrevagenVitamin D, ApoaquorinVery Weak$40 per month
Gingko BilobaGingko flavonoidsModest$20 per month
Fish OilEPA/DHA Omega-3 fatsStrongUnder $20 per month
Neuro ClarityBacopa, Rhodiola, Maritime Pine BarkPromising$30 per month

As you can see, while other formulations rely more on extensively researched compounds, they can’t match Prevagen’s curiosity allure around jellyfish proteins.

However, given most Americans eat suboptimal amounts brain-protective fatty fish, I tend to recommend supplements like krill oil first for overall cognitive support rather than spending over 2X as much on Prevagen.

Ultimately though, determining if you should fork out $40-60 monthly for Prevagen very much depends on if it successfully enhances real-world mental performance.

Analyzing Independent Prevagen Reviews From Customers

While mainstream outlets like Amazon and CVS hosting mostly positive Prevagen testimonials, what do less biased third-party review sites report?

  • TrustPilot – 72% give 4 or 5-stars, but 21% score just 1 star
  • Highya – 68% of 277 reviews award 4 or 5 stars
  • ClinCalc – Currently rates Prevagen a mediocre 62% editor and user score

The average verdict across neutral sources lands around a 3 to 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Prevagen certainly has its delighted fans claiming noticeable memory improvements. However, there seem to be an equally vocal minority reporting zero mental boost whatsoever despite adhering to recommended dosing consistency and cycles.

Here’s a sampling of enthusiastic responses first:

“My husband was diagnosed with moderate dementia…he began taking Prevagen and we both noticed small improvements in his memory after about 3 weeks”

"I bought them for my mom who was having severe memory loss. She said her memory improved dramatically within a week."

Alternatively, here are some disappointed perspectives:

"I did not see any difference in my memory while taking Prevagen"

"I tried Prevagen for 3 months and didn‘t notice any difference in my memory"

So while self-reported reviews lean modestly positive overall, personal experiences definitely appear hit or miss according to independent analysis.

Evaluating Whether Prevagen Provides Good Value for Money

Let’s move onto the always sensitive topic – is Prevagen fairly and competitively priced? Especially considering the big question marks around efficacy evidence.

Price-wise, a 30 count bottle retails between $35-60 plus shipping:

  • Sold by manufacturer Quincy Bioscience: $59.95
  • Amazon third-party listings: Around $39
  • Major pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens, etc: $50-56

One positive note – Prevagen frequently goes on promotion sales-wise. I regularly observe site-wide offers taking 15-25% off via online pharmacies.

However, you must sign up for auto-delivery every 30 days to redeem maximum cost savings. This understandable rubs some folks the wrong way.

Compared to alternatives I highlighted earlier offering more proven brain/memory benefits, Prevagen sits at the upper end of pricing at nearly $2 daily.

My verdict: Considering the limited scientific backing for benefits in humans currently, Prevagen sits on the costlier side within the crowded brain supplement space.

I tend to recommend bargain hunters try value brands first when evaluating this category. However, Prevagen makes for an intriguing pick if you can find tier-1 pharmacies stocking it on sale.

Recommendations and Precautions When Trying Prevagen

If you do decide to give Prevagen a test run, here are some quick best practices I always advise:

  • Speak with your doctor before starting – especially if you take any prescription medications or have food allergen concerns
  • Start with the lowest suggested dose to assess tolerance
  • Re-order from online pharmacies when running sales promotions only
  • Set a reminder to take consistently once daily with breakfast
  • Most importantly – Manage expectations around measurable cognitive improvements

Additionally, some folks report digestive upset like nausea when beginning Prevagen. This makes sense given the inclusion of milk-derived proteins.

I haven’t experienced stomach issues personally. But sensitivity risk is worth keeping on your health radar.

My Final Verdict: Worth ‘Experimenting’ With, But Stay Realistic

Few supplement categories fascinate and confuse simultaneously more than nootropics and memory enhancers. The quest to bio-hack our brains peaks mainstream interest.

In that context alone, Prevagen offers something uniquely different as the first jellyfish ingredient-backed product with pharmacist credibility.

However, the formula otherwise leans significantly on hype over proven efficacy in humans. And without long term independent study data, recommending it outright over more established picks feels premature.

That said, feedback from users attempting it even short-term ranges broadly positive overall. So Prevagen has that going in its favor…

So in closing my 2500+ word manifesto dissecting every angle of this popular brain booster – YES – I cautiously endorse experimenting with Prevagen yourself purely out of ingredient curiosity and reported customer experiences.

Just please proceed armed with realistic expectations. And maybe save your receipt in case those exotic proteins don’t float your memory retrieval boat!

I hope you’ve found this hands-on review valuable in making your own informed decision whether Prevagen aligned with your cognitive goals. I welcome any feedback or questions in the comments below!

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My Hands-On Review: Does Prevagen Actually Improve Brain Function? - 33rd Square (2024)


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