Can memory improve through a simple health supplement? As research continues on the possibility, potential risks and side effects with products such as Prevagen are being examined.
Prevagen promises to improve short-term memory through its patented ingredient, apoaequorin, found in certain species of jellyfish.
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The supplement has been promoted as a memory enhancer with proteins that are lost as people age. A 2015 class-action suit charges that the manufacturer’s claims are false and claims the protein apoaequorin is destroyed in the digestive system.
The manufacturer, Quincy Bioscience, used in-house clinical trials to make its claims of memory enhancement, which were not verified by independent researchers, according to Janet, Jenner & Suggs LLC
, a nationwide law firm not involved in the suit.
The FDA investigated the company
in 2012 and found the supplement has serious side effects, including seizures and strokes, as well as worsening symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
Apoaequorin has been used in studies of calcium, WebMD reports
. The protein binds with calcium and some researchers have thought it can regulate the mineral to reduce mental decline. Calcium is believed to have a role in age-related memory function.
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The protein is possibly safe when taken by mouth and Prevagen has been used safely for 90 days, according to WebMD. However, it hasn’t been adequately analyzed for its side effects through clinical research.
Customers have reported possible side effects to Quincy Bioscience. These reactions include dizziness, nausea, and headache, as well as anxiety, insomnia, and memory problems. Some reports suggest serious side effects such as heart problems and issues related to the nervous system.
WebMD notes there is not enough evidence to show that the product or protein actually caused the side effects.
Although there have been consumer testimonials that support the memory benefits of Prevagen, consumers also report side effects and minimal results, according to BrainReference.com
, which provides independent reviews for the effectiveness of natural remedies. Because of this, the site’s editorial review recommends caution when considering the supplement.
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