Apoaequorin: Uses, Side Effects, Dose, & Research

What Is Apoaequorin?

Apoaequorin is a recombinant protein originally extracted from a special type of Jellyfish—known as Aequorea victoria. When this Protein is exposed to calcium, Protein and calcium bind, and blue light is produced. Apoaequorin is composed of 196 amino acids.

Since the 1960s, Jellyfish protein has been considered an adjunct treatment for people with dementia that improves memory while minimizing progressive loss of cognitive function.

Apoaequorin was initially obtained from Jellyfish, but it is now synthetically produced as a recombinant protein extracted from dried, purified, and concentrated bacteria known as E.coli. 

Most people take this Protein to improve their memory function and performance. They also used it for enhancing thinking skills that come with aging, but there is no good scientific evidence to support their use in these or other conditions.

Apoaequorin History

For more than 5 decades, this Protein has been used in laboratories to determine how calcium works inside the cells.

This Protein was first extracted in 1962 from a Jellyfish. When Apoaequorin is exposed to calcium, the Protein and calcium bind, and blue light is produced.

It is now produced mainly by a US-based company known as Quincy bioscience.

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Apoaequorin Benefits

It is used for different conditions, but there is insufficient evidence to support these claims. Here are some of the expected health benefits of taking Apoaequorin.

  • It is most commonly used for improving brain health, memory, and mental functions. Studies suggest that taking 10mg per day will enhance your cognitive abilities and mental processes. 
  • Some studies also suggest that taking 20mg of this supplement every 3 hours may also help you slow the progression of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). 
  • It is also used for improving sleep quality. For example, taking 10mg of this protein daily may also improve your sleep health. 

Please note that the FDA does not approve this protein for the above conditions. Human clinical data is limited, so more concrete evidence is needed to rate this protein’s effectiveness for the above conditions. 

What does the Research say about this Protein?

1. A study [1] sponsored by the Quincy bioscience indicates a strong relation between Apoaequorin and improved mental performance.

⇒ Findings of this study

  • Total participants were 218 age 40-91
  • They were divided into two groups—intervention (Apoaequorin) and controlled (Placebo) group.
  • The intervention group took 10 mg of Apoaequorin for 90 days, and the controlled used a placebo therapy.

After 90 days of studying both groups, the intervention group showed a significant improvement in verbal learning and recalled the ISL and the ISL-DR.

According to the study, the Apoaequorin is tolerated well and is safe to use with no side effects.

Here is what they found?

  • 10-16% improvement in verbal learning and memory in the intervention group.
  • But the control group showed a more modest (3-8%) change that was not significant.

One of the drawbacks of this study was that the author failed to compare both the groups and concluded that the Apoaequorin group work better than the controlled group.

Also, The authors of this study are affiliated with the company producing this Protein in the form of Prevagen. So we can’t fully trust a company who is already advertising this product.

2. Another animal study [2] assesses protein safety and the potential adverse events by Apoaequorin.

Tested animals were rats, and they were also divided into two groups and were given this Protein for 90 days.

Results Of the Study:

  • There were no reported adverse effects and no mortality associated with this Apoaequorin use. So this means that the Protein is safe to use with no serious side effects. 
  • However, there is no human data available on this Protein’s safety, which concludes that the Protein is 100% safe.

3. Another study [3] suggests that the intrahippocampal infusion of Apoaequorin may reverse aging‐related deficits in hippocampus‐dependent context fear memory.

How Apoaeqourin Works?

Human calcium-binding protein (Calmodulin) and Apoaequorin have the same structure. Calmodulin is thought to play a vital role in age-related mental decline and memory.

As this Protein is structurally similar to the human calcium-binding Protein, it is believed that it might help regulate calcium in the brain and reduce memory loss and mental decline.

The glowing property of Apoaequorin stood out from researchers as right on time as the 1960s. In 2008, researchers got a Nobel prize in chemistry to disclose green fluorescent Protein (GFP). GFP is like a jellyfish protein and has applications that are like those of Apoaequorin.

Scientists attached these fluorescent proteins to different other proteins. When connected, they serve as noticeable markers that scientists can easily distinguish as the body’s combined proteins change. And this has proven beneficial in advancing the scientific understanding of how proteins work.

How Apoaequorin affect the brain?

Different chemicals affect a person’s memory. These include amyloid, acetylcholine, glutamate, and calcium. In particular, increased levels of calcium in neurons are linked to their deterioration and lack of function. The production of this calcium-binding Protein in neurons decreases with age.

Remember the calcium-binding property of Apoaequorin. In the laboratory environment, it binds to calcium, lowers calcium levels, and prevents neuron death. Therefore, scientists hope that Apoaequorin benefits can be extended from the lab to human neurons in the real world.

However, according to some experts and pharmacologists, this Protein will degrade into amino acids by the stomach enzyme (Pepsin) and will not reach to brain. That’s the reason it relatively safe to use, but at the same, this property also makes it inactive.

If Apoaequorin can’t reach the brain, it is useless because we need to transport it into the brain without degrading it into amino acids.

This problem can be solved only when the Apoaequorin is bound with cholesterol molecules to protect from stomach acid. Also, cholesterol will help Apoaequorin absorb into the lymph system and help reach the brain by crossing the blood-brain barrier. [4]

The Company Who Manufacture Apoaequorin

Quincy Bioscience manufactures Apoaequorin in the form of Prevagen.

However, there are some concerns about the Prevagen false advertising claims from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)—an independent government agency committed to promoting fair trade and protecting and educating consumers. In 2017, the FTC filed a lawsuit against the Protein manufacturers (Prevagen) for false advertising claims.

In 2020, a separate class-action lawsuit was filed against the company that makes up the product. The company agreed to partially pay the people who bought the product and changed the product label details.

Apoaequorin Side Effects

Is it Safe to use Apoaeqourin?

While it is still unknown to work for memory improvement, some in-vivo and in-vitro studies suggest that the Protein at self is tolerated well and will not cause any severe toxicity.

A study also suggests that this Protein is not a known allergen and doesn’t cause any allergy type.

If you look at the 90 days study above, they suggest that this is safe to use and has no reported toxicity after oral administration.

Although the Protein is tolerated well, the most commonly reported side effects to the manufacturer were dizziness, headache, nausea, etc. At the same time, the less common side effects include insomnia, anxiety, and memory problems.

Other infrequent side effects reported include heart and nervous system toxicity in a few cases.

Also, pregnant and breastfeeding women should not use it because there is no enough data about the safety of taking Apoaequorin in pregnancy. So it’s better to stay safe and don’t take it.

Following are some of the side effects associated with the use of Apoaequorin.

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • High Blood pressure
  • Chest pain on high doses
  • Edema
  • Increase heart rate.
  • Some serious side effects like hypotension and depression with suicidal thoughts may also occur in people with multiple sclerosis. [5]

Dosage Of Apoaequorin

There is no recommended dose of this Protein because it is still under observation, but according to one study, 10mg per day is tolerated well and don’t cause any side effect.

However, it’s always better to consult your health care provider and pharmacist for dose adjustment.

  • The recommended dose also depends on many factors, like the age and health of the patient. 
  • The usual recommended dose for cognitive function and memory function is 10 mg per day.
  • The usual daily recommended dose of Apoaequorin for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is 20 mg every 3 hours.
  • The usual recommended dose for better sleep quality is also 10 mg per day.

Always consult your doctor or Pharmacist before this protein or any other supplement or medicine and follow the direction on the label.

Bottom Line

Although Quincy Bioscience widely advertises Apoaequorin for memory improvement, there is less evidence to rate this Protein’s effectiveness in memory improvement and treating other mental conditions.

It has still not been clinically proven to effective in the above conditions.

The problem with this Protein is that there is still minimal data on humans. The company that manufactured this Protein in Prevagen conducted some trials, but that don’t meet the scientific standards.

Some lawsuits are also against the company that manufactures this Protein for false advertisement and cognitive improvement claims.

In 2012 the US food and drug administration (FDA) also issued a warning letter to the manufacturer for the wrong therapeutic claims on their official site. According to the FDA guidelines, this product did not meet the definition of a dietary supplement but alternatively should be considered a drug [2]

If you are looking for a brain-boosting supplement, why not select a supplement that contains some proven and premium ingredients.

Some of the ingredients that can help you improve your cognition are L-theanine, Creatine, Bacopa monerie, Ginkgo biloba, Panax ginseng, Rhodiola Rosea, and many other such supplements.

Always do your research before buying any supplement and check all the ingredients and the Research behind each ingredient.



  1. Effects of a Supplement Containing Apoaequorin on Verbal Learning in Older Adults in the Community: [Internet],[Cited February 2021], Available From https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26878676/
  2. Safety assessment of Apoaequorin, a protein preparation: subchronic toxicity study in rats: [Internet],[Cited February 2021], Available From https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23470325/
  3. Apoaequorin differentially modulates fear memory in adult and aged rats: [Internet],[Cited February 2021], Available From https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/brb3.1832
  4. Computational comparison of a calcium-dependent jellyfish protein (apoaequorin) and calmodulin-cholesterol in short-term memory maintenance: [Internet],[Cited February 2021], Available From https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28159636/
  5. Apoaequorin: [Internet],[Cited February 2021], Available From: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK552157/
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