Apoaequorin: Uses | Side Effects | Dosage | Research Studies | Products

What Is Apoaequorin?

Apoaequorin is a protein made up of 196 amino acids that was initially extracted from a type of jellyfish called Aequorea victoria. However, due to the strenuous procedures involved in obtaining the purified protein from jellyfish, it is now synthetically produced as a recombinant protein extracted from bacteria called E.coli. This protein is considered a supplementary treatment for dementia with memory problems and to minimize progressive loss of cognitive function. Some individuals also use this protein for memory enhancement and other anti-aging effects, but there is no concrete scientific evidence to support its use in these or other conditions.

Apoaequorin has been used in laboratories for over five decades to determine how calcium works inside cells. It has a calcium-binding ability and has been used as a calcium sensor for many years. Many individuals use this protein for memory enhancement and other anti-aging effects, as the elevated calcium level in neurons is linked with aging, disruption of synaptic functions, and cell death. Therefore, anything that can maintain a healthy calcium level inside the cell is being studied as a potential therapeutic target.

Apoaequorin supplement comes in 3 strengths of 10, 20, and 40 mg tablets under the brand name Prevagen. This product is manufactured and marketed by Quincy Bioscience.

JellyFish (Apoaequorin)
JellyFish (Apoaequorin)

About the Company Who Manufacture It

Quincy Bioscience is a biotechnology company based in Madison, Wisconsin, that manufactures apoaequorin in the form of Prevagen. The company advertises this product for memory improvement and clear thinking. However, there are concerns about Prevagen’s false advertising claims from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In 2017, the FTC filed a lawsuit against Quincy Bioscience for false advertising claims, and in 2020, a separate class-action lawsuit was filed against the company that makes up the product. The company agreed to partially pay those who bought the product and changed the product label details.

Apoaequorin Benefits

People use apoaequorin over the counter for different conditions, but insufficient evidence supports these claims. However, here are some of the expected health benefits of taking apoaequorin:

  • Improving brain health, memory, and mental functions. Studies suggest that 10 mg daily will enhance cognitive abilities and mental processes.
  • Slowing the progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Some studies suggest that taking 20 mg of apoaequorin every three hours may help.
  • Improving sleep quality. Taking 10 mg of apoaequorin daily may improve sleep health.
  • Treating or preventing Alzheimer’s, dementia (age-related), Parkinson’s dementia, and vascular dementia.

However, the FDA still needs to approve this protein for these conditions, and more concrete evidence is needed to rate this supplement’s effectiveness.

What does the research say about this protein—apoaequorin studies?

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

— Findings of this study

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

After 90 days of studying both groups, the intervention group significantly improved verbal learning and improve cognitive functions.

2. According to another study, Apoaequorin is tolerated well and is safe to use with no reported 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 insignificant.

One of the drawbacks of this study was that the author failed to compare both groups and concluded that the Intervention group worked better than the control 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 already advertising this product.

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

The tested animals were rats, and they were also divided into two groups and were given this protein for 90 days.

— Results Of the Study:

  • No reported adverse effects or mortality were associated with this Apoaequorin use. So this means that the protein is safe to use with no serious side effects. 
  • However, no human data is available on this protein’s safety, concluding that the protein is 100% safe.

4. According to another study [3], the intrahippocampal infusion of this ingredient may reverse aging‐related deficits in hippocampus‐dependent context fear memory.

5. Another relatively new study suggests that taking Apoaequorin can improve verbal learning and promote memory maintenance.


How does 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.

Apoaequorin works by binding to calcium ions in the brain, which helps regulate the amount of calcium present. Calcium is essential for various brain functions such as neurotransmitter release and neuronal communication. However, an excess amount of calcium can be harmful and can lead to age-related mental decline and memory loss.

By regulating calcium levels, apoaequorin helps protect the brain from damage and reduces the risk of mental decline. Additionally, apoaequorin has antioxidant properties that can further protect the brain from oxidative stress and damage caused by free radicals.

Overall, apoaequorin’s ability to regulate calcium levels and protect the brain from damage makes it a promising supplement for improving cognitive function and reducing the risk of age-related mental decline.

How does Apoaequorin affect the brain?

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

Apoaequorin binds to calcium in the laboratory, lowers calcium levels, and prevents neuron death. Therefore, scientists hope to extend its benefits from the lab to human neurons in the real world.

Since calcium deposits in the brain are thought to contribute to Dementia and Alzheimer’s, protein from Jellyfish has been suggested as a potential prevention and treatment strategy.

However, according to some experts and pharmacologists, Apoaequorin degrades into amino acids by the stomach enzyme (Pepsin) and may not reach to brain. That’s the reason it is 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 it from stomach acid. Also, cholesterol can help Apoaequorin absorb into the lymph system and help reach the brain by crossing the blood-brain barrier. [4]

Does Apoaequorin Work?

It is unclear whether taking Apoaequorin by mouth will make you smarter or not, but one study by Prevagen’s manufacturer suggests that the supplement can help with memory. However, no concrete evidence supports the idea that Apoaequorin taken by mouth can boost memory. 

It’s no surprise that this study didn’t show any significant benefits from Prevagen; it is a small, early-stage, double-blind, and placebo-control trial. Experts usually don’t reach conclusions based on one data point and would need multiple more extensive studies to confirm such findings with more reliable results before drawing solid conclusions. 

Is it safe to use—Apoaequorin Side Effects?

While it is still unknown to works for memory improvement, some in-vivo and in-vitro studies suggest that the protein is tolerated well and may not cause severe toxicity.

Some animal studies also suggest that this protein is not a known allergen and doesn’t cause allergic reactions.

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

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

In a few cases, other infrequent side effects include heart and nervous system toxicity.

Also, pregnant and breastfeeding women should not use it because there is not enough data about the safety of taking Apoaequorin during pregnancy. So it’s better to avoid it.

Following are some of the Apoaequorin side effects;

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

There is no known interaction with other medicines and food supplements. However, it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor before using this or any other ingredient.

Dosage Of Apoaequorin

Apoaequorin is not approved by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA). So, there is no recommended dose of this protein because it is still under observation, but according to one study, 10 mg per day is tolerated well and don’t cause any side effect.

However, it’s always better to consult your healthcare provider and pharmacist for dose adjustment. The recommended dose also depends on many factors, like the age and health of the patient. 

  • The recommended dose for cognitive and memory function is 10 mg daily.
  • The usual daily suggested dose for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is 20 mg every 3 hours. This is off label use of Apoaequorin.
  • The usual recommended dose for better sleep quality is 10 mg per day.

Always consult your Doctor or Pharmacist before taking Apoaequorin or any other supplement or medicine, and follow the direction on the label.

Bottom Line—Apoaequorin

Although Quincy Bioscience widely advertises Apoaequorin for memory improvement, there is less evidence to rate its effectiveness in treating other mental conditions.

It still needs to be clinically proven effective in the above conditions.

The problem with this protein is that more data on humans still need to be available. The company that manufactured this protein conducted some trials but didn’t meet the scientific standards.

Some lawsuits are against the company 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 brain-boosting supplements, why not select a supplement with some proven and premium ingredients?

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

Before buying any nootropic supplement, always do your research and check all the ingredients and the research behind each component.


  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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