Last Editorial Review: 6/11/2021
Other Name(s):

Apoaecuorina, Bioluminescence, Prevagen, Protéine-Liant-le Calcium.


Apoaequorin is a protein that was obtained in 1962 from a specific type of jellyfish that glows. When apoaequorin is exposed to calcium, the protein and calcium bind and a blue light is produced. For more than 40 years, apoaequorin has been used to study how calcium works inside cells. Recently apoaequorin has been manufactured on a larger scale for use in the dietary supplement Prevagen.

People take apoaequorin by mouth to improve mental function, memory, and sleep quality.

How does it work?

Apoaequorin is a protein that was originally discovered in the jellyfish species Aequorea victoria. When apoaequorin binds with calcium, a blue light is produced.

Problems with calcium regulation in the human brain are thought to play a role in age-related mental decline. Because apoaequorin has a similar structure to human calcium-binding proteins, some researchers believe it might help regulate calcium in the brain and reduce memory loss and mental decline.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease). Some reports suggest that taking 20 mg of apoaequorin every 2-3 waking hours and an additional 20-40 mg 30-60 minutes before bed along with other drugs and supplements might slow the progression of ALS. The effects of taking apoaequorin alone are not clear.
  • Mental function. Early research shows that taking 10 mg of apoaequorin (Prevagen, Quincy Bioscience) daily for 90 days might improve some measures of mental function in older adults.
  • Memory. Early research shows that taking 10 mg of apoaequorin (Prevagen, Quincy Bioscience) daily for 90 days might improve forgetfulness, word recall, and the need for reminders in some people. But, this research is of lower quality.
  • Sleep quality. Early research shows that taking 10 mg of apoaequorin (Prevagen, Quincy Bioscience) daily for 90 days might increase sleep time by around 30-40 minutes per night, cut nighttime awakenings by 50%, and improve sleep quality in over 90% of people with trouble sleeping. But, this research is of lower quality.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of apoaequorin for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Apoaequorin is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately. A 10 mg dose of a specific apoaequorin product (Prevagen, Quincy Bioscience) has been used safely for up to 90 days. No clinical research has adequately evaluated side effects caused by apoaequorin. Some people who have taken apoaequorin have reported potential side effects to a manufacturer of the product. Some of the most commonly reported side effects were headache, dizziness, and nausea. Others less common events were memory problems, difficulty sleeping, and anxiety. There have also been a smaller number of reports of more serious potential side effects such as heart and nervous system-related events. It is important to understand that although these events occurred while people took this product, this does not necessarily mean that the product caused these events. There is not enough information about these potential side effects to know if apoaequorin was the actual cause of these side effects.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking apoaequorin if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.


The appropriate dose of apoaequorin depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for apoaequorin (in children/in adults). Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.


Apoaequorin. Prevagen web site. Available at: https://www.prevagen.com/about-improve-memory/apoaequorin/. Accessed July 29, 2015.

GRAS Notice (GRN) No. 568. U.S. Food and Drug Administration Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/GRAS/NoticeInventory/UCM457034.pdf. Accessed September 28, 2015.

Moran DL, Marone PA, Bauter MR, Soni MG. Safety assessment of Apoaequorin, a protein preparation: Subchronic toxicity study in rats. Food Chem Toxicol 2013;57:1-10. View abstract.

Moran DL, Tetteh AO, Goodman RE, Underwood MY. Safety assessment of the calcium-binding protein, apoaequorin, expressed by Escherichia coli. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 2014;69(2):243-9. View abstract.

Payne AG. Experimental regimen targeting the ependyma slows disease progression in four patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Med Hypotheses 2009;72(5):548-50. View abstract.

Prevagen Quality of Life Study. Impact of Prevagen on memory. Quincy Bioscience 2009. Available at: http://prevagenpro.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/PRV_Memorystudy_packet.pdf. Accessed July 29, 2015.

Prevagen Quality of Life Study. Impact of Prevagen on sleep quality. Quincy Bioscience 2009. Available at: http://prevagenpro.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/PRV_Sleepstudy_packet.pdf. Accessed July 29, 2015.

Prevagen. Prevagen web site. Available at: https://www.prevagen.com/. Accessed July 29, 2015.

Products. Prevagen Professional web site. Available at: http://prevagenpro.com/practitioners/about/. Accessed July 29, 2015.

Underwood MY, Sivesind PA, Gabourie TA, Lerner KC. The effects of the calcium binding protein apoaequorin on memory and cognitive functioning in older adults. Quincy Bioscience 2014:1-15. Available at: http://prevagenpro.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/effects-of-cabp-apoaequorin-memory-coginitive-function-older-adults.pdf. Accessed July 29, 2015.