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Neuriva vs. Prevagen: What’s the Difference

Written by Sharon Lehman, RDN

Reviewed by Anthony Dugarte, MD 

Last Updated on July 10, 2021

Neuriva and Prevagen are two popular brain health supplements with quite different ingredients. If you are looking to improve the health of your brain, which is best?

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Neuriva vs. Prevagen: What’s the Difference

Brain health tends to be taken for granted until individuals begin to experience age-related memory loss, forgetfulness, and increased recall time.

Mild memory loss can be a wake-up call to improve brain health. Many individuals begin to worry about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease as they age.

Of course, brain health and functioning are impacted by lifestyle factors, including nutrition, sleep, exercise, stress, emotional well-being, and how you engage your mind.

Several supplements are designed to help improve brain functioning and counteract these cognitive signs of aging.

Let’s take a closer look at two popular over-the-counter brain health supplements on the market today, Neuriva and Prevagen.

Quick Facts

  Neuriva Prevagen
Active Ingredients Coffee cherry extract and phosphatidylserine Apoaequorin, Vitamin D3
Other Ingredients Rice bran, capsule (hypromellose, carrageenan, titanium dioxide, pectin), microcrystalline cellulose, silicon dioxide Microcrystalline cellulose, vegetable capsule, maltodextrin; 2% or less of casein peptones, lactose, magnesium stearate, modified corn starch, salt, soy peptones, sugar
Cost About $1.10 per serving About $1.33 per serving
Dose 1 capsule per day, taken at bedtime 1 capsule per day, taken with or without food
Claimed Benefits Supports brain function; improves focus, memory, learning, accuracy, and concentration Supports brain function, sharper mind, clearer thinking
Other Forms Plus Formula, De-Stress Formula, Gummies Extra Strength, Professional Formula, Chewables

What Is Neuriva?

Rating Breakdown
  • Support for Claims:4.3
  • Ingredient Safety:4.0
  • Value for the Price:5.0
  • Brand Transparency:4.0

Overall Rating:

4.3

Pros

  • Strong evidence to support product claims
  • No significant side effects

Cons

  • Phosphatidylserine sourced from plants may not be as effective as animal sources
  • Contains soy-based ingredients

Neuriva is a brain health supplement made by Schiff Vitamins. It’s designed to support 5 factors of brain health: focus, memory, learning, accuracy, and concentration.

It contains two well-studied active ingredients: coffee cherry extract and phosphatidylserine. Each capsule contains 100 milligrams of each active ingredient.

The coffee cherry extract comes from the coffee bean fruit that houses coffee beans. The extract is caffeine-free.

Phosphatidylserine is a compound found in cell membranes that plays a role in cellular communication and cell death.

Neuriva also contains several inactive ingredients, including rice bran, capsule (hypromellose, carrageenan, titanium dioxide, pectin), microcrystalline cellulose, silicon dioxide. These act as thickeners and anti-caking agents.

Neuriva is available in capsule or gummy form. There is also a Plus formula, which has added B vitamins, and a De-Stress formula, which has added L-theanine and French melon concentrate.

What Does Neuriva Do?

The makers of Neuriva claim the supplement is clinically proven to improve neuron health, enhance memory, and increase learning ability by increasing levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

BDNF is a protein involved in communication between brain cells.

Low levels of BDNF have been associated with impaired learning and decreased brain performance.

Coffee cherry extract supplementation has been linked to an increase in BDNF in many randomized control trials.

The standard dose is 100 mg per day, which is the same amount found in each dose of Neuriva.

A 2021 study found coffee cherry extract increased BDNF and improved attention and reaction time in memory tasks.

A 2015 review of studies on phosphatidylserine found enough evidence to support a positive impact on cognitive functioning.

There is some debate as to whether phosphatidylserine derived from plant or animal sources is most beneficial but the research remains unclear. Neuriva contains phosphatidylserine sourced from soy.

What Is Prevagen?

Rating Breakdown
  • Support for Claims:1.7
  • Ingredient Safety:4.0
  • Value for the Price:2.0
  • Brand Transparency:3.0

Overall Rating:

2.7

Pros

  • Contains vitamin D, a common deficiency
  • No significant side effects

Cons

  • Insufficient evidence to support claims
  • Contains dairy and soy

Prevagen is a brain health supplement designed to improve memory in older adults. It contains two active ingredients: apoaequorin and vitamin D3.

Apoaequorin is a calcium-binding protein discovered in a species of bioluminescent jellyfish found in the Pacific Ocean.

Prevagen Regular Strength capsules also contain the following inactive ingredients: microcrystalline cellulose, vegetable capsule, maltodextrin; and 2% or less of casein peptones, lactose, magnesium stearate, modified corn starch, salt, soy peptones, and sugar.

Prevagen is available in capsule or chewable form. There are regular strength, extra strength, and professional strength formulations, differentiated by the amount of apoaequorin they contain.

What Does Prevagen Do?

The makers of Prevagen claim it helps improve signs of mild memory loss associated with aging by regulating the amount of calcium in brain cells.

Calcium plays a role in neuron function and signaling between brain cells.

However, no clinical studies have been performed to assess whether supplementing with apoaequorin results in an increase in the amount of calcium in brain cells or increased brain activity.

The safety and efficacy of apoaequorin have only been assessed in a single study conducted by the makers of Prevagen.

Although they report it’s well-tolerated and resulted in improvements in verbal learning, working memory, and memory recall compared to a placebo, the study was small and subject to bias.

The lack of research makes it impossible to know what amount, if any, of apoaequorin is beneficial for brain health.

All formulations of Prevagen contain 50 mcg of vitamin D3 per serving, which is more than 3x the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults aged 19–70 years and more than 2x the RDA for adults 71 and up.

Many individuals have low levels of vitamin D3, and there is evidence that low vitamin D is linked to dementia and depression.

The amount in Prevagen can help some adults meet their daily requirements and support mood and brain function.

Comparison of Benefits

Neuriva claims to support healthy brain function and improve focus, memory, learning, accuracy, and concentration.

There is substantial evidence to suggest the active ingredients in Neuriva can increase levels of BDNF and enhance attention, response time, and memory.

Prevagen also claims to support healthy brain function by counteracting age-associated memory loss.

The supplement claims to result in clearer thinking and a sharper mind. Still, there is limited evidence to support that the active ingredients in Prevagen have any impact on thinking or cognitive sharpness.

The vitamin D in Prevagen may help individuals get adequate levels of this nutrient to support brain function.

Comparison of Side Effects and Safety

Neither supplement is associated with significant side effects. Both are considered safe for most adults and women who are not currently pregnant or breastfeeding.

Phosphatidylserine, one of the active ingredients in Neuriva, can cause stomach upset or insomnia. This may be remedied by taking the supplement with food in the mornings.

Apoaequorin, the active ingredient in Prevagen, has only been assessed for safety by the makers of Prevagen.

Although they report it was well tolerated in their studies, the findings are also susceptible to inherent bias.

Both supplements contain common allergens. Neuriva contains soy, and Prevagen contains dairy and soy.

If you have a soy allergy, you may need to avoid both supplements. If you have a dairy allergy or intolerance, you may need to avoid Prevagen.

Prevagen also contains 50 mcg of vitamin D per dose. The upper limit, which is the maximum daily amount unlikely to cause adverse effects, is 100 mcg for vitamin D.

Vitamin D can interfere with some prescription medications and make them less potent, such as cholesterol-lowering statins.

You should always speak with your doctor before starting a new supplement.

Cost Comparison

Although both supplements are on the pricey end and cost over $1 per serving, Neuriva is slightly more affordable than Prevagen.

Both Neuriva and Prevagen can be purchased from major retailers, including Amazon and national drug stores.

The exact price of either can vary depending on which retailer the products are purchased from.

A 30-count bottle of Neuriva Original costs $32.99 on the Schiff website, about $1.10 per serving.

The Plus formula costs $49.49 for a 30-count bottle or $1.65 per serving.

Neuriva gummies are sold in a 25-day supply for $29.99 or $1.20 per serving.

Both the Neuriva Original and Plus formulations are available on the Schiff website in a 1-week supply for $10.99 and $16.49, respectively. It’s an affordable way to try Neuriva without committing to a larger supply.

A 30-count bottle of Prevagen Regular Strength costs $39.95 on the manufacturer’s website, about $1.33 per serving.

It’s also available in 60-count bottles for $74.95, which brings the costs per serving down slightly to $1.25.

Other Prevagen formulations cost more than Regular Strength.

Extra Strength costs $60 for a 30-day supply and $110 for a 60-day supply, which equals $2 and $1.83 per serving respectively.

Professional Strength costs $90 for a 30-day supply or $3 per serving.

Prevagen is also available in chewable form, which costs the same as tablet form.

Our Pick: Choosing Between Neuriva and Prevagen

Both supplements have come under fire for some of the claims they’ve made regarding brain health.

A class-action lawsuit was filed against Neuriva, citing a lack of evidence to support some of its marketing claims for improving brain health. This lawsuit closed in April 2021, and refunds are being provided.

There is sufficient evidence that the coffee cherry extract in Neuriva can increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which may improve communication between brain cells.

Phosphatidylserine has also exhibited a positive impact on some aspects of brain functioning in studies.

The Federal Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission have investigated and charged the makers of Prevagen for claims that violated what is permissible by law for a dietary supplement.

There have been no studies other than the one conducted by the makers of Prevagen to determine the safety and efficacy of apoaequorin.

Due to the lack of sufficient evidence to support the benefits of apoaequorin, I would probably choose Neuriva over Prevagen.

If you have concerns about brain health or memory loss, speak with your healthcare provider to rule out more serious concerns.

You should always check with a doctor before starting a new supplement to determine what’s best for you.

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