Will Procera AVH improve your memory or is it a scam? Well, if you go to the Procera website they say “Procera AVH is Americans #1 memory supplement and that it “helps to nourish the brain, to bring back the memory you had 10 or 15 years ago, improving your mental clarity. Improving your concentration – And elevating your mood.” WOW! Pretty impressive huh? I wanted to write a Procera AVH review because of all the claims they made in their Procera TV commercial and because it seems that most other websites that review Procera AVH only tell you how great it is. I want to give you both sides of the story – including Procera side effects – so that you can make a more informed decision about whether Procera is right for you. Also see my reviews of NootroBrain and Focus Factor, other memory supplements I’ve looked at.
What is Procera AVH?
Procera is not a drug. It is an over the counter dietary supplement that they say helps to improve memory. The Procera website makes this very clear but I wanted to say it again because the name Procera sounds like a drug to me.
Who Makes Procera AVH?
The Procera website says the product is made by the company called Brain Research Labs. According to the Better Business Bureau, the address of Brain Research Labs is 325 SMITH STREET, Murfreesboro, TN 37128. I’ve linked to the Google street map of this address so you can see it’s a residential area. There is no “laboratory” at this address.
The Better Business Bureau also lists 15820 Euclid Ave, Chino, CA 91708 as an address for Brain Research Labs. But according to Google, this address corresponds to a company called Priority Business Services.
The Better Business Bureau lists another name for Brain Research Labs:
See the BBB file I linked to for Key View Labs for additional information.
Update. For additional info, see my review of the brain booster Ceraplex which is also marketed by Brain Research Labs / Key View Labs.
Brain Research Labs itself doesn’t seem to have an website because on the BBB website, they list the ProceraAVH website.
It’s common for supplement companies to have the word “Lab” or “Labs” in their name even though the company doesn’t do any actual “laboratory work”.
The Better Business Bureau gives Brain Research Labs a rating of “C”
Update: as of 10/2/13 the BBB has no rating on Brain Research labs. Check the BBB link for updates as ratings may change.
Update. As of 5/30/14 the BBB gave Brain Research labs a rating of “F”
Do see the BBB Brain Research Labs page for further updates.
The website TopClassActions.com lists details on a Procera lawsuit (O’Brien, et al. v. Brain Research Labs, LLC) .
Update. On July 8 2015, the makers of Procera AVH agreed to pay 1.4 million dollars in response to charges made by the Federal Trade Commission (FCT) regarding deceptive advertising of Procera AVH. For more information, Click Here to read the FTC Press lease.
How Long Has Brain Research Labs Been in Business?
No starting date for Brain Research Labs can be found on the Better Business Bureau website. On The BBB webite they say ” BBB made two or more requests for background information from the business. BBB has not received a response from this business and/or has not been able to verify information received from this business.”
The Procera website (ProceraAVH.com) claims to have scientific proof that Procera works. The research they mention was performed at The Brain Sciences Institute in Australia and was headed up by Dr. Con Stough. Dr. Stough is an accomplished researcher with his name appearing on several published peer reviewed studies that I saw when I searched the National Library of Medicine.
The Procera website is very interesting because they say – as I also do – that there are differences between studies conducted on a products ingredients and those done on the actual product. I found this refreshing.
The website goes on to talk about sample sizes and institutional review boards (IRBs), and other stuff which is of interest to researchers.
But, the website does not tell us if the Procera AVH research study they cite was published in a medical or scientific journal.
In other words, the Procera website lists all this stuff about how great the research study was – but they do not tell us where we can see where the study was published – or if it was published. For me that is a red flag.
After some searching, I did manage to find what appears to be a memory study information sheet that participants could read before deciding if they want to be in the Procera study or not. This is not a study of Procera AVH. It is listed on the website of Swinburn University (I used to link to this study but the link no longer works and I can’t locate it online)
On the “Compare” page of the Procera website you see Procera AVH compared to other memory supplements. At the bottom of the page you can see that the Procera study was:
a Randomized, double blind, placebo controlled clinical study with a significant number of participants.
BUT, they do not tell us how many participants were in the study. Was it 50 people or 1000 people?
Just saying it was a “significant number of participants” is too vague – especially for a website that seems to go out of its way to make references to clinical jargon like sample sizes and institutional review boards.
From what they are saying, the Procera study appears to be top notch. But, until that study is presented to other competent scientists who can look it over, and make sure there were no errors – and is published in a science journal – then this reduces the significance of the study in my opinion.
Just to double check, I looked at the National Library of Medicine and typed in “Procera” and Procera AVH” – and no studies came up. This tells me there are no published peer reviewed studies on Procera AVH.
Update. 4/29/14. I did locate a study on Procera. I believe this may be the study mentioned on the Procera website when I originally reviewed the product. The study is was published in 2009 and was titled “A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo Controlled Study Examining the Effects of a Combination Nutraceutical Formula on Cognitive Functioning and Mood.” Click to download the pdf of the study.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association (JANA). JANA is not listed in the National Library of Medicine. This is likely why I did not find it during my investigation of Procera.
JANA is not to be confused with JAMA – the Journal of the American Medical Association. They are not the same journal.
Here is a summary of the study.
- The study lasted 30 days and involved 90 people (74 completed the study).
- People randomly received either Procera (1515 mg per day) or a placebo (1515 mg per day). They did not say what the placebo was.
- They tell us the average age of the Procera group was 48 and that of the placebo group was 47. People were allowed to take part in the study if they were between the ages of 22-66 years of age. I don’t think too many people in their 20s-50s have significant memory problems so I question this age range.
- People getting Procera reported a significant reduction in anger/hostility compared to the placebo group.
- There was a significant change in mood in those taking Procera compared to placebo
- Word recognition was significantly improved in those taking Procera
Keep in mind that this study allowed people to participate, who were in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s – people who probably had no significant memory impairment. I wonder if inclusion of these individuals effected the results?
The study also excluded people who were taking a variety of medications, many of which are likely being used by those who would be attracted to buy Procera. This is also a problem in my opinion.
The study notes that the Procera AVH was donated by 20/20 Brain Power Partners LLC in Laguna Beach CA. This company is stated as the “founders of Brain Research Labs.” 20/20 Brain Powers Labs is located at 1492 North Coast Highway Laguna Beach CA 92651 (the link shows the Google Street view of the location). 20/20 Brain Power Partners also covered 50% of the cost of the study.
While there are studies on the individual Procera ingredients, there seems to be no published proof that Procera AVH itself improves memory. Likewise there seems to be no good proof of Procera AVH side effects either.
The only other “study” that I did find was something from the “Ask The Doctor” section of the June 2009 Harvard Health Letter where Procera AVH was mentioned in a question about whether it – along with a list of other supplements – would interfere with heart medications. The doctor didn’t feel Procera was harmful, but he also did not find much proof that Procera worked either.
Procera is also called Procera AVH. The “AVH” is refers to the 3 main ingredients in Procera. They are:
- Huperzine A
I am not sure how much of each of these ingredient is in Procera AVH. When I called Procera customer service, they only told me that capsules contains equal amounts of each ingredient.
This is important because, below I will give you levels of these nutrients which have been shown effective in some clinical trials.
A day after I called Procera Customer Service they called me back to try to sell me Procera! I did not give them my phone number when I called originally.
Did they call anybody else back?
The person I spoke to tried to sway me repeatedly to buy Procera AVH by telling me about their “30 day money back guarantee”. Their customer service seems very aggressive to me. I didn’t like that.
As an aside, the main ingredients in Procera, are similar to those in Focus Factor, another memory supplement I’ve reviewed.
Let’s now review each of the ingredients in Procera AVH separately and see what we can discover.
We make acetyl carnitine and it’s found in foods like red meat. The molecule also “looks” like the brain chemical acetylcholine.
Several studies have shown that Acetyl carnitine may help older adults with memory issues. The amounts used in research appear to be roughly 1- 2 grams per day.
This is why things like acetyl -L-carnitine often show up in memory supplements.
Other research hints acetyl L carnitine may help depression in older adults as well. People with low-acting thyroids (hypothyroidism) should use caution with acetyl l carnitine because it appears to inhibit the action of thyroid hormone. While there appears to be little proof that acetyl carnitine may increase the risk of seizures, those with seizure disorders should talk to their doctor first.
In some countries this is sold by prescription, although in the US it is used in some supplements. My guess is that this because it “looks” like a naturally occuring compound in the periwinkle plant, called vincamine. Another name you may see for vinpocetine is Cavinton. Some older research hints that vinpocetine may increase blood flow to the brain by opening up blood vessels . Vinpocetine may also help memory in healthy people.
The problem with with the “vinpocetine helps memory” study above is that it only involved 12 people so it was very small and should be deemed preliminary. 15-30 mg a day has been used in research.
Like all supplements always investigate companies you do business with. In this 2015 investigation about 25% of supplements clamming to contain vinpocetine did not actually contain it. This study did not specifically mention the names of the supplements they tested.
Several studies, mostly conducted in china, show that huperzine helps dementia. Huperzine A inhibits acetylcholinesterase, the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine. As such, it will raise levels of acetylcholine in the brain. Because it can raise acetylchoiline levels, Huperzine A side effects may range from elevated blood pressure and muscle cramps to, vomiting, sweating, seizures and blurry vision.
Huyperzine might also lower heart rate so it may – in theory – interact with some heart meds (like Beta Blockers). This is just my opinion and I’m not a doctor, but I felt it should be mentioned.
These are not the only side effects. Please check with your doctor if you have health issues before using Procera AVH or its ingredients.
Who is Josh Reynolds?
Josh Reynolds is the co-founder of the company that makes Procera – Brain Research Labs. The Procera infomercial says that Josh Reynolds is a brain scientist researcher and author as well as a pioneer in the study and science of the brain and cognitive performance.
What I did not see were any college degrees or medical training by Josh Reynolds. His Linkedin profile does indicate he attended Colgate University from 1960-1964 but does not show what his degree was in.
This is ironic because the co-founder of Brain Research Labs is Robert Heller, MD. His medical credential is displayed on the Procera website.
Mr. Reynolds is the author of the book 20/20 Brain Power (which Dr Heller is also listed on the cover) published in 2005 and 20/20 Brain Power Recipes, published in 2006. Both books are available on Amazon.com. In one infomercial I saw (11/14/11) they said Josh’s books were “medically acclaimed” but that is a vague term. Have his books received any medical awards or been endorsed by the American Medical Association or any other similar organization?
Here is a newspaper article about Procera published in the Tampa Bay Times dated May 24, 2010.
Procera AVH Side Effects
As far as I can tell Procera AVH has not been tested for safety in healthy or non healthy persons. While I think in “healthy people” it probably would be safe at least for short term use, I do believe people who have health conditions should speak to their doctor before using Procera AVH. Not even the 2009 Procera study published in JANA, does not prove to me that Procera is totally safe for people who take medications. The ingredients in Procera AVH do have some potentially serious side effects in some people.
Below are some of the possible side effects of Procera AVH. These are not all of the side effects, which is why I highly recommend people speak to their doctor before using.
Acetly L Carnitine might have a blood thinner effect, and so it may interfere with anti coagulant drugs people take for heart disease. It might also lower thyroid hormone levels and cause seizures in people who have seizure disorders.
Vinpocetine appears to have a blood thinner effect. This effect may be increased when added to other supplements and medications.
Huperzine A might increase blood pressure and interfere with high blood pressure medications. In addition Huperzine might slow heart rate, increase seizures in some people and worsen conditions like emphysema, asthma and other forms of COPD.
How Much Does It Cost?
On the Procera AVH website, one bottle costs $59.95 plus shipping and handling.
If people choose to buy 3 bottles, each bottle will cost $39.95 each -plus shipping and handling. This will cost 3 x 39.95 =119.95.
Shipping & Handling costs $14.95 if you buy 3 bottles
Shipping $ Handling costs $7.95 if you buy 1 bottle.
So, 3 bottles of Procera will cost $119.95 + 14.95 =$134.80
One bottle, will cost $59.95 + 7.95 =$67.90
People who buy 3 bottles at a time will also be enrolled in a “Power Saver” program. This means that another 3 bottles will be sent on a regular basis. The cost of each additional shipment stays the same.
You must call customer support to stop this automatic shipment. Remember Procera AVH customer service seems to be very aggressive and may try to convince you to keep using Procera AVH.
Here is Procera on Amazon for those who are interested or want to see the comments of others who have tried this product.
Who is Patrice King Brown?
on 11/14/11 I noticed another 30 minute Procera commercial called “Stop Memory Loss.” This new Procera infomercial featured a “host” named Patrice King Brown, who was listed as “an award winning investigative reporter.”
I did some research on Patrice King Brown and discovered her Wikipedia page (link deleted) where it’s said that that she was a news anchor in Pittsburg on TV station KDKA, where she has worked since 1978. In January 2011 she announced her retirement from KDKA. Her last day as a news anchor was January 28 2011. I mention this because at the website Post-Gazette.com it is said that only 2 days after her retirement, Patrice King Brown shows up on TV as the host of this Procera AVH infomercial. Only 2 days later!
Patrice King Brown is married to Dr. Paul Nemiroff PhD, MD, who also appears in the Procera AVH infomercial – but their relationship is not divulged during the 30 minute commercial. Here is a transcript of the Procera commercial that features Patrice King Brown and Dr Nemiroff.
At several times during the 30 minute Procera commercial I notice “Breaking News” in the lower left hand corner of my TV screen, giving people the impression that this commercial was a “news segment.”
Were they trying to capitalize on Miss King Browns previous role as a news anchor? I think they were.
At one point during the Procera AVH infomercial Dr Nemiroff shows an illustration of two brains – “before” and “after” pictures which gives the impression of what’s supposed to happen before and after using Procera AVH. At one point Patrice King Brown says the “after” picture is “lit up like a Christmas Tree!”
If you saw this infomercial, notice in the picture is says “brain illustration.” It doesn’t say CT scan or PET scan. It says “illustration.” To me, this says that the before and after pictures you see are NOT an actual brain scan of somebody who took Procera AVH, but rather is just an illustration to dramatize things.
Also the picture says “Illustration of just one ingredient in Procera AVH.”. What about the other ingredients? In other words, why are they showing you what only one ingredient in Procera AVH supposedly does. Procera AVH has several ingredients. What do they do to brain function? Make it better? Make it worse? Add no value? They don’t tell us that. To me, that is just bad science.
At the end of the infomercial it says “Dr. Nemiroff is a medical doctor and is partially compensated from sales of this product.” In other words, the more Procera is sold, the more he makes.
When will the American Medical Association take action against doctors who make money from selling supplements with little or no peer reviewed proof of efficacy? Dr Nemiroff has far more scientific training than I do and yet even I can see lack of peer reviewed evidence in support of this product.
Josh Reynolds is also “interviewed” during this 30 min commercial. Notice that during the infomercial, that Josh Reynolds is wearing a white coat. This gives people the impression that he is a doctor but as I’ve already pointed out, Josh Reynolds appears to have no formal medical training or degrees.
Wearing white coats is a common tactic used in marketing to make people think someone is a doctor/scientist. I’ve even heard of a personal trainer in CA who wears a white coat and stethoscope in the gym! It’s great marketing but it’s bogus. Don’t fall for this trick.
They call Procera “Americans #1 clinically tested brain supplement” but I still can’t find the clinical research they are referring to. Where is the clinical testing on Procera AVH itself?
Who is Dr. Gene Steiner?
In addition to Patrice King Brown and Dr. Nemiroff, the Procera AVH infomercial also featured a pharmacist named Dr. Gene Steiner (also called Eugene Steiner). He is also mentioned on one of the pages of the ProceraAVH.com website as well.
During the Procera AVH infomercial Dr Steiner says, “As a pharmacist, I’ve always felt helpless in recommending a solution for memory loss.” Oh really. Why doesn’t Dr Steiner know about the tremendous amount of research -in people and lab animals- showing the benefits exercise on memory and brain function and reducing the risk of senility – including the risk of Alzheimer’s. Unlike Procera AVH, exercise is free.
Aerobic exercise has more proof that it helps brain function that Procera AVH.
The Other Infomercial
In June of 2014, I saw another TV infomercial for Procera AVH. This one was simply titled “Surgeon General Candidate” where it was hinted that people could “regain memory speed to the level of those up to 15 years younger.” Procera was touted as a “clinically tested, prescription free memory breakthrough.” See above for the research they are referring to.
The infomercial features a talk show-looking host seated in front of red blinking lights, which reminded me of the computers on old sci fi TV shows like Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Lost in Space.
I was confused why they would title the Procera infomercial “Surgeon General Candidate” until it was mentioned that Paul Nemiroff was once a candidate for US Surgeon General. I am unable to determine when he was considered for that position.
In addition to Paul Nemiroff and Gene Steiner (who in the show is now called Eugene Steiner), this infomercial also features Stephen Coles, MD, PhD.
Stephen Coles MD, Ph.D is a real scientist who studies aging. His website is the Gerontology Research Group. The website appears to be neglected. I wanted to search the site for “Procera AVH” to see if Dr Coles had mentioned it, but the search ability was not available when I was at the site.
While Dr Cole has taught at Stanford and UC Berkley, if you look closely at his intro on the infomercial – and squint your eyes – you can make out in very blurry print that:
“Stanford and UCLA neither endorses or are affiliated with Procera AVH.”
From my perspective, the infomercial was trying to associate Procera AVH with the US governments Brain Research Initiative, a laudable program to help uncover the secretes of the brain and memory loss. I say this because at one point Gene Steiner says:
“Look, I appreciate the governments intentions. Overtime the Intuitive will hopefully help unravel the mysteries of the mind. But the reality is millions need help right now. Today.”
The implication is that Procera AVH is the answer we have now. But, as I’ve pointed out above, the evidence for Procera is less conclusive than it’s portrayed to be in the infomercial.
How To Return Procera AVH
On the Procera AVH website they give this number to contact to return the product:
The Better Business Bureau also lists (866) 232-1847 as a contact number as well.
Does Procera AVH Work?
Overall, the ingredients chosen for Procera seem logical and so its possible some people might notice some memory improvement. That said, I am not certain of this because I am unaware of any good proof that the combination of ingredients works and is safe for everybody. Yes, the study on Procera published in JANA does appear to show something may be going on when people take it, but because it left out some information that I like to review, I’d like to see at least another study done to make sure. That very study also included young people who likely have no memory issues. That’s a problem. There are a lot of unknowns about Procera AVH. For example does Procera AVH interfere with Alzheimer’s medications? When in doubt, ask your doctor first to see if its right for you. Also see my review of Focus Factor for more information.
Here is Procera AVH on Amazon if you want to see what others are saying.