A nutrient drink, known as Souvenaid, is under investigation for its effects on slowing down cognitive decline.
Researchers have long made the connection between diet and a healthy brain, but a recent research project called the LipiDiDiet Study went so far as to chart how consuming a daily nutrient beverage affects Alzheimer’s patients. Was it the miracle drink they hoped for?
The drink contains omega-3 fatty acids, choline, uridine monophosphate, phospholipids, antioxidants and B vitamins, and comes in a strawberry or vanilla flavor. It can be bought in the U.K. for £3.49 per bottle, though the company who makes it warns that it should only be consumed under the supervision of a medical professional.
The nutrient drink, called Souvenaid, was given to patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment, or MCI, with the hope that it would keep Alzheimer’s at bay—32 percent of people with MCI develop Alzheimer’s within five years, according to studies. While patients who were given the drink over two years did have slightly less brain shrinkage than those who were given a placebo drink, overall it did not affect memory or performance on cognitive tests, which was the goal.
The hopeful news is that there was a 26 percent difference in brain atrophy in the hippocampus and a 16 percent difference in ventricular volume, or blood flow, between the two groups. Those who didn’t have the nutrient drink also fared 45 percent worse on tests that measure how patients handle everyday life—like financial transactions or household emergencies.
“The LipiDiDiet study illustrates that this nutritional intervention can help to conserve brain tissue and also memory and patients’ ability to perform everyday tasks—possibly the most troubling aspects of the disease,” said Dr. Hilkka Soininen, MD, PhD, from the University of Eastern Finland, who headed the clinical trial.
The research was carried out on a group of 311 people. In the published study, authors said that a longer observation period and a bigger trial was needed to make conclusions about how nutrition affects those who may be in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.
The study, funded by the European Union and published in the The Lancet Neurology, can be found here.