According to a new report published in“Alzheimer’s and Dementia,” a daily strawberry-flavored shake loaded withomega-3 fatty acids, uridine and choline — nutrients found naturally in breast milk — may boost short-term memory and potentially slow progression of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Two-hundred twenty-five seniors were with mild cases of Alzheimer’s, from the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom and United States to participate in the 12-week trial of the drink, called Souvenaid. Half were asked to take the nutrient-rich milkshake each morning, while the other half were given a substitute drink that looked and tasted like Souvenaid but lacked key ingredients, such as B vitamins, EPA and omega-3 fatty acids. All these nutrients are believed to promote healthy synapses, the connections that carry vital messages between brain cells.
At the end of the trial, 40 percent of participants who drank daily Souvenaid shakes showed significantly improved scores on verbal recall tests, while only 24 percent of those imbibing the placebo showed improvement.
“This is something that has no toxicity, that gives you better function than you started with,” researcher Richard Wurtman, a professor in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s department of brain and cognitive studies, told The Daily Mail. “If it works in the follow-up studies, it is very exciting.”
According to The Daily Mail, Souvenaid could be marketed by Danone, a Paris-based manufacturer that considers itself a global leader in healthy foods. Souvenaid could potentially be displayed behind the counter in pharmacies and sold after a brief consultation with a pharmacist.
“This is an interesting preliminary study of rather short duration, which suggests that more research is a reasonable next step,” said William Thies, Ph.D., chief medical and scientific officer of the Alzheimer’s Association, the nation’s leading voluntary health organization which promotes Alzheimer care, support and research. “That said, no clear role for medical foods exists at this time for Alzheimer’s disease.”
To support brain health, Thies said, people should eat a nutrient-rich diet and get plenty of physical, social and mental activity.
Between 2.4 and 4.5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s, according to the National Institutes of Health. That number is expected to significantly increase if current population trends continue. The disease, which destroys brain cells and can cause drastic and devastating memory loss, is irreversible.