Can a daily drink slow Alzheimer’s?

elderly man drinking

Researchers are investigating whether a nutrient-rich drink, sold in some pharmacies, could provide a way to slow the disease

A new study conducted by neurology researchers has discovered potential evidence that a nutrient-rich diet could slow the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Two previous trials of a multinutrient supplement drink called Souvenaid have shown significantly improved memory in mild Alzheimer’s disease dementia.

However another study, published in 2013, found add-on intake of Souvenaid during 24 weeks did not slow cognitive decline in persons treated for mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s.

Fortasyn Connect, which is the active component of Souvenaid, consists of omega 3, phospholipids, choline, vitamin B, vitamin E, vitamin C, selenium, and iridine monophosphate – all in high amounts.

In the most recent and longest study, researchers ran a 24-month randomised, double-blind, controlled trial to investigate its effects on prodromal Alzheimer’s disease – the very early form of Alzheimer’s when memory begins to deteriorate.

The trial of 311 participants (50/50 split between men and women) revealed that the multinutrient intervention had no significant effect on the primary endpoint over two years.

However potential benefits were seen in the cognitive-functional and brain atrophy measures.

“Our findings support the hypothesis that intervening early in the disease continuum might achieve benefits more readily than late intervention,” say the authors.

“Our results emphasise the difficulty in finding adequately sensitive outcome measures for trials in prodromal Alzheimer’s disease,” they write in The Lancet Neurology.

Further investigation of multinutrient approaches in early state Alzheimer’s is warranted, they add, suggesting larger sample sizes, longer duration, or a more sensitive primary endpoint.

While the trial does not provide sufficient evidence for use of Fortasyn Connect in mild Alzheimer’s disease, benefits in two of the secondary outcomes are “encouraging”, says Dr Hussein Yassine, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Southern California, in a connected comment.

These need to be confirmed in further research.

Meanwhile anecdotal evidence reveals some positive results.

Doug Leak, 94, has been drinking Souvenaid since first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about five years ago.

His wife and carer Laurel says the drink was recommended by a doctor.

“We believe it’s slowed it down,” she tells AJP.

“Memory loss is the most obvious [symptom] that Doug has. Also some of the high-brain function like planning, learning new skills… and now directions too.

“We’ve seen other people with dementia – mainly Alzheimer’s – that have gone downhill far more quickly.

“Doug is 94, I thought he’d deteriorate faster,” says Ms Leak, who has worked as a nurse in the mental health area.

“He drinks it every day with his breakfast and there have been no side effects.”

However she reminds people that the drink is not designed for those who feel they might have memory issues.

“It’s for use once you have a diagnosis, it’s not just for issues with memory.”

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