Breakthrough research revealed at the Advances in Alzheimer’s Therapy international congress held in March has caused quite a stir in the scientific community.
For the first time, a nutritional intervention was shown to preserve the ability of people with the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s to retain memories, reduce brain shrinkage and carry out everyday tasks.
Lead researcher Hilkka Soininen, professor of neurology at the University of Eastern Finland, told the attendees, “Today’s results are extremely valuable as they bring us closer to understanding the impact of nutritional interventions.”
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The LipiDiDiet Project
The research was part of a European-wide project called LipiDiDiet that started at the beginning of the millennium. Since then, evidence has accumulated to support the idea that nutrients can slow down the progress of Alzheimer’s disease.
The latest study was part of a series of randomized, controlled, double-blind trials in people with memory problems drinking a nutritional milkshake called Souvenaid.
The first five trials showed this daily drink could significantly improve verbal memory and cognitive function in those with mild Alzheimer’s, and reduce behavioral disturbances and improve social interaction in those with frontotemporal dementia.
The study findings revealed at the conference involved 311 patients who were diagnosed with prodomial Alzheimer’s.
These are people suffering from mild cognitive impairment who also have more than normal levels of beta amyloid plaques in the brain. The condition identifies people in the very earliest stages of the disease.
Participants drank either 125 ml of Souvenaid a day or a placebo milkshake.
At the end of 24 months, scans showed those in the Souvenaid group had 38.7% less brain shrinkage. That is a remarkable result.
The difference in brain tissue loss was especially pronounced in the hippocampus, which helps store short-term memories. Other tests demonstrated improvements in memory, thinking and task performance in the Souvenaid group.
Experts Back the Findings
Peter Passmore, professor of aging and geriatric medicine at Queen’s University Belfast said, “Today’s news is very encouraging because now we have something that we know is safe and effective in helping to conserve the brains of people likely to progress to Alzheimer’s.”
Daniel Michaelson, professor of neurobiology from Tel Aviv University, enthused, “The results of this study were very exciting. That the shrinkage of the brain was halted by this treatment is amazing.”
“…right now the pendulum is such that nutrition and prevention are beginning to be a very respectable part of the field, which they have not been before.”
The project’s co-ordinator, professor Tobias Hartmann from Saarland University in Germany, emphasized that diet is important in reducing dementia risk and certain nutrients are known to protect the brain.
He said, “…single nutrients simply aren’t powerful enough to fight a disease like Alzheimer’s alone. Today’s clinical trial results have shown that the key is combining certain nutrients in order to increase their effect.”
What’s in Souvenaid?
After such ringing endorsements you might be interested in buying Souvenaid to protect yourself against cognitive decline. It is, however, only available in several European countries, Brazil and Australia at this time.
Don’t imagine you are missing out though, because in order to create a tasty milkshake, it contains ingredients this newsletter does not recommended for long-term health. For instance, following water as principal ingredients are maltodextrin (a bulking agent and sweetener) and sugar.
When it comes to the healthy ingredients in Souvenaid, they mostly consist of vitamins, minerals and trace elements you can find in regular multinutrient formulas. Souvenaid’s strength lies in the addition of EPA/DHA from fish oils, as well as choline, phosphatidylcholine, and uridine 5 monophosphate — all nutrients beneficial for brain health and available in the United States.
Our sister company, Green Valley Natural Solutions, offers a choline supplement called Brain Vitality Plus. It contains the best form of choline we were able to find.
For fish oil I have always recommended Carlson’s Fish Oil, available in Whole Foods and some other retail stores, and on the Internet. If buying by mail order at this time of year, I would be wary of the hot weather. Better to purchase fish oil at a retail store where it has been stored properly.
Uridine supplements are likewise available on the Internet, although I can’t rate one brand vs. another. To learn more about uridine, go to Issue #4.