14 January 2013
Brain-boosting milkshake now on sale
A milkshake, claiming to reduce the symptoms of early Alzheimer’s has gone on sale in the UK today. The drink is said to contain a cocktail of nutrients which are needed to build new connections in the brain.
The manufacturers of Souvenaid have shown that the drink can improve memory in mildly affect patients. However, Professor Clive Ballard, director of research at the Alzheimer’s Society has urged people to spend their money elsewhere. He said, “People shouldn’t get excited that
an off-the-shelf drink is going to transform the lives of people with dementia.”
Souvenaid costs £3.49 per 125ml bottle and is the result of more than a decade of research into the nutritional needs of people with Alzheimer’s.
The Alzheimer’s Society has warned the milkshake is “a lot less effective than current drugs available for people in the early stages of dementia”
People with Alzheimer’s lack certain nutrients and Souvenaid is hoped to help replace them. It
contains omega-3 fatty acids, uridine, which is important for metabolism, and choline, used to make an important nerve signalling chemical. It also includes phospholipids and B vitamins.
The drink was trialled on 259 patients across 6 European countries and showed to have significant improvements in episodic memory over 24 weeks. Episodic memory is the memory of
life events that occur at specific times and places, for example a birthday party.
Professor Ballard said, “While past studies of this product have showed some benefits for memory, there is no evidence that it has an effect on other aspects of thinking or everyday life and there was also no benefit on other symptoms of dementia. This is likely to cost about £1,000 a year and is a lot less effective than current drugs available for people in the early stages of dementia. For many older people with dementia where finances might be tight, people are probably much better off putting their money towards good quality care or taking part in exercise.”