Alzheimer's can be stabilized with a special combination of nutrients
Around 1.5 million people in Germany suffer from dementia, the majority of them have Alzheimer's. The disease is incurable, but its course can be slowed down. A European study has now shown that patients who ate a special nutrient combination in the form of a drinking yoghurt every day significantly improved their cognitive and functional performance in everyday life. The brain also shrank less.
More and more people with Alzheimer's
It has been shown for years that the number of people with dementia continues to rise. Around 1.5 million people are currently affected in this country, most of whom have Alzheimer's. In the past few years, supposedly revolutionary healing methods against Alzheimer's have been propagated several times, but to this day the disease is not curable, only its course can be slowed down. A special nutrient treatment can also help, as has now been shown in a European study.
In order to prevent dementia, the S3 guideline of the German Society for Neurology (DGN) recommends keeping an eye on diabetes, hypertension and obesity and counteracting these risk factors at an early stage.
Active social life, physical activity and an active and healthy lifestyle also appear to reduce the risk of illness.
In recent years, scientific studies have repeatedly provided evidence that certain foods can protect against Alzheimer's.
For example, it has been shown that foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent dementia. It is also advised to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, but only a little red meat.
Even after the onset of the disease, nutrition plays an important role. According to a recent study, Alzheimer's can be stabilized in the early stages with a special combination of nutrients.
The Saarland University reports this in a communication published by the "Informationsdienst Wissenschaft" (idw).
Improved cognitive and functional performance
In the long-term clinical study, people with so-called prodromal Alzheimer's, the pre-dementia stage of the disease, were treated with a mixture of nutrients. They showed no change in neuropsychological terms compared to a test group.
However, their cognitive and functional performance improved significantly in everyday life. The brain also shrank less in comparison.
The European research consortium LipiDiDiet, led by Professor Tobias Hartmann of the Saarland University, found this out.
The results of the study have now been published in the specialist journal "The Lancet Neurology".
Combination of fatty acids, vitamins and other nutrients
The nutrient mixture used to treat Alzheimer's patients contains "Fortasyn Connect", a special combination of essential fatty acids, vitamins and other nutrients.
The study involved 311 patients at eleven clinics in Europe for two years. At baseline, all patients had mild biomarker-proven cognitive impairment of Alzheimer's type, the pre-Alzheimer's disease.
Half of the patients took the combination of nutrients daily in the form of a drinking yoghurt, the control group received a drink that was identical in taste, consistency and color, but did not contain any active ingredients.
Less deterioration in the severity of the disease
A neuropsychological test originally intended as the main result with both patient groups (primary endpoint) consisted of the following individual tests: learning, remembering and recognizing ten words, saying as many words as possible in the "animal" category within a given time and the task of assigning letters and numbers swap.
The patients with nutrient treatment showed no statistically significant differences from the control group. However, the treatment had clearly positive effects with regard to the daily challenges of Alzheimer's.
The researchers observed a 44 percent lower deterioration in the clinical assessment of the severity of dementia (Clinical Dementia Rating-Sum of Boxes) over two years.
This examination is particularly important because it evaluates the course of the patient's illness on the basis of the services he shows when he has to cope with everyday tasks.
Examples include the ability to handle household emergencies, manage financial or business operations, or forget important events.
In addition, changes in brain shrinkage were observed, a difference of 26 percent in the hippocampus. Increasing brain decay is typical of Alzheimer's disease, the breakdown of the hippocampus is the cause of many of the memory problems in Alzheimer's.
The occurrence of side effects was the same in the control group treated with nutrients.
The treatment does not achieve healing
"The diagnostic options for Alzheimer's patients have improved significantly in recent years, but unfortunately the pharmacological treatment options available for prodomal Alzheimer's disease are still in the development stage," said Professor Hilkka Soininen, neurologist and head of the clinical part the study (University of Eastern Finland).
“Against this background, the improved understanding of the importance of nutritional interventions with this study is very important. The LipiDiDiet study shows that nutrient treatment can help to preserve both brain substance and memory and to meet the requirements of everyday life - arguably the most depressing aspect of Alzheimer's disease, ”said the expert.
In previous studies, memory effects were observed in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.
"A cure is not yet achieved with this treatment, but it turns out that the earlier this intervention is used, the greater the benefit for the patient," said Professor Tobias Hartmann, head of the overall study.
“Another remarkable milestone is that, together with the cognitive-functional gain, reduced brain shrinkage was identified, a result that goes beyond a symptomatic effect. This has never been achieved with the therapies available to date, ”explained the scientist.
The nutrient combination "Fortasyn Connect" was administered continuously as a 125ml drink over two years.
This combination of nutrients is based on preclinical research by Professor Kiliaan (Radboud University, The Netherlands) and the LipiDiet and LipiDiDiet projects, coordinated by Professor Hartmann (Saarland University) and Professor Wurtman (formerly Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA).
Fortasyn Connect is the active ingredient of Souvenaid and falls within the "medical food" category within the European Union. (ad)