Adults with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease who took a multi-nutrient formula for three years had significantly less cognitive decline when compared with a control group, researchers say.

More than 300 participants were part of the LipiDiDiet study, a European clinical trial of the nutrient combination Fortasyn Connect. This combination of fatty acids, vitamins and other nutrients was given to some participants once daily as part of the medical drink Souvenaid. A control group received a drink that looked and tasted the same but did not include the nutrients. 

Investigators found 20% less brain atrophy and between 40% and 70% less cognitive impairment in participants who took Souvenaid when compared with their peers who received the placebo beverage.

The positive effects appeared to increase the longer treatment continued, including benefits to memory and other cognitive abilities, reported Tobias Hartmann, Ph.D., an experimental neurologist from Germany’s Saarland University. 

Subjects who received the study drink also were found to be better able to master day-to-day challenges such as paying a bill, remembering a route, or dealing with emergencies when compared to the control group, Hartmann and colleagues said.

Treatment effects were most pronounced in patients who took the drink in the earliest stage of their disease course, they added.

The current results are a success in light of the few treatments available for Alzheimer’s and its symptoms, the researchers claim. 

“Our hope is that the significantly slower progression that we see in our patients will continue so that they can maintain their independence well into old age,” Hartmann said.

Fortasyn Connect demonstrated less efficacy in previous studies. 

Full findings were published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia.