'Medical food' may slow down Alzheimer's

FDA-approved glucose alternative shows promise

ORLANDO, Fla. - Imagine taking liquid vitamins for the brain that could actually slow down the effects of Alzheimer's disease.

It isn't a of drug, it's an FDA approved "medical food" that has been shown to improve the memory of patients suffering from early to moderate Alzheimer's.

It's called Axona, a powder that can be mixed with anything from water to milk shakes. Doctors say the formula creates an alternative fuel source for the brain called ketones.

Researchers have found that failing neurons lose the ability to take in glucose, the natural food for the brain. Clinical studies have shown that Ketones fill the glucose void in some patients.

Think of it as a sort of vitamin supplement.

Ron Knupell says his wife Anne started showing signs of memory loss five years ago.

"You know when you live with somebody," Knupell said, "You can just feel it or see it."

Knupell turned to Dr. Rosemary Laird, Medical Director of the Health First Aging Institute in Melbourne. Laird is currently using Axona on five of her patients .

In Anne's case, Laird says, she noticed an improvement pretty quickly.

"None of the treatments or therapies for Alzheimer's disease are going to work for everybody," Laird said. "Everyone knows there's no cure, so the 'Holy Grail' is can you at least not make it get worse."

Ron Knupell is convinced it's working, paying $60 a month for the prescription.

"I believe in my heart if it wasn't for the Axona and the other medicines that she's taking, she'd be a lot worse," he said.

But Knupell is quick to admit that "it's not curing it, it's holding it back."

As of this week Ron says his wife continues to be healthy and alert. She's been taking Axona for about a year.

"Whatever is in that drink is working," she said.

For more information on Axona and treating Alzheimer's click here.

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