Study leader Philip Scheltens, director of the Alzheimer Center at Vrije Universiteit Medical Center in Amsterdam, Netherlands, says the clinical trial involved 225 Alzheimer's patients in Europe.
Forty percent of the study participants who drank the nutrients -- uridine, choline and the omega-3 fatty acid DHA -- for 12 weeks improved performance in a test of word memory vs. 24 percent of the patients who drank a control beverage.
Among the participants who received the cocktail, those with the mildest cases of Alzheimer's, showed the most improvement, Scheltens said.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, led by Richard Wurtman, developed the nutrient mix, which consists of precursors to the fatty molecules making up brain cell membranes. These molecules may help memory by encouraging the growth of new brain connections called synapses.
"If you can increase the number of synapses by enhancing their production, you might to some extent avoid that loss of cognitive ability," Wurtman says in statement.
Wurtman and MIT have patented the nutrient mixture and the food company Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition holds the exclusive license on the patent.
The findings are published in the journal Alzheimer's and Dementia.