Cognitive function boosted in MCI patients, with new ketogenic drink

5 mins read

New clinical research conducted by the University of Sherbrooke, Canada, published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, has established people with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) experienced significant improvement in cognitive function when consuming a specialized ketogenic drink (BrainXpert Energy Complex) twice a day for six months.

Affecting 15-20% of people aged 65+, MCI is a decline in cognitive functioning[1] considered a transitional stage between normal ageing and dementia[2]. In part, MCI develops when a person’s brain has less glucose available as a source of energy1, resulting in symptoms including memory loss, forgetfulness, and a decline in decision-making ability and judgment.

The six-month randomised controlled BENEFIC (Brain ENErgy, Functional Imaging and Cognition) trial investigated the role of ketones, which can be used by the brain as an alternative fuel source to glucose. The ground-breaking results established for the first time that a drink containing a compound rich in ketogenic medium chain triglycerides (kMCT) and milk protein, known as BrainXpert Energy Complex, is an effective alternative brain energy source for people living with MCI. This signals a major breakthrough for the MCI community that, until now, has had no available treatments2.

Trial results confirmed that an intervention with this ketogenic drink clinically demonstrated a doubling of the ketones used by the brain, thereby significantly reducing the brain energy deficit caused by impaired brain glucose metabolism. Participants also showed a statistically significant reduction in MCI symptoms: they had improved memory; improved word recall; were able to think quicker; and were more able to multi-task versus participants that were given the placebo drink.

BENEFIC trial principal investigator Professor Stephen Cunnane, from the University of Sherbrooke, said: “Identifying significant improvement in cognitive function in patients with MCI is an exciting development that gives us great motivation to stay on this research track. This is only the beginning and the hope is that new innovations can be found to not just boost brain function, but to slow down progression to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of cognitive decline linked to ageing. These results should significantly improve the quality of life for people living with Mild Cognitive Impairment.”

Cognitive function was assessed at baseline and after six months of intervention. Episodic memory was evaluated using the French version of the 16-item free and cued word learning and recall test[3] and the Brief Visual Memory Test-Revised (BVMT-R)[4]. For executive function, attention and processing speed, the Trail Making test, Stroop Colour and Word Interference test (Stroop), and the Verbal Fluency (VF) tests from the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System[5] were used, respectively. The Boston Naming Test (TNT)[6] was used for the assessment of language ability.

The ketogenic drink used in the research has been formulated and launched commercially for people living with MCI by Nestlé Health Science as BrainXpert.

For more information on the study, or BrainXpert, please visit

BrainXpert is intended for special medical purposes for the dietary management of patients suffering from Mild Cognitive Impairment. To be used under medical supervision.

Phase one of the BENEFIC trial was published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association in 20191, and the cognitive results of Phases 1 and 2 combined were published in the same journal in October 2020.

[1] Fortier, M., et al. A ketogenic drink improves brain energy and some measures of cognition in mild cognitive impairment Alzheimer’s & Dementia 2019;15: 625-634

[2] Fortier, M., et al. A ketogenic drink improves cognition in Mild Cognitive Impairment: results of a 6-month RCT. In press Alzheimer’s & Dementia 2020

[3] Van der Linden M, et al. L’épreuve de Rappel Libre/Rappel Indicé à 16 items (RL/RI-16). In: M. Van der Linden SA, & A. Agniel, editor. L’évaluation des troubles de la mémoire épisodique (avec leur étalonnage). Marseille (France): Solal; 2004. p. 25-47.

[4] Benedict R. Brief Visuospatial Memory Test-Revised professional manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources; 1997.

[5] Delis D, Kaplan E, Kramer J. Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System (D-KEFS). In: Corporation P, editor. San Antonio, TX (USA)2001

[6] Kaplan E, Goodglass H, Weintraub S. The Boston Naming Test. Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger; 1983

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