Swedish ?health drink? could cause Alzheimers

A Swedish juice manufacturer has withdrawn one of its products after scientists in Stockholm discovered that its key ingredient could cause Alzheimers and Parkinsons. The drink, made by Brämhults, contains spirulina algae, which scientists have now discovered produces the poisonous substance BMAA.

The scientists who made the discovery are as yet unsure whether the health drink actually contains BMAA, or whether the substance disappears during the production process. Birgitta Bergman of Stockholm University, who discovered the link between the algae and BMAA, told Aftonbladet that she would conduct tests on the drink in the coming months.

On hearing of the discovery, Brämhults made an immediate decision to withdraw the drink from the market. The spirulinna drink has been on sale for six years.

Managing director Thomas Gustafsson said that the company would not sell the product if there was the slightest doubt about its safety. Other juice drinks in the company’s range, which do not contain spirulin, will not be taken off the shelves.

The research which led to the discovery of the effects of BMAA started after islanders on the Pacific island of Guam were hit by neurological illnesses. It was discovered that the substance could be found in a type of nut popular among islanders.

It was later discovered that Alzheimer patients in a study had BMAA in their brains, while healthy people did not. The latest research has linked the substance to the type of blue-green algae that blossoms every summer in the Baltic Sea, Svenska Dagbladet reported.

Sources: Svenska Dagbladet, Aftonbladet, Sveriges Radio