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Medical nutrition

Early Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a complex condition that can affect people in different ways.

The earliest symptom of Alzheimer’s disease is usually short term memory loss. Later symptoms can typically include difficulty with planning and problem solving, and sometimes problems with low mood.1

There are an estimated 850,000 people with dementia in the UK1

The connections in the brain, called synapses, are continuously re-formed throughout life. This means that existing synapses are replaced every 3-6 months with new ones. In a healthy brain the amount of new synapses that are formed matches the amount that are lost.

In early Alzheimer’s disease however, the loss of synapses becomes accelerated. It is not yet understood why this is the case, however research suggests that synaptic loss occurs very early in the disease progression. The loss of synapses is one of the key features of early Alzheimer’s disease.

Finding the missing nutrients

People living with early Alzheimer’s disease have been shown to have relatively low levels of certain nutrients in their bodies, despite eating a normal diet2,3,4,5,6,7. These nutrients are important for making new synapses. Omega 3 fatty acids, uridine monophosphate and choline, together with several key vitamins, all work together to help this process. 

Research suggests that taking a carefully formulated oral nutritional supplement may be beneficial where the levels of vitamins, omega-3-fatty acids, and the other nutrients (including uridine monophosphate and choline) are above those that can be achieved in a normal diet.

Disclaimer: Nutricia products are foods for special medical purposes and must only be used under medical supervision.

1. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs362/en/ accessed 18/01/2016
Ritchie C et al. Souvenaid: A new approach to Alzheimer’s disease, J. Nutrition, Health & Aging 2014: 18(3): 291–9; Olde Rikkert MG, Verhey FR, Blesa R et al. Safety, adherence and the effects on memory of 48-week Souvenaid use in mild Alzheimer’s disease – results from the Souvenir II Open-Label Extension study. Journal of Alzheimer’s disease 2015; 44:471–480

2. Ref Salerno-Kennedy et al. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2005

3. Regular intake of fish  Ref Kalmijn . J Nutr Health Aging 2000

4. Barberger-Gateau et al. BMJ 2002

5. Mediterranean diet Ref. Solfrizzi et al. Expert Rev. Neurother. 2011

6. Adherence to nutritional recommendations in middle-age adults is associated with future memory performance ref Kesse-Guyot et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2011

7. Kesse-Guyot et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2011