Alzheimer’s treatment in need of urgent overhaul according to new study
• Evidence shows unique dietary approach effective in early Alzheimer’s disease
• Research shows people with Alzheimer’s have low levels of certain nutrients needed to keep the brain healthy
• New product for the dietary management of early Alzheimer’s disease
A new medical nutrition product for the dietary management of early Alzheimer’s disease will be launched today in the UK after more than ten years of research and clinical trials that show it could have significant benefits for those diagnosed with early-stage disease.
Souvenaid (a 125ml once-daily drink) was developed by scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and medical nutrition company Nutricia. It contains a unique combination of nutrients that are naturally present in food, at levels difficult to achieve from diet alone. This includes omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (docosahexaenoic acid, DHA; eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA), uridine (as uridine monophosphate, UMP) and choline, together with phospholipids and B vitamins.
Dementia affects over 800,000[i] people in the UK and Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form. In an aging population, ministers and experts have acknowledged the need to diagnose people earlier, to help manage the symptoms and plan for the future.
The loss of connections in the brain (synapses) is one of the key features of early Alzheimer’s disease, and a combination of nutrients is required in the process of making new connections. People living with Alzheimer’s disease have been shown to have relatively low levels of these nutrients in their bodies, despite eating a normal diet.[ii],[iii],[iv],[v],[vi],[vii] This adds to a growing body of evidence that highlights how nutrition can help manage the disease, [viii],[ix],[x],[xi],[xii],[xiii] and, without consideration of its role, any advantage of diagnosing people earlier could be lost.
A recent survey of specialists involved in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease showed that only a third (33%) regularly assess nutritional status during the diagnostic process[xiv],[xv] and two-thirds do not even have access to a dietitian for people with early Alzheimer’s disease.
Often, after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, it can be difficult to stay positive, particularly when there has been no real innovation in the management of early Alzheimer’s disease in the last ten years. As such, Souvenaid offers a much needed new nutritional approach for people living with early Alzheimer’s disease.
NB. Souvenaid is a “Food for Special Medical Purposes”, for the dietary management of early Alzheimer’s disease. Foods for Special Medical Purposes should be used under medical supervision; people living with early Alzheimer’s disease must speak with their doctor, specialist nurse, dietitian or pharmacist to see if Souvenaid is right for them.
NB: several carer case studies are available through Dementia UK to talk about the impact of Alzheimer’s disease on families and people with the condition. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.
Notes for editors
• Designed to be taken daily.
• A food for special medical purposes and must be used under medical supervision.
• Available from 14 January 2013 in accredited pharmacies and online via www.souvenaid.com <http://www.souvenaid.com>
• Gluten and lactose free.
• A unique combination of nutrients including omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), uridine (as uridine monophosphate, UMP) and choline, together with phospholipids and B vitamins. Whilst such nutrients are naturally present in food, such levels are difficult to achieve from diet alone.
The safety and efficacy of Souvenaid has been studied in several clinical trials.7,[xvi],[xvii] A further study in prodromal (non-symptomatic Alzheimer’s disease), called the LipiDiDiet is currently underway. This trial is wholly funded by the European Union.[xviii]
Nutricia is the leading medical nutrition company in Europe. It is part of Danone, one of the fastest growing food and nutrition companies in the world. Nutricia aims to bring health through medical nutrition to those people who most need it, focusing on people with disease or age-related nutritional needs. Nutricia has an extensive portfolio of products and services, catering from nutritional needs in metabolic conditions such as phenylketonuria (PKU), to non-metabolic conditions such as allergy and epilepsy, to disease related malnutrition and frailty. Through its Homeward service and 100 dedicated nurses, Nutricia supports over 20,000 patients in the UK who require enteral nutrition (tube feeding) support in their own homes.
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[xiv]. 100 specialists were surveyed online. Fieldwork was commissioned by Nutricia Ltd and conducted by MedeConnect Healthcare Insight 2–
16 November 2012.
[xv] Bajwa, J, Coleman, G, Lawton, M. The importance of nutrition in the management of early Alzheimer’s disease. 2013,
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medication: results from a randomized, controlled, double-blind study (S-Connect) . CTAD, San Diego, November 2011; J Nutr Health
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[xviii]. European Commission website. LipiDiDiet: http:ec.europa.eu/research/bioeconomy/lipidiet_en.htm [Accessed December 2012].