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The role of medical foods in Alzheimer’s disease treatments


In this article, researchers from China, Germany, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S. discussed nutritional interventions used for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and highlighted clinical trials assessing the effects of medical foods on people with AD. Their short review was published in the journal Food Science and Human Wellness.

  •  AD is the most prevalent cause of dementia around the world.
  • Despite significant advancements in medicine, AD remains without a cure. Treatments that improve its symptoms or delay/prevent its progression have not yet been developed.
  • Researchers have identified various diet-related risk factors for AD, which led to the use of dietary interventions in the treatment of AD.
  • However, evidence for the protective effects of diets like the Mediterranean diet is inconclusive.
  • Medical foods were developed to help patients with certain diseases meet specific dietary requirements.
  • According to studies, some medical foods can improve AD symptoms and regional brain atrophy in AD. Examples include:
    • Foods that provide ketone bodies as alternative energy sources for neurons
    • Foods that contain precursors thought to improve synaptic function
    • Foods that address oxidative stress, which causes memory loss
  • However, these studies have methodological shortcomings that make their findings difficult to interpret.
  • To get optimal results, the researchers believe that clinical trials should involve the administration of medical foods in the presymptomatic or early stages of AD.
  • This requires the reliable identification of minimal neuropathological changes related to AD. However, currently available outcome measures cannot detect subtle changes in cognitive function in early AD.

Th researchers believe that large-scale clinical studies that use valid, sensitive, and reliable assessment tools are necessary to establish the efficacy of medical foods in treating AD.

Read the full article at this link.

Journal Reference:

Lange KW, Guo J, Kanaya S, Lange KM, Nakamura Y, Li S. MEDICAL FOODS IN ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE. Food Science and Human Wellness. 22 February 2019;8(1):1-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.fshw.2019.02.002



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