Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a heterogeneous and devastating neurodegenerative disease with increasing socioeconomic burden for society. In the past 30 y, notwithstanding advances in the understanding of the pathogenesis of the disease and consequent development of therapeutic approaches to novel pathogenic targets, no cure has so far emerged. This contribution focuses on recent nutritional approaches in the risk reduction and management of AD with emphasis on factors providing a rationale for nutritional approaches in AD, including compromised nutritional status, altered nutrient uptake and metabolism, and nutrient requirements for synapse formation. Collectively these factors are believed to result in specific nutritional requirement in AD. The chapter also emphasizes investigated nutritional interventions in patients with AD, including studies with single nutrients and with the specific nutrient combination Fortasyn Connect and discusses the current shift of paradigm to intervene in earlier stages of AD, which offers opportunities for investigating nutritional strategies to reduce the risk for disease progression. Fortasyn Connect was designed to enhance synapse formation and function in AD by addressing the putative specific nutritional requirements and contains docosahexaenoic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, uridine-5'-mono-phosphate, choline, phospholipids, antioxidants, and B vitamins. Two randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with the medical food Souvenaid, containing Fortasyn Connect, showed that this intervention improved memory performance in mild, drug-naïve patients with AD. Electroencephalography outcome in one of these clinical studies suggests that Souvenaid has an effect on brain functional connectivity, which is a derivative of changed synaptic activity. Thus, these studies suggest that nutritional requirements in AD can be successfully addressed and result in improvements in behavioral and neuro-physiological alterations that are characteristic to AD. The recent advance of methodologies and techniques for early diagnosis of AD facilitates the investigation of strategies to reduce the risk for AD progression in the earliest stages of the disease. Nutrition-based approaches deserve further investigation as an integral part of such strategies due to their low risk for side effects and their potential to affect pathological processes of very early AD.
Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition, Danone Research, Centre for Specialised Nutrition, Wageningen, The Netherlands., , ,