Wednesday, January 23, 2013

UK Introduces Souvenaid, an Alzheimer's "Food for Special Medical Purposes"


Souvenaid, a unique 125ml once-a-day drink, is now available in England for people living with early Alzheimer's disease. This over-the-counter innovative product is the result of over 10 years' research into the nutritional needs of people living with the early stages of the disease.

Around 800,000 people in the UK live with dementia,1 of which Alzheimer's disease is the most common form. It is a growing health problem in an aging population, leading the government to prioritise earlier diagnosis of the condition.

The loss of connections in the brain (synapses) is one of the key features of early Alzheimer's disease. A combination of nutrients are required in the process of making new connections and 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.2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

This adds to a growing body of evidence that highlights how nutrition can help manage the disease in the early stages.8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Dr David Wilkinson, Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry, commented:
"Alzheimer ' s disease is not part and parcel of aging but a serious and progressive disease of the brain which prevents us from being able to retain new memories. As we age, our bodies become less efficient at processing essential nutrients, meaning that we need to increase our intake of food to absorb the same amount of nutrients in order to maintain a healthy body. In the same way, we need the right nutrients for our brains to keep them healthy .
"Alzheimer's disease sufferers often find it very difficult to get everything they need through diet alone and the nutritional intervention by the use of Souvenaid is a new area of research offering promising results for the management of early Alzheimer's disease."
The current healthcare provision for people with early Alzheimer's disease fails to reflect the important role that nutrition can play in managing the disease. A recent survey of specialists involved in the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease showed that only a third (33%) regularly assess patients' nutritional status during the diagnostic process.14 Two-thirds of specialists do not even have access to a dietician for these patients.14

Often, after a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, it can be difficult to stay positive, particularly when there is little to offer in the way of effective early interventions. Souvenaid offers a new option for people living with early-stage Alzheimer's disease.

Barbara Stephens, Dementia UK Chief Executive, commented: " A diagnosis of dementia is devastating both for those with the condition and t heir families and carers. Early- stage intervention is important for maximising choices and enabling people with dementia and their carers to lead healthier lives for longer. "

Souvenaid contains a unique combination of nutrients that are naturally present in food, at levels difficult to achieve from diet alone. It contains: omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA]), uridine (as uridine monophosphate [UMP]) and choline, together with phospholipids and B vitamins. Souvenaid comes in two tasty flavours (vanilla and strawberry) and tastes best served chilled. Souvenaid is designed to be incorporated into the daily routine, for example, by taking it at breakfast time.

Souvenaid is a Food for Special Medical Purposes, for the dietary management of early Alzheimer's disease. It is available over-the-counter from local accredited pharmacists. People with early Alzheimer's disease must speak with a doctor, specialist nurse, dietician or pharmacist to see if Souvenaid is right for them.

If you are living with Alzheimer's or caregiving, please visit for more information.

If you are a healthcare professional, please visit for more information.

About Souvenaid

Souvenaid is:
  • Designed to be taken daily.
  • A 125ml daily drink, available in two tasty flavours, vanilla and strawberry.
  • A food for special medical purposes and must be used under medical supervision.
  • Available from 14th January 2013 in accredited pharmacies in England, Wales and Scotland, and for healthcare professionals via
  • Gluten and lactose free.
Souvenaid contains:
  • A unique combination of nutrients including omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (docosahexaenoic acid, DHA and 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 , 15 , 16 A further study in prodromal (non-symptomatic Alzheimer's disease) is currently underway. This trial is wholly funded by the European Union.17


1. Alzheimer's Society. Statistics [Online] [Accessed December 2012].

2. Jicha GA, Markesbery WR. Omega-3 fatty acids: potential role in the management of early Alzheimer's disease. Clin Interv Aging. 2010;5:45-61.

3. Smach MA, Jacob N, Golmard J-L et al. Folate and homocysteine in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with Alzheimer's disease or dementia: a case control study. Eur. Neurol. 2011;65(5):270-8.

4. Glasø M, Nordbø G, Diep L, Bøhmer T. Reduced concentrations of several vitamins in normal weight patients with late-onset dementia of the Alzheimer type without vascular disease. J Nutr Health Aging. 2004;8(5):407-13.

5. Lopes da Silva S, Elemans S et al. Plasma nutrient status of Alzheimer's disease patients compared to cognitive intact elderly controls; a systematic review and meta-analysis. Alzheimers Dement 2012; 8(4):Supple 2 216.

6. Sijben J, Olde Rikkert MG et al. Different nutritional status in patients with mild Alzheimer's disease compared to healthy controls. Eur J Neurol 2012; in press.

7. Scheltens P, Twisk JW, Blesa R et al. Efficacy of Souvenaid in mild Alzheimer's disease: results from a randomized, controlled trial. J Alzheimers Dis. 2012; 31:225-36.

8. Morris MC, Evans DA, Bienias JL et al. Consumption of fish and n-3 fatty acids and risk of incident Alzheimer disease. Arch. Neurol. 2003; 60(7):940-6.

9. Sydenham E, Dangour AD, Lim W-S. Omega 3 fatty acid for the prevention of cognitive decline and dementia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012; 6:CD005379.

10. Gu Y, Nieves JW, Stern Y et al. Food combination and Alzheimer disease risk: a protective diet. Arch. Neurol. 2010; 67(6):699-706.

11. Zandi PP, Anthony JC, Khachaturian AS et al. Reduced risk of Alzheimer disease in users of antioxidant vitamin supplements: the Cache County Study. Arch. Neurol. 2004; 61(1):82-8.

12. Quadri P, Fragiacomo C, Pezzati R et al. Homocysteine, folate, and vitamin B-12 in mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer disease, and vascular dementia. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2004; 80(1):114-122.

13. Sachdev PS. Homocysteine and brain atrophy. Prog. Neuropsychopharmacol. Biol. Psychiatry. 2005; 29(7):1152-1161.

14. 100 specialists were surveyed online. Fieldwork was conducted by MedeConnect Healthcare Insight 2-16 November 2012.

15. Scheltens P, Kamphuis PJ, Verhey F et al. Efficacy of a medical food in mild Alzheimer's Disease: a randomized controlled trial. Alzheimer's & Dementia. 2010;6:1-10.

16. Shah R et al. Souvenaid® as an add-on intervention in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease using Alzheimer's disease medication: results from a randomized, controlled, double-blind study (S-Connect). CTAD, San Diego, November 2011; J Nutr Health Aging (Nov suppl.).

17. European Commission website. LipiDiDiet: [Accessed December 2012].

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