Micronutrient supplementation in mild Alzheimer disease patients

Clin Nutr. 2004 Apr;23(2):265-72. doi: 10.1016/S0261-5614(03)00106-7.


Objective: To evaluate if nutritional supplementation with or without micronutrient enhancement prevent weight loss and the progression of the disease in mild Alzheimer's Disease (AD) patients.

Design: Mild AD patients were recruited from an Alzheimer Day Centre. Subjects received oral liquid supplements with (Study-group: S) or without (Control-group: C) micronutrient enhancement. Intake assessment, nutritional status, biochemical parameters, cognitive function, and eating behaviour disorders were determined at baseline and at 6 months of treatment.

Results: At baseline both groups were not different in any variable measured. They were norm nourished, with normal biochemical parameters. Blandford scale demonstrated a mild alteration of feeding behaviour, the cognitive scale classified the patients as impaired and there was presence of memory complaints. After 6 months of nutritional supplements, a similar increase in energy consumption was observed in both groups of patients (P<0.05). In the within-group analysis, we found a trend (P=0.05) to increase body mass index; a significant increase in triceps skin fold thickness, mid-upper-arm circumference and serum magnesium, zinc and selenium, and a significant reduction in serum vitamin E (P<0.001, each). Serum cholesterol decreased substantially only in the S-group (P=0.025). No significant differences at baseline, within-group, neither between-group analysis in feeding behaviour nor in cognitive function were observed.

Conclusions: According to our results no benefits in the progression of the disease was observed with micronutrient enhancement supplements. Effectiveness of nutritional supplements in preventing weight loss in mild AD patients showed a similar behaviour as observed in other populations. Due to the beneficial evolution of serum cholesterol in the S-group, this intervention deserves further investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / therapy*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cognition
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Energy Intake
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnesium / blood
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Micronutrients / administration & dosage*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Status
  • Selenium / blood
  • Skinfold Thickness
  • Vitamin E / blood
  • Zinc / blood


  • Micronutrients
  • Vitamin E
  • Selenium
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc