Differences in Nutritional Status Between Very Mild Alzheimer's Disease Patients and Healthy Controls

Marcel G. M. Olde Rikkert*, Frans R. Verhey, John W. C. Sijben, Femke H. Bouwman, Paul L. J. Dautzenberg, Mirian Lansink, Walther M. W. Sipers, Dieneke Z. B. van Asselt, Anneke M. J. van Hees, Martijn Stevens, Bruno Vellas, Philip Scheltens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Studies on the systemic availability of nutrients and nutritional status in Alzheimer's disease (AD) are widely available, but the majority included patients in a moderate stage of AD. Objective: This study compares the nutritional status between mild AD outpatients and healthy controls. Methods: A subgroup of Dutch drug-naive patients with mild AD (Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) >= 20) from the Souvenir II randomized controlled study (NTR1975) and a group of Dutch healthy controls were included. Nutritional status was assessed by measuring levels of several nutrients, conducting the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA (R)) questionnaire and through anthropometric measures. Results: In total, data of 93 healthy cognitively intact controls (MMSE 29.0 [23.0-30.0]) and 79 very mild AD patients (MMSE = 25.0 [20.0-30.0]) were included. Plasma selenium (p <0.001) and uridine (p = 0.046) levels were significantly lower in AD patients, with a similar trend for plasma vitamin D (p = 0.094) levels. In addition, the fatty acid profile in erythrocyte membranes was different between groups for several fatty acids. Mean MNA screening score was significantly lower in AD patients (p = 0.008), but not indicative of malnutrition risk. No significant differences were observed for other micronutrient or anthropometric parameters. Conclusion: In non-malnourished patients with very mild AD, lower levels of some micronutrients, a different fatty acid profile in erythrocyte membranes and a slightly but significantly lower MNA screening score were observed. This suggests that subtle differences in nutrient status are present already in a very early stage of AD and in the absence of protein/energy malnutrition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-271
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • fatty acids
  • healthy volunteers
  • micronutrients
  • nutritional status
  • protein-energy malnutrition

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