Axona is a relatively new medical food product that is heavily touted to improve cognition and memory in patients diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s dementia (AD). Axona is sold as a dietary food product but requires a physician’s prescription. Axona is manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Accera. Research done in Accera laboratories has shown that treatment of metabolic deficiencies may help decrease devastating effects of AD.
In a few small-randomized studies, Axona did show mild improvement in patients with dementia. The manufacturers of Axona claim that that this health supplement provides an alternative source of energy to the brain cells. By providing energy to the brain, Axona helps protect nerves against injury.
So does Axona work?
In normal individuals, glucose is a primary source of energy for the brain. In patients with Alzheimer’s dementia, there is a marked decrease in ability of brain cells to utilize glucose. The hypothesis is that when brain cells fail to use up glucose, this results in impaired memory and cognition. These metabolic defects are said to occur at least a decade earlier before symptoms of Alzheimer’s are evident.
Axona when ingested is converted by the liver into ketone bodies that provide an efficient alternative fuel for brain cells. Ketone bodies do occur naturally in our body during extended periods of fasting. There is some laboratory evidence that ketone bodies protect nerve cells. The key ingredient in Axona is a saturated fat called caprylic acid. The liver converts a portion of it into ketones, regardless of whatever nutrition the individual consumes.
At present Axona has been specially formulated as a medical food for clinical management of mild to moderate Alzheimer's dementia. Axona is available as a powder and taken once a day. The company claims that there are no adverse effects of Axona. The few reported side effects of Axona include nausea, diarrhea, and bloating.
Axona is only available with a prescription from a physician