Axona, a medical food, is marketed so that it can assist with the dietary management of people afflicted with mild to moderate forms of Alzheimer’s. Formulated for oral use it can only be sold based on a prescription from a medical practitioner. Thus axona benefits never claim to be such that they can replace the medications prescribed for these Alzheimer’s patients.
Axona is largely made up of the medium-chain triglyceride, Caprylic triglyceride, which is also popular as fractionated coconut oil. FDA has certified this semi-synthetic fatty acid to be safe for human consumption and hence can be taken without any worries.
As the definition of medical foods suggests, they are formulated in such a way that they can meet dietary requirements which are specific to a disease. Thus Axona is so formulated that it can be used to supplement the diet of patients suffering from mild and moderate Alzheimer’s.
Axona: Mechanism of action
The disease Alzheimer’s is generally characterised by the progressive deterioration in the memory and the language. Pathologically this disease is characterised by the accumulation of the protein amyloid in the form of senile plaques around the brain cells and another protein tau which forms neurofibrillary tangles within the brain. Another side effect faced by people suffering from Alzheimer’s is the reduction in the glucose utilisation capacity by certain areas of the brain. All these pathological reasons with age tend to give rise to the clinical conditions of memory loss etc.
However, axona clinical trial as carried out by its makers claims to show that after consumption of Axona:
It gets processed in the gut with the help of the enzymes present there and
The result is the formation of the medium-chain fatty acids or MCFA,
This MCFA gets absorbed in the blood supply channel which leads to the liver,
On reaching the liver, the MCFAs get oxidised to ketones,
These ketones are then released into the general blood circulation so that they can be used by the other organs.
On reaching the brain, these ketones can cross what is known as the blood-brain barrier and are then utilised by the brain cells. Even though glucose molecules are the first choice for the supply of energy to the brain cells, ketones act as a secondary backup which can be immediately used as and when required. Thus, as shown by the axona clinical trial, this medical food does benefit the brain and Alzheimer’s patients have been found to get some relief on its continuous intake.
While there are many more clinical trials which need to be carried out, it would not be wrong to say that Axona has been able to create a niche for itself. Since a cure for Alzheimer’s is yet to be found which can completely cure a person of this disease, the regular use of Axona has been seen to have a beneficial effect on some patients. Thus it is not a medical food without benefits. Axona benefits are just yet to be completely and surely found. Research is going on in this and the break-through is expected soon.