dna iconNutritional Supplementation in Down Syndrome


Nutritional Supplementation in Down Syndrome

Theoretical Considerations and Current Status (2000)

Cornelius Ani, Sally Grantham-McGregor; David Muller



The first author was part-funded by the Down Syndrome Research Foundation and the second author was part funded by the Department for International Development.


Down syndrome (DS) is the most common inherited cause of learning disability, and affected individuals are more prone to infections, leukaemia, congenital heart disease and other anomalies, thyroid dysfunction, early senescence and Alzheimer’s disease. These complications create a heavy burden for carers of individuals with DS and the social health services. Consequently, any intervention that ameliorates some of these complications will have a significant impact on the quality of life of individuals with DS and their carers. However, before investing resources in interventions, it is important to ascertain their scientific validity.

The Internet and the lay press make many claims that certain expensive nutritional supplements improve the out-come in DS. These claims have left some health professionals confused and parents of children with DS vulnerable to pressures to spend large amounts of money on nutritional supplements whose benefits have not been proved. This review was undertaken firstly, to determine whether there is a theoretical basis to expect that nutritional supplements may improve the pathology of DS, and secondly to critically examine published trials of nutritional supplements in DS to determine whether the existing evidence supports claims that nutritional supplements improve the outcome in DS.  

This summary is reproduced with permission, March 28, 2000 "Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology 2000"

To read the full article published in the BMJ 2000 click here