Diet & AKU: Controlled Protein Diet With Nitisinone

Patients who are not taking nitisinone should not change their diet without consulting their doctor. Children should not reduce their protein levels.

When patients attend the National AKU Centre (NAC) and are prescribed nitisinone, they are also advised to follow a controlled protein diet.

This is because nitisinone use increases blood tyrosine levels, which can cause side effects. A way to help maintain tyrosine levels within an acceptable range is by controlling patients’ protein intake.

Patients have suggested describing this as a controlled protein diet rather than a low protein diet, as it is different for each individual depending on their body weight and previous protein intake. Before attending the NAC, patients will be sent a food diary to fill out which will assess their average daily protein intake. This will then help calculate their new protein intake. The amount of protein needed to keep muscle health will be calculated on an individual basis.¹

Image of the AKU Society's Low Protein Recipe book

Specialist AKU dietician, Clare Soulsby, helps patients change and manage their diet. Patients have a meeting with her during their time at the NAC, to discuss the changes taking place. It is also a chance to ask any questions or express any concerns they may have. Clare will not only help patients control their protein but also help them to maintain a healthy diet with AKU. After your first visit to the NAC, food diaries will be filled out at regular intervals to see how effective the diet is.

Patients will then be able to contact Clare for advice and help whenever they need through PatientsKnowBest, an online system that allows patients to access their medical records.

Working with Shirley Judd (the previous specialist AKU dietician working at the NAC) and the NAC, we developed a controlled protein recipe book for NAC patients who need some extra inspiration on how they can control their protein intake while eating some tasty food. To download the book, please head to this link – alternatively, you can email for more information.