This summer, we are looking to update our AKU recipe booklet. We invite patients to send in their favourite recipes, which we will adapt and add to our collection. If you have any ideas, email Lesley at [email protected].

The National Alkaptonuria Centre (NAC) in Liverpool gives English and Scottish AKU patients a drug called nitisinone. Nitisinone is a very promising treatment. It stops an acid called homogentisic acid building up in the blood, limiting the damage done by AKU. However, it does have side-effects. It stops the breakdown of an amino acid called tyrosine, contained in the protein that we eat. Tyrosine therefore builds up in the blood. In a very few cases, this can cause eye problems and skin rash.

For this reason, it is important that patients taking nitisinone keep an eye on their tyrosine levels. Luckily, the NAC has a specialist dietitian, Shirley Judd, who can help with this. She advises patients as to what they should eat, with a particular focus on controlling protein. Shirley stresses, though, that this is a controlled protein diet, not necessarily a low protein diet. The amount of protein each person should eat depends on their weight and previous protein intake.


Most people who attend the NAC have never had to worry about their protein intake before. To help them, Shirley and the AKU Society put together a controlled protein recipe booklet in summer 2016. There are a wide range of recipes in there. All are adapted to fit the protein requirements for AKU patients taking nitisinone. The booklet is given out to all NAC patients and has been available at our patient workshops. If you didn’t get yours, get in touch.

The AKU Society team are particularly keen on the vegetable and chickpea tagine:

Ingredients for 4 servings
1 tbsp oil
2 cloves crushed garlic
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ ground ginger
½ chilli powder
450g mixed vegetable cut into bite-sized pieces (e.g. courgette, broccoli, carrot, celery and onion)
100ml veg stock
400g tin chickpeas drained and rinsed
50g dried apricots
400g chopped tomatoes
1 tsp harissa paste
black pepper
2 tbsp fresh coriander for garnish

1.  Heat the oil in a stick pan
2.  Add garlic, cumin, ginger and chilli powder and fry for 2 minutes until spices are fragrant
3.  Add the vegetables and fry for 2-3 minutes


4.  Pour over the stock and add the chickpeas, apricots and tomatoes
5.  Bring to boil and simmer for 10-12 minutes until vegetables are tender


6.  Stir in the harissa paste and season with black pepper
7.  Serve over couscous and sprinkle with fresh coriander

And enjoy!

Two years on, we are looking for new recipes. Don’t worry if you think your recipe has too much protein, Shirley will adapt it to make it suitable. We look forward to hearing from you.