Learning outcomes of the course unit
Upon completion of the course, the student should have gained insight into topics only partially covered in the course of Biochemistry regarding the fate of nutrients in the body. He\she should therefore be able to understand the digestion and absorption of the main nutrients, calculate their energy balance and associate the nutritional requirements with the biochemical pathways covered in the course of Biochemistry. The student should also have acquired the ability to understand the molecular basis of some metabolic dysfunctions, genetic disorders, and diseases associated to nutritional deficiencies.
Basic knowledge of organic chemistry and biochemistry. No formal prerequisites.
Course contents summary
The course will focus on selected topics of nutritional biochemistry and its dysfunctions, with particular emphasis on the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, minerals and vitamins.
• Nutritional Biochemistry: introduction and general aspects.
• The physiology of the gastrointestinal tract, a biochemical overview.
• Calories, Energy Balance, Calorie Requirements, RDA
• Transmembrane transport, general aspects; Transporters, channels, pumps. Biochemical bases of endocytosis; clatrine.
• Enzymes involved in digestion: general aspects. Catalytic mechanisms of hydrolysis.
• Digestion and absorption of carbohydrates: aspects of carbohydrate structure, digestion, absorption, metabolic fate; Hormone regulation of blood glucose, diabetes, biochemical markers of diabetes.
• Digestion and lipid absorption: the structure of food lipids; digestion, absorption and metabolic fate; Essential fatty acids; hyperlipidemia
• Digestion and protein absorption: protein structure, essential amino acids; digestion; pathologies associated with the malabsorption of amino acids.
• Absorption of ethanol.
• Minerals: Absorption, transport and biochemical role of calcium, iron, copper, sodium, potassium, chlorides, iodides.
• Vitamins: classification and general aspects. Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B3, Vitamin C, Vitamin A: Transport, Distribution, Biochemical Role, Deficiencies.
The teaching material will be made available on a weekly basis and loaded on the Elly platform. The teaching material includes all the slides.
“Biochimica degli Alimenti e della Nutrizione”- Ivo Cozzani, Enrico Dainese
“Biochimica della Nutrizione” - Ugo Leuzzi, Ersilia Bellocco, Davide Barreca
The teaching activities will be carried out as frontal lessons, with short classroom exercises to enhance student self-assessment.
Assessment methods and criteria
The achievement of the objectives will be assessed trough a written test, with both multiple choice and open-ended questions. The exam will take place on the official exams dates, upon online registration. The total time allotted for the exam is two hours. A Passed/Not Passed grading will be published on the Esse3 platform within a few days. The written tests remain available to the student.