cod. 1002632

Academic year 2023/24
4° year of course - Second semester
Academic discipline
Biochimica (BIO/10)
Attività formative affini o integrative
Type of training activity
10 hours
of face-to-face activities
1 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Integrated course unit module: LIFESTYLES AND WELL-BEING

Learning objectives

Knowledge and understanding
Know, understand and remember the basis of cellular metabolism, the metabolic relationships between the various organs and the biochemical nature of the related molecular and metabolic mechanisms linked to the digestion of food, and the metabolic and energy requirements of macronutrients and micronutrients.
Furthermore, know how to understand and remember the aspects of the bioenergetics of nutrition and the pathways of nutritional sensors, as well as the general principles of setting diets or nutritional regimes, and pathologies related to nutrition.
Applied knowledge and understanding
Use the acquired biochemical knowledge and analytical skills in a highly professional manner in all relevant areas of work. Furthermore, be able to accurately formulate and support reasoning to address and resolve issues relevant to the field of study.
Autonomy of judgement
Develop an insightful ability to evaluate the nutritional quality of foods, collect and analyze clinical data, formulate hypotheses, and independently research relevant scientific information.
Communication skills
Effectively convey information, address problems and present solutions inherent to the discipline. Clearly and rigorously elaborate the metabolic relationships between different organs, together with the biochemical nature of the relevant molecular and metabolic mechanisms linked to the digestion of foods. Articulate the content and potential applications of metabolism in a concise and lucid manner.
Ability to learn
Possess the essential learning skills to independently undertake the study of subsequent disciplines with a high level of autonomy.


The course must comply with the preparatory requirements set out in the CdS.

Course unit content

The course introduces the student to the molecular aspects of human nutrition and nutrition. The biochemical aspects of food digestion will be covered, i
recommended intake levels of the main nutrients, the metabolic and energy requirements of macronutrients and micronutrients.
Aspects of the bioenergetics of nutrition and nutritional sensor pathways will also be covered, as well as the general principles of setting diets or nutritional regimes, and nutrition-related pathologies.

Full programme

Human food and nutrition. Biochemical aspects of food digestion. Food biochemistry. Gastrointestinal hormones and nutritional neuroendocrinology.
Recommended intake levels of the main nutrients (LARN or RDA): general principles and epidemiological aspects. Metabolism and energy needs. Calorie needs. Macronutrients: carbohydrate needs, protein needs, essential amino acids, lipid needs. Micronutrients: requirement of vitamins and mineral salts. Dietary fiber and functional foods.
Bioenergetics of nutrition. Nutrition status: main indicators. Nutritional sensor pathways. Main nutritional sensors. Regulation of energy balance. Nutritional regulation of metabolism: molecular mechanisms. Biochemical and physiological mechanisms of adaptation to nutritional conditions.
General principles for setting diets or nutritional regimes. The Mediterranean model. Caloric restriction, protein restriction and aging: modulation of nutritional sensor pathways. Fasting. Eating disorders. Nutrition-related pathologies. Ethanol. Ethanol metabolism and its biochemical effects. Systemic effects of alcohol. Physical activity and sport. Physiological, biochemical and nutritional considerations for athletes. Nutrition and body weight. Considerations on adipose tissue.


We recommend that you refer to the most recent versions of the following texts:
- Pignatti C: Biochemistry of Nutrition, Aesculapius
- Devlin TM: Biochemistry with clinical aspects. Wiley-Liss, New York.
- Debellis L: Food, Nutrition and Health, EDISES
- Arienti G: The molecular basis of nutrition, Piccin

Teaching methods

The course will be divided into heuristic frontal lessons during which priority will be given to dialogue with the students, and in-depth seminars on specific topics, using multimedia systems. During the lessons, students will have the opportunity to discuss the essential aspects of the course. Teachers will be available throughout the course to answer questions and assist students through individual appointments as needed.

Assessment methods and criteria

The final exam in Human Biochemistry includes a written test with questions on the main topics covered in the extensive program shown below. Approval of the written test is semi-quantitative and gives access to the oral test for the overall evaluation. The corrected written text, reviewed by the teacher, will constitute the focal point of discussion during the oral test, facilitating self-correction and integration of contents as necessary for the student. The timetable for the oral tests will be provided following the marking of the written tests. The oral test will take place in a conventional way, focusing on additional topics of the program. Considering all the elements acquired, the commission will determine the final grade. Students who do not pass the written test will have the opportunity to review the corrected text and discuss any errors or weak points with the commission teachers via email by appointment. This activity aims to enhance individual preparation for subsequent attempts to pass the written test. At the end of each lesson, questions will be presented to the classroom aimed at strengthening the achievement of the training objectives and monitoring the level of understanding of the topics, to which students will be asked to respond voluntarily.

Other information

Support activities:
The educational contents have been transferred to the University E-Learning website -> To access it, click the "Go" button located at the bottom of Moodle. The availability and updating of the teaching material are subject to the approval of the competent University authorities. Individual students can access the restricted section of the course using a username and password. Once logged in, the student can schedule the exams by booking them from the available, accessible and annually scheduled lists.