94189 - Applied Nutraceutical

Academic Year 2022/2023

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Rimini
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Human Nutrition, Well-Being And Health (cod. 5812)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student: - knows the basic elements on the biochemical role and the mechanism of action at the cellular, molecular, metabolic, genetic and epigenetic level of the nutraceutical components contained in food. - will be able to understand the rationale for using the main nutraceuticals in the protection / prevention of chronic degenerative diseases. - is able to communicate the optimal use of nutraceuticals within the framework of the guidelines for proper nutrition.

Course contents

Nutrition evolution from model 1.0 to model 3.0. Definition of Health, Quality of Life and Well-being. Definition of Nutraceutical. Nutraceuticals versus Pharmaceutics? The concept of Human Enhancement Medicine and Pharma-Food.

Insights on oxidative stress: the oxygen paradox. References of redox chemistry: reactive oxygen species (ROS) as pro-oxidants. Endogenous sources of ROS: mitochondria, NADPH oxidase, peroxisomes, lysosomes, cytosolic sources. Nitrogen oxide (NO) and peroxynitrite. Exogenous sources of ROS: UV radiation, ionizing radiation, environmental pollution. ROS reactivity and stability.

Oxidative stress and cellular damage to lipids, proteins, DNA. Severity of oxidative stress and biological consequences: related pathologies.

From functional food to nutraceuticals: the European Consensus Document. Nutritional claims (permitted nutritional claims), functional and health-related claims.

Phytochemicals contained in food: classification. “Pharmacological” doses vs. "physiological" doses. Nutraceutical bioavailability.

Mechanism of action of nutraceuticals: anti-inflammatory action and the signal transduction pathway mediated by the NF-kB factor; detoxifying action and the transduction pathway mediated by the Nrf2 factor.

The main phytochemicals with Nutraceutical action: flavonoids, anthocyanins, allyl sulphides, glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, isoflavones, curcuminoids, gingerol. The non-psychoactive components of Cannabis sativa as nutraceuticals

Nutraceuticals with chemopreventive action.

Cardioprotective nutraceuticals: focus on non-enzymatic glycation.

Nutraceuticals with neuroprotective action: focus on Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases

Nutraceuticals and Nutrigenomics: introduction to nutrigenomics, difference between nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics, direct and indirect effect of nutrients on gene expression, epigenome and modulation by nutraceuticals.


Lecture notes in the form of a pdf file of the slides projected in class

Nutraceuticals: Efficacy, Safety and Toxicity. Ramesh C. Gupta, Academic Press 2016

Selected paper published on Scientific Journals

Teaching methods

Theoretical lessons with Power Point slides.

Didactic materials (presentations with written text) prepared ad hoc by the teacher and usable in pdf format, provided before and during the lesson, will be made available in the Virtual environment, as well as articles from scientific journals published in open access and videos of the lessons recorded with the Panopto system (video-lesson) provided at the end of the lesson and available throughout the Academic Year in a Virtual environment.

In particular, the use of the lessons in asynchronous mode will allow students to prepare themselves for the exam, possibly with the remote supervision of the teacher.

The teaching participates in the University's educational innovation project.

Assessment methods

The examination at the end of the course aims to assess the achievement of learning objectives:
- to know the main nutraceuticals in food and mechanism of action
- to know the role of nutraceutical compounds in the prevention of chronic/degenerative diseases

- to know the rationale and evidence to use nutraceuticals, and to correctly communicate their use

The exam consists of an oral examination. The vote is defined by an oral test with two questions aimed at evaluating the theoretical knowledge on nutraceuticals, on the possibility of preventing degenerative / chronic diseases through their use, on the rationale for use to compensate for the potential inadequacy of the diet. The first question will be on a topic chosen and developed by the student (also through group work), the second will be selected by the teacher on the topics covered in the program. Registration is required by Alma Esami.

Teaching tools

PC, overhead projector, virtuale.unibo.it, eol.unibo.it, Panopto

Office hours

See the website of Silvana Hrelia


Zero hunger Good health and well-being Quality education Responsible consumption and production

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.