ERN2300 – Micronutrients – from molecular mechanisms to clinical practice

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course "Micronutrients – from molecular mechanisms to clinical practice" provides a thorough introduction to the scientific basis for the Nordic nutritional recommendations regarding vitamins and minerals. You will learn about the functions of these nutrients through studies of molecular mechanisms involving vitamins and minerals. You will gain knowledge about how vitamins and minerals act as enzyme cofactors, how they affect gene expression, and how they stimulate epigenetic processes. During this course you will learn to assess the intake of micronutrients in relation to recommendations for healthy individuals and how to provide relevant advice on food choices and use of dietary supplements. You will also learn how to provide customised nutritional treatment to patients with vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Learning outcome

Knowledge

On completion of the course, you should be able to:

  • explain the scientific basis for the Nordic nutritional recommendations (NNR) for vitamins and minerals
  • explain how the use of NNR can be adapted to individuals and groups
  • describe the significance and use of the terms "average requirement" (AR), "recommended intake" (RI), "lower intake level" (LI) and   "upper intake level" (UL)
  • provide detailed descriptions of the vitamins (A, B, C, D, E, K), the minerals (Ca, Fe, Zn, Mg, Se, I, Cu, Cr) and antioxidants, their natural sources and recommended daily intake
  • recognise the chemical structure of vitamins and other bioactive micronutrients
  • explain the role of vitamins and minerals in molecular mechanisms in cells
  • explain the function of enzymes in metabolic pathways and the role of vitamins and minerals as cofactors
  • describe relevant reactions in the cell where vitamins and minerals act as cofactors
  • explain the principles of gene regulation, including epigenetics
  • explain the nuclear receptor superfamily and how nutrients, including vitamins, can affect gene expression by acting as ligands for these ranscription factors
  • explain how folic acid can affect DNA methylation and other epigenetic changes
  • explain the significance of mutations and genetic variants in the genome and how they can affect the individual's needs for minerals and vitamins
  • explain possible advantages and disadvantages of micronutrient food fortification.

Skills

On completion of the course, you should be able to:

  • assess the biochemical vitamin and mineral status of individuals and Groups 
  • assess the intake of vitamins and minerals in individuals and groups in light of the NNR recommendations
  • communicate relevant advice on food choices and use of dietary supplements to individuals and Groups
  • provide customised nutritional treatment to patients with vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • discuss advantages and disadvantages of using dietary supplements with individuals and Groups
  • read and interpret scientific literature to resolve clinical issues related to micronutrients
  • communicate knowledge about the mechanisms of action of vitamins and minerals

General competencies

On completion of the course, you should be able to:

  • apply knowledge and skills about micronutrients in connection with treatment of patients, teaching and Research
  • apply knowledge and skills about micronutrients in connection with preventive healthcare
  • reflect on ethical issues related to food fortification and use of dietary supplements

Admission

This course is reserved exclusively for students taking the five-year master's degree in clinical nutrition.

Prerequisites

Formal prerequisite knowledge

The Faculty may require a programme student who has been absent from the programme for more than two consecutive years to repeat previously approved mandatory teaching and/or previously passed examinations before being allowed to resume his/her studies.

Teaching

The teaching consists of lectures, e-Learning and article/case seminars.

Access to teaching

 

 

Examination

Three-hour digital examination.

• Digital examinations at the Faculty of Medicine

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed. A calculator will be provided by the Section for Student Affairs.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in Norwegian. You may submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish or Danish.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to sit the examination in this course up to three times. Students who do not turn up for an examination and do not have a legitimate reason for their absence ("legitimate absence") cannot take the deferred examination. They will be moved down a year group. Withdrawal during an examination counts as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Students who need an adapted examination due to illness, disability, birth or breastfeeding can apply for adaptation. Students who are due to give birth within three weeks after the date of the examination and who apply with a document confirming their due date are given more time for the examination. A medical certificate or other valid documentation must be submitted with the application.
Application deadlines:

• 1st of September for the autumn semester
• 1st of February for the spring semester

Applications should be sent to postmottak@medisin.uio.no.

Evaluation

The course will be evaluated by the students at the end of the semester.
 

Facts about this course

Credits

6

Teaching

Every spring

Examination

Every spring

Teaching language

Norwegian