HNH-31706 Nutrition and the Brain


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Course coordinator(s)IAC Arnoldussen
dr. ir. O van de Rest
Lecturer(s)dr. PAM Smeets
dr. ir. O van de Rest
IAC Arnoldussen
dr. WT Steegenga
Esther Aarts
Examiner(s)dr. ir. O van de Rest

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

- Basics of human physiology
- Basics of nutrition (macro- and micronutrients)

Continuation courses:

MSc Thesis


Note: This course has a maximum number of participants.
The deadline for registration is one week earlier than usual. See Academic Year:>Registration for Courses

In this course students will learn about different themes and aspects involved in nutritional research related to the brain and brain-related disorders. 
These themes comprise:
- Basic principles of brain function, metabolism and vasculature;
- Gut-brain axis, including diet-gut microbiome interactions.
- Basics and role of nutrition of brain-related disorders, such as cognitive ageing, Parkinson, depression, aggression, ADHD, autism, obesity and eating disorders.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain basic brain anatomy, morphology, function and alterations in brain-related disorders across the lifespan;
- explain nutrient metabolism and vasculature in the brain;
- explain the gut-brain axis and the effects of dietary factors on this axis, including their effects in the gut microbiome;
- explain the impact of nutrition and related factors on brain function and brain-related disorders;
- critically evaluate and judge literature about claims of nutritional effects on the brain;
- design a novel study investigating nutritional effects on a brain-related disorder;
- organize and execute an experiment to assess nutritional effects on the brain.


- (Guest)lectures;
- 3 group work assignments:
1) critically investigate, judge and discuss a nutrition & brain claim;
2) design a new nutritional study to investigate the nutritional effect on brain disease, and
3) execute a nutritional experiment to assess the effect of a nutritional component on cognitive and physical performance.


Written exam with open and closed questions (60%), group assignments (40%). Each individual grade needs to be ≥5.5 to pass the course.


To be announced

Restricted Optional for: MNHNutrition and HealthMScE: Spec. E - Systems Approach for Sustainable and Healthy Diets5AF
MNHNutrition and HealthMScF: Spec. F - Food Digestion and Health5AF
MNHNutrition and HealthMScA: Spec. A - Nutritional and Public Health Epidemiology5AF
MNHNutrition and HealthMScD: Spec. D - Sensory Science5AF
MNHNutrition and HealthMScC: Spec. C - Molecular Nutrition and Toxicology5AF
MNHNutrition and HealthMScB: Spec. B - Nutritional Physiology and Health Status5AF