HNE-23306 Pharmacology and Nutrition


Studiepunten 6.00

Practical intensively supervised20
Problem-based learning12
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. RF Witkamp
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. RF Witkamp
Examiner(s)prof. dr. RF Witkamp
dr. J Meijerink

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

HAP-10306 Principles of Human Physiology, HAP-21303 Integrated Human Physiology

Continuation courses:

HNE-34306 Advanced Metabolic Aspects of Nutrition, HNE-34806 Nutritional Genomics and Genetics and HNE-39306 Pharmacological Aspects of Nutrition


Traditionally, nutrition has been dealing with maintaining health and the prevention of deficiencies. Pharmacotherapy on the other hand usually starts with some form of disease, trauma, or at least a medical complaint. However, the borders between both disciplines are not always clear, and even tend to dissolve. Functional foods and medicines can both be applied to prevent diseases, and medical treatment may involve dietary intervention. This course will introduce the basic concepts of pharmacology and the different classes of medicinal compounds that are in use. Differences and similarities between drugs, nutrients and dietary supplements will be addressed, as well as the way these are discovered and developed into products. Attention will also be given to the consequences of drug formulation for the dose-regimen and effect(s). Examples from clinical therapy will be used to illustrate pharmacotherapy. Finally, the interaction between nutrients and drugs will be studied.

Learning outcomes:

After this course the student is expected:
- to understand the basic principles of pharmacology and to explain the general mechanisms of action of the most important classes of medicines;
- to be able to perform basic calculations on the behaviour of drugs in the body (pharmacokinetics) and to estimate dosing schedules based on these calculations;
- to understand and explain how the formulation of an active compound can influence its effects and side-effects;
- to be able to explain the differences and similarities between drugs (medicines), dietary supplements and functional foods in terms of their legal status and use;
- to have a basic knowledge on pharmacological methods and the way medicines are being discovered and developed;
- to understand how molecular nutrition research can benefit from the principles of target identification as developed in pharmacological research;
- to understand and explain the major mechanisms of food-drug interactions;
- to be able to interpret a drug package leaflet;
- to be able to form an opinion on a food supplement or dietary intervention strategy with a health claim, and to evaluate its role in the prevention or treatment of a disease from a nutritional and pharmacological point of view;
- to use and evaluate (sources of-) information on medicines and food supplements that are made available trough the internet.


The course will contain several parts:
- 24 lectures;
- a practical course that will focus on different molecular effects induced by nutrients or drugs on cells in tissue culture;
- eLearning module focussed on functional foods;
- literature search focussed on the molecular activity of nutrients with a health stimulating effect.


Written final examination.


Course reader will be available at the WUR Shop, Forum. Book: Rang & Dale's Pharmacology. 7th Edition. ISBN 13: 702034718.

Verplicht voor: BVGNutrition and HealthBSc3WD
Keuze voor: MBTBiotechnologyMScC: Medical Biotechnology3WD
Keuze voor: WUFHDBSc Minor Food, Intestinal Homeostasis and Disease3WD
WUNHEBSc Minor Nutrition and Health3WD
WUHAHBSc Minor Healthy Aging in Humans and Model Species3WD