Essentiality and toxicity of mineral elements in human nutrition

Course Coordinator

ECTS points:


Course number:

Course Description

The aim of the module is to learn on most recent research-based knowledge regarding the importance and features of the simultaneous and unavoidable presence of various mineral elements in human diet and how is this evaluated on international level.

In the human environment, water, soil, air, and everyday items are sources of mineral elements in the food chain, which is the most important source for their intake into the human body. Students will get acquainted with the principles of bioavailability, the fate of elements within the human body, the conditions under which mineral elements have favourable (essential) and harmful (toxic) effects on human health, as well as related concepts such as the level of exposure, internal dose, target organs of the action and types of mineral element effects.

It is taught by means of mineral element intake and exposure assessment through the diet. This includes food, beverages, and dietary supplements, other modes of intake as well as personal habits, life style, and work, as integral parts of all exposures from conception to the natural end of a human life as well as in the totality of human exposure to all external and internal environments. Students will also learn about the principles of optimising essential element intake and reducing intake or facilitate excretion of toxic elements from the body, taking advantage of the interaction of essential and toxic elements and the ability to bind toxic metals and metalloids in chelates in order to lower the risk of increased element retention in the body and treat poisoning with toxic amounts of elements.


Lectures: 10

Seminars: 10

Description of instruction methods: Lectures and interactive seminars with presentations and discussions on selected topics based on the latest literature sources and experience of lecturers from this area.

Description of course/module requirements: Active participation in planned lessons distributed in the schedule according to topics; understanding the presented material and literature containing selected target materials; preparation of short essays and oral presentations; oral and written exams (short tests based on the presented material and assignment themes per groups).

{* *}