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Nutritional Biochemistry

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Lebensmittel wie Fisch, Fleisch und Gemüse aufgereiht auf einem Tisch

Welcome to the Chair of Nutritional Biochemistry

The composition of our food and our dietary patterns such as omnivorous, vegetarian or vegan diets influence not only physical and cognitive performance and health status, but also individual behavior and well-being. Furthermore, nutrition represents a central component in the regulation of intermediary and energy metabolism through its involvement in almost all metabolic processes.

Obesity is a worldwide problem affecting almost 40 % of the population. The main underlying reasons are high caloric diets and reduced physical exercise. The prevalence of obesity, insulin resistance and the consequent diseases such as type-2-diabetes and metabolic syndrome is increasing rapidly.

The incidence of non-alcoholic or metabolic-associated fatty liver disease (NAFLD / MAFLD), which is characterized by hepatic lipid accumulation, is correlated with the body mass index. NAFLD is generally considered to be the hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome and is the most frequent cause of functional disorders of the liver. NAFLD comprises both the mild form of benign hepatic steatosis (fatty liver) as well as the progressive form of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), in which hepatic steatosis is accompanied by inflammation and fibrosis. The development of NASH may result in hepatocellular carcinoma, liver cirrhosis and terminal organ failure. High fat diets and dietary cholesterol might impact the transition from fatty liver to NASH.

The chair of Nutritional Biochemistry focuses on the molecular mechanism, how food components such as saturated and unsaturated fatty acids as well as cholesterol affect the insulin-regulated glucose and lipid metabolism in different cell types. As obesity is associated with a low-grade inflammation, we are interested in the regulation of macrophage activation by food components and bioactive lipids such as prostaglandins. Our main research goal is to develop mechanistic insights into the connection between nutrition and health.

Webmaster: Univ.Prof.Dr. Janin Henkel-Oberländer

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