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Health Glossary

Glossary of Nutritional Terms


ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate): An important chemical involved in the energy production of a cell. ADP is formed when ATP is broken down within the mitochondria to provide energy for muscle contraction. In order to recreate ATP and replenish cellular energy stores, ADP must combine with creatine phosphate.

Aerobic: Means requiring oxygen. Aerobic metabolism occurs during low intensity, long duration exercises, like jogging.

Amino acids: A group of nitrogen-containing, carbon-based organic compounds that serve as the building blocks of protein and muscle.

Aminogen: Naturally derived plant enzyme. It may enable the body to utilize protein more efficiently, which can help build and repair muscles, reduce fatigue and increase energy levels. When taken with protein, Aminogen helps the body break peptide bonds, which attach amino acids to protein molecules. The resulting free-form amino acids are then absorbed directly into the bloodstream.

Amylases: Enzymes that break down carbohydrates into glucose.

Anabolic: Refers to the actual building process of tissues, mainly muscle, in the body.

Anabolic Steroids: Synthetic versions of the male hormone testosterone. Through drastic metabolic changes in the body, steroids speed up protein synthesis, reduce catabolism, and increase muscle mass and strength. Dramatic gains in muscularity are often accompanied by serious side effects.

Anaerobic: Means without oxygen. Anaerobic metabolism occurs during explosive activities like weightlifting or sprinting.

Androgen: General term for any male sex hormone. Androgen is associated with size and strength gains.

Androstenedione: Androstenedione is a natural steroid hormone found in all animals (meat) as well as some plants (extracts). It is a metabolite of DHEA that serves as a direct precursor (one step removed) in the bio-synthesis of testosterone. In all mammals, androstenedione is produced in the gonads and adrenal glands. This oral form of androstenedione is metabolized in the liver to testosterone in conjunction with a zinc-dependant enzyme.

Anti-catabolism: The halting of cellular breakdown in the body. A number of effective supplements such as glutamine, AKG, and HMB may help reduce muscle catabolism.

Antioxidants: Minimize tissue oxidation and help reduce free radicals in the body. Vitamins A, C, E and the mineral selenium are examples.

Aspartame: (a.k.a. NutraSweet) is an artificial sweetener that consists of two amino acids: aspartic acid and phenylalanine. Foods that contain this substance are labeled so as to notify individuals with phenylketonuria, a rare disease that requires control of dietary phenylalanine. Many products have "natural" versions that are usually free of aspartame.

ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate): A high-energy molecule stored in muscle and other cells in the body. When a muscle cell needs energy to contract, ATP is broken down to ADP to provide this energy. ATP can be thought of as the actual fuel that makes muscles move.

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Basal metabolic rate: The metabolic rate as measured under basal conditions: 12 hours after eating, after a restful sleep, no exercise or activity preceding test, elimination of emotional excitement and occurring in a comfortable temperature.

Branch Chained Amino Acids (BCAA's): They include valine, isoleucine and leucine. They comprise one third of muscle protein and are used directly for fuel by muscles which spares other amino acids from being catabolized.

Bioavailability: The ease at which nutrients can be absorbed.

Biological Value (BV): A measure of protein quality, assessed by how well a given food supports nitrogen retention

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Carbogen: A non-animal derived enzyme formulation. It is formulated to aid in the digestion of carbohydrates, allowing for more efficient utilization of carbs as energy. Carbogen helps the digestive system break down complex carbohydrates into simple carbohydrates. This allows for more carbohydrates to be used as energy. Carbogen may increase energy levels by allowing fiber to be converted to fuel and by producing higher blood glucose levels when taken with meals. Higher blood glucose levels may also aid in muscle recovery.

Catabolism: The breakdown or loss of muscle and other bodily tissues.

Chitosan: Is a fiber that is isolated from shellfish. It has a unique property that allows it to bind with fat. In theory, you should take chitosan with fatty meals. The chitosan will bind the fat and the body will not absorb it so the fat gets flushed out of your system.

Cholesterol: Type of lipid which is a vital component in the production of many steroid hormones in the body. It also plays a vital role in proper cell membrane structure and functioning. There are two types of cholesterol: HDL (good) and LDL (bad).

Chondroitin Sulfate: Chondroitin is a derivative of glucosamine that supports the strength and flexibility of all connective tissues in the body.

Coenzyme: A substance which works with an enzyme to promote the enzymes activity. Many coenzymes have vitamins as part of their structures.

Collagen: A protein which is the basis of connective tissue found in skin, ligaments, cartilage, vertebral discs, joint linings, capillary walls, and the bones and teeth.

Complete Proteins: Proteins that contain all the essential amino acids in the right balance.

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA): A naturally-occurring fatty acid that has been shown in research and clinical studies to reduce body fat. Its commercial form is derived from sunflower oil.

CoQ10: Coenzyme for numerous reactions in the body. It is also a powerful antioxidant especially in the cardiovascular system.

Cortisol: One of the primary catabolic hormones in the body.

Creatine: A high-energy compound in muscle cells which stores energy and provides the energy for short bursts of activity. It does this by increasing the availability of ATP. Since strength depends on how quickly ATP can be made available during exercise, increasing muscle creatine increases our strength.

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Dextrose: Simply another name for glucose.

DHEA: Stands for dehydroepiandrosterone. DHEA is produced in the adrenal glands and brain and is metabolized into other hormones including testosterone and estrogen. It's two steps away from converting to testosterone and can easily convert to estrogen. DHEA rises during puberty and reaches its peak around the age of 30. As DHEA levels decline, they have a direct effect on the aging process, including a decline in immune and memory functions.

Diuretic: This term can describe any product that increases the amount of urine excreted by the body. Natural diuretics include black tea, coffee, guarana and dandelion.

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Echinacea: A natural anti-biotic that increases bodily resistance to infection and is used for boils, erysipelas, cancer, syphilis and other impurities of the blood.

Electrolytes: Substances that, in solution, are capable of conducting electricity. These charged particles are present throughout the body and are involved in many activities such as regulating the distribution of water inside and outside cells in the body. Examples include potassium, sodium, and chloride.

Enzyme: A protein molecule that acts as a "helper" in thousands of chemical reactions in the body

Ephedra: Also known as Ma Huang, is a member of the family of herbs known as the Ephedracae. It has been used in China for more than 4000 years to treat symptoms of asthma and upper respiratory infections Ephedra contains two alkaloids, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. Ephedrine, the main constituent, is a bronchodilator and stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. Because of its stimulating effect on the nervous system, ephedra can be found in some popular weight loss and energy products. Ephedrine increases the metabolic rate, so that your body burns fats and sugar more efficiently. By mobilizing stored fat and carbohydrate reserves, ephedrine reduces your appetite.

Essential Amino Acids: These must be supplied to the body from food or supplements. They include: methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine, isoleucine, leucine and lysine.

Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs): Fats that are bodies cannot manufacture that must be obtained through our diets or supplementation. These fats, which include linoleic and linolenic acid, are very important to hormone production, as well as cellular synthesis and integrity. Good sources are flaxseed, safflower, olive, canola and fish oils.

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Free Radicals: Highly reactive molecules possessing unpaired electrons that are produced during metabolism of food and energy. They are believed to contribute to the molecular damage and death of vital body cells. They may be a factor in aging or disease. Antioxidants help neutralize them.

Free-Form Amino Acids: Structurally unlinked, individual amino acids.

Fructose: Main type of sugar found in fruit. It's sweeter than sucrose (table sugar) and has a low glycemic index.

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Gingko: An herb that is harvested from the leaf of the Gingko Biloba tree, one of the world's oldest surviving tree species. Gingko helps to provide greater mental alertness and concentration by increasing neurotransmitter activity.

Glucagon: Hormone responsible for helping maintain proper blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels get too low, glucagon activates glucose production in the liver, as well as regulates the release of glycogen from muscle cells. It's considered a catabolic hormone as it may cause the catabolism of muscle cell proteins for glucose.

Glucosamine Sulfate: Provides the joints with the building blocks they need to repair damage caused by osteoarthritis or injuries. Supplemental sources are derived from seashells. Glucosamine is also known as chitosamine.

Glucose: Is the simplest sugar molecule and the main sugar found blood. Complex carbohydrates are broken down by the body info glucose. Our bodies can only use so much glucose at a time, excess amounts are converted to fatty acids and triglycerides by the liver and fatty tissue. Our bodies release a rapid and large amount of insulin to counteract the influx of sugar.

Glucose Disposal Agent: Nutrient or complex of nutrients that has the ability to increase insulin sensitivity, thus allowing circulating blood glucose to be readily deposited into targeted tissues.

Glutamine: A conditionally essential amino acid that is the most abundant amino in skeletal muscle. It's involved in protein synthesis and reduces muscle catabolism. It also plays a vital role in gut integrity and in the immune system.

Glycemic Index (GI): Measure of the extent to which a food raises the blood sugar level as compared to white bread, which has a GI of 100. The lower the number, the less insulin is released by your body.

Glycerol: A three-carbon sugar of which fatty acids attach to form triglycerides. It's often used in bodybuilding to help increase the "cut" look and vascularity before a photo shoot or contest. Endurance athletes also use glycerol to prolong the onset of dehydration.

Glycogen: The principal storage form of carbohydrate energy, which is reserved in muscles and in the liver. When your muscles are full of glycogen, they look and feel pumped.

Growth Hormone (GH): Hormone that is naturally released by the pituitary gland; it is an anabolic hormone. GH promotes muscle growth and the breakdown of body fat for energy. GH levels are high in children and in teens, but they diminish greatly after age 20.

Guaranį: A berry that grows in Venezuela and the northern parts of Brazil. The primary active agent in guaranį is guaranine, which is nearly the same as caffeine. Effects are similar to caffeine and include stimulating the central nervous system and increasing the metabolic rate.

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HDL: Stands for "high density lipoprotein." It's typically thought of as the "good" cholesterol as it clear fats from our bloodstream. Exercise has been shown to increase HDL levels.

Hormones: Substances in the body that regulate various biological processes through their ability to activate and deactivate enzymes.

Horny Goat Weed: A combination of herbs that may enhance sexual performance through a variety of mechanisms such as increased testosterone production, increased energy and increased sexual hormone production. Many of the herbs contained in horny goat weed have been used in traditional botanical medicine in China, South America and Ayruveda. In addition, research has shown that horny goat weed has anti-fatigue effects and helps prevents adrenal exhaustion. As a natural aphrodisiac, it may serve as an alternative to Viagra.

Hydrolyzation: Process of breaking large peptides into smaller ones. It is sometimes referred to as "pre-digested."

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Insulin: An anabolic hormone secreted by the pancreas that aids the body in maintaining proper blood sugar levels and promoting glycogen storage. Insulin secretion speeds the movement of nutrients through the bloodstream and into muscle for growth.

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Ketosis: Occurs when your body uses fat as its primary source of fuel. Ketones are produced whenever body fat is burned. When you burn a larger amount of fat than is immediately needed for energy, the excess ketones are discarded in the urine.

Ketones: Organic chemical compounds resulting from the breakdown of triglycerides. They are used as an energy source in the body during very low carbohydrate diets.

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Lactase: An enzyme which breaks down milk sugar or lactose.

LDL: Stands for "low density lipoprotein." This is typically referred to as the "bad" cholesterol. LDL is the type of cholesterol that circulates throughout the bloodstream and may cause heart disease.

Lean Body Mass: Includes all skeletal bones and muscle, skin, organs, hair, blood, body water. It's basically your weight minus body fat.

Linoleic Acid: An essential fatty acid, more specifically, an omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid. Good sources are safflower and soybean oil.

Linolenic Acid: An essential fatty acid, more precisely, an omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid. Found in flaxseed oil and fish oil.

Lipid: Simply another name for dietary fats or triglycerides.

Lipolysis: Refers to the chemical breakdown of stored body fat by enzymes for energy

Luteinizing Hormone (LH): In men, LH stimulates the testes to produce testosterone. LH induces ovulation in women.

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Macronutrients: Proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Proteins and carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram while fats contains 9.

Maltodextrin: An easily digestible blend of complex carbohydrates from corn starch. Maltodextrin contains "glucose polymers" which are linked sugar compounds that are easy for the body to assimilate and use. Glucose polymers are metabolized at a slow, steady rate to help sustain energy levels.

Meal-Replacements: Supplements which contain protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and other key nutrients which are used to replace a regular food meal for purposes of weight loss, weight gain, or increasing dietary intake.

Metabolic Rate: Refers to the rate you convert food into energy. The metabolic rate is controlled by a number of factors, including: muscle mass (the greater your muscle mass, the greater your metabolic rate), caloric intake, exercise, and use of stimulant or depressant chemicals.

Metabolism: Process by which substances come into the body and the rate at which they are utilized.

Micronutrients: Vitamins and minerals

Minerals: Naturally occurring, inorganic substances that are essential for human life and play a role in many vital metabolic processes.

Monounsaturated Fats: Fatty acids that are not "saturated" with hydrogen and contain one double bond in the carbon chain. Monounsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature, but solidify when refrigerated, Examples are canola, olive and peanut oils.

MSM (methylsulfonylmethane): A natural, nutritional source of biologically active sulfur that provides the body with the raw materials it needs to regenerate connective tissues. MSM may also have an anti-inflammatory effect on injured joints.

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Nitrogen Balance: When a person's daily intake of nitrogen from proteins equals the daily excretion of nitrogen; a negative nitrogen balance occurs when the excretion of nitrogen exceeds the daily intake and is often seen when muscle is being lost. A positive nitrogen balance is associated with muscle growth.

Nonessential Amino Acids: These can be synthesized by the body from other amino acids. They include: ornithine, carnitine, tyrosine, glycine, histidine, cysteine, cystine, proline, citrulline, serine.

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Oxidation: Process of cellular decomposition and breakdown. Oxidation produces free radicals.

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PDCAAS: Stands for the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score. It represents the most advanced protein quality measurement. Any protein with a rating of 1.0 is considered complete for humans.

Peptide: A compound made up of two or more amino acids. Protein molecules are broken down into peptides in the gut and absorbed in that form.

Precursors: Compounds from which another compound is formed. For example, the hormone androstenedione is a direct precursor to testosterone in the body.

Prohormone: Refers to a class of chemicals typically found inside various glands in the body, such as the pituitary and adrenal glands. These chemical are direct precursors to hormone production.

Prostaglandins: "Hormone-like" chemicals produced in the body. Their structure is much like that of fatty acid, and they exhibit a wide range of actions on things like blood pressure, water balance, immune system reactions, inflammation, etc.

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Ribose: A sugar produced in adequate amounts through normal metabolism. It's a structural element in various enzyme cofactors and is known as a "building block" of ATP.

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Saturated Fats: They're called "saturated" because they contain no open spots on their "carbon chain." Saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature. These bad fats have been shown to raise cholesterol levels in the body and have no biological function in the body other than to supply calories.

Stacking: refers to taking two or more compounds at once in an attempt to maximize results.

Sublingual: This term means "beneath the tongue." This occasionally results in better absorption.

Sucrose: Commonly known as table sugar.

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Thermogenic: Term means heat producing or fat burning. Taking a thermogenic will speed up the metabolism, raise core body temperature, and accelerate calorie expenditure.

Trans-Fats: Trans fats are produced through hydrogenation, a chemical process by which hydrogen is added to unsaturated fatty acids. Hydrogenation converts the unsaturated bonds in the oil into saturated bonds, creating a solid, spreadable fat with increased shelf life. Hydrogenation gets rid of some double bonds, but incompletely transforms others. Examples include hydrogenated oils, hydrogenated vegetable oils, margarine, partially-hydrogenated oils, and vegetable shortening.

Triglyceride: Scientific name for a common dietary fat. The backbone of the molecule is a glycerol molecule that is connected to three fatty acid molecules. Triglycerides are called fats or lipids.

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Unsaturated Fats: These are the good fats. They're called "unsaturated" because they have one or more open "carbon spots." They can be divided into two categories: polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats have been shown to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides levels in the blood. Sources of theses fats include safflower, olive, flaxseed, and fish oils.

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Vitamins: Organic compounds which are vital to life. Many of them function as coenzymes, supporting a multitude of biological functions.

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Yohimbe: is an herbal medication made of the bark of an African tree (Corynanthe yohimbe). One of the components of yohimbe, named yohimbine, was the only medication approved by the FDA for the treatment of impotence before Viagra hit the market . Yohimbine is the primary active component in yohimbe. It dilates blood vessels. This has made the compound a useful substance for treating male sexual dysfunction.

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ZMA: A dietary supplement containing zinc and magnesium. The minerals, zinc and magnesium, are heavily used by the body during exercise. Many athletes are deficient in these important nutrients. Supplementing with ZMA, can help support greater increases in strength as well as enhance muscle growth without the risk of possible side effects from using prohormones.

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