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Glossary

Adrenal Glands

Located on top of the kidneys, the adrenal glands are part of the endocrine system (scroll down for definition).  They secrete various hormones such as adrenaline and hormones that control the use of fats, proteins and carbohydrates in the body.

 

Alkaloids

These are bitter tasting plant chemicals that can be either medicinal or toxic.  Thousands of alkaloids have been identified.  Two examples are nicotine and morphine.

 

Amino Acids

These are organic compounds that combine to form proteins.  They are used in every cell of our body to build proteins.  That is why they are often referred to as the building blocks of protein.  Amino acids have many functions including helping our bodies grow, digesting food and repairing body tissue. There are 3 types of amino acids:

 

Essential: These must be obtained through our diet.

 

Non Essential:  Our bodies produce them even if we don't get them from our food.

 

Conditional:  Non essential but are required during illness and times of stress.

 

Antioxidant

First, let's explain what oxidation is.  Oxidation is a naturally occurring process in nature.  In nature when meat goes rancid or an apple goes brown, that is oxidation.  When oxygen contacts cells in the body, oxidation occurs. This is a normal procedure.   The birth and death of cells is a 24/7 process.  Sometimes, however, healthy cells get damaged and that is when we need the help of antioxidants to help counteract this oxidative stress.   They are critical to the health of your body.  Antioxidants are nutrients found in many foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

 

Ascorbate

Another name for ascorbic acid or vitamin C is ascorbate.  Sometimes you might see vitamin C listed as "calcium ascorbate" or "magnesium ascorbate".  The minerals are being combined with the ascorbate to buffer the acidic nature of the vitamin C.  Ascorbates with minerals are easier to digest and more of the vitamin c can usually be taken without digestive disturbances.

 

Bioactivity

The effect that a substance has on living tissue.

 

Bioavailability

This is referring to how well a nutrient can be absorbed into the body.  Something which is considered highly bioavailable is easily digested and absorbed most of the time.

 

Bioflavonoids (or Flavonoids)

These are compounds found in plant pigments of fruits, vegetables and flowers. They are considered powerful antioxidants (protects the cells from oxidative and free radical damage).  Bioflavonoids work with other antioxidants to fortify the body's defense system.  They have a positive impact on eyesight, cardiovascular health, immune system, connective tissues of skin, appearance of skin and capillary strength.

 

Candida

Candida is a type of yeast that is present in our bodies in small amounts.  Long term antibiotic use, a diet high in sugars and starches and other factors can cause the candida to become excessive.  This is known as candida overgrowth.  An example of this is a yeast infection.  Symptoms of candida overgrowth can be quite miserable.  Some of these include joint pains, exhaustion, poor mental clarity, muscle weakness, sinus congestion, abdominal bloating and cravings for sweets.

 

Cartenoids

These are colorful plant pigments some of which can turn into vitamin A in the body.  They are powerful antioxidants that may help prevent certain types of cancer and heart disease.  Cartenoids are very beneficial for immune enhancement. 

 

 

Chelated (Minerals)

Chelated minerals are minerals which have been firmly bonded (attached) to an amino acid.  There is evidence to suggest that minerals which are chelated to amino acids are more easily digested and have a superior absorption factor.

 

Cholesterol

This is a lipid (fat) which is produced by the liver.  Every cell in our body has cholesterol in its outer layer.  Cholesterol has many functions in the body including building and maintaining cell membranes, converting sunshine to vitamin D, aiding in the metabolism of fat soluble vitamins, helping with the production of hormones and the production of bile.

 

Citrate

A deriviative of citric acid, a citrate is the calcium salt of citric acid.  It is often added to mineral formulas to increase the bioavailability of the mineral.

 

Citric Acid

This is a bitter acid found in many fruits.  It is sometimes added to food to give a sour flavor.  Citric acid is also added to foods, supplements and body care products as a natural preservative.

 

Coenzyme

A substance that works with an enzyme to help the enzyme function.

 

Colloidal

A mixture in which one thing is distributed evenly throughout another.  The thing that is distributed is suspended only in the mixture.  It does not change or dissolve in it.

 

Cortisol

A hormone made by the adrenal glands.  It is known as the "stress hormone" because it is secreted in higher levels during times of stress.  Cortisol influences metabolism, blood pressure, release of insulin, immune function and inflammatory response.

 

Electrolytes

Electrolytes are minerals in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electrical charge.  They are crucial for cellular health, blood pressure regularity, balanced pH, muscle function and they affect the amount of water in your body.  Electrolytes must be replaced with fluids.

 

Emulsify

Mixing two liquids together that wouldn't normally mix like water and oil.

 

Endocrine System

This is a collection of cells, glands and tissues that secrete hormones directly into the bloodstream. Hormones tell your cells what to do.  For example, the thyroid gland in the neck makes hormones that are important for growth, mental alertness and energy.

 

Enzymes

Enzymes are protein molecules which help chemical reactions in the body to occur.  They act as catalysts which means they make something work, or work better.  

 

Digestive Enzymes: We do not digest food but nutrients.  Enzymes help break down the food into nutrients so our bodies can absorb them.

 

Systemic Enzymes: Systemic means pertaining to or affecting the body as a whole. Chemical reactions are generally slow, enzymes speed them up.  Systemic enzymes are anti inflammatory and anti fibrosis. They improve circulation and cleanse the blood.  Systemic enzymes play a very important role in our immune system.

 

Essential Fatty Acid

Fatty acids that must be obtained through the diet are called essential fatty acids. The body can synthesize some fats from the foods we eat however 2 essential fatty acids - linolenic acid and linoleic acid found in plants, must be obtained from food.

 

Fatty Acid

A fatty acid is a sub-unit of fat.  Most of the fat we eat and store in the body are fatty acids. During digestion the body breaks down fat into fatty acids which can then be absorbed into the blood.

 

Flora

These are microorganisms that live on or within the body that support our immune system by helping to protect us from disease-producing microorganisms.

 

Free Radicals

A free radical is an unbalanced oxygen molecule that damages cells, protein and DNA material in the body.  They are created from the oxidative process.   It is impossible to avoid free radicals however excessive pollutants and toxins will contribute to an elevated level of free radicals in the body.  Free radical damage is thought to be the main cause of aging and disease.  Antioxidants are necessary to obtain through diet or supplementation to minimize their effects.

 

Genetically Modified Organisms

GM (genetically modified) food is a term which indicates that a food has been altered from its natural state. The altered food has been created by inserting foreign genetic material into a plant.  This foreign material is coming from bacteria and viruses that have never been in the human diet before.

 

Glycerine

A clean and odorless liquid from plant oils that is used in food items, cosmetic products and herbal tinctures.

 

Gluten

A protein found in wheat and other related grains such as barley, rye, spelt and bulgur.

 

GMP

This is the acronym for  "Good Manufacturing Process".  It is a standard of rules and procedures enforced by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  When you see this in the nutrition field, it is referring to the manufacturer as being compliant with the FDA's GMP guidelines.

 

Hesperidin

This is a type of bioflavonoid primarily found in citrus fruits

 

Hormone

Hormones are chemical substances that act as chemical messengers which are secreted into the blood. After being made in one part of the body they are carried to various organs and tissues to perform their functions.

 

Hormone Disrupters

Also known as endocrine disrupters, these are synthetic chemicals that can interfere with our body's natural hormonal (endocrine) system.  The reason this occurs is that certain toxins found in things like plastic, pesticides or detergents found in household products mimic hormones in the body.  Our body accepts the toxin as a hormone which then interferes (disrupts) our normal hormonal activity.

 

Hydrogenated Oils

This is a process in which hydrogen atoms are added to vegetable oils.  The process can literally take an oil that may be perfectly healthy in its natural state and turn it into one of the most toxic substances you can ingest.  After the hydrogenation process, the end result is a substance which is one molecule away from plastic.  It is very thick and viscous and when it enters the blood stream, the blood also becomes thick and viscous. This results in a buildup of plaque in the arteries, excessive cholesterol and other problems.

 

Immune System

A network of cells, tissues and organs that work together to protect the body from foreign invaders which cause infections and disease.

 

Lignans

A group of chemical compounds found in plants like flax, sesame, rye and pumpkin seeds. They are very high in antioxidants.

 

Lymphatic System

This is a network of tissues and organs that consists of lymph, lymph vessels and lymph nodes.  Lymph is a clear liquid that carries oxygen and nutrients to the cells.  The lymph fluid also contains white blood cells that help rid the body of toxins and waste. Lymph nodes are small structures that work as filters for harmful substances.  They attack and destroy germs in lymph fluid.  

 

Macronutrient

These are substances that the body requires in large amounts for optimum health.  Macronutrients are protein, fats and carbohydrates.

 

Micronutrients

These include vitamins and minerals which the body requires in very small amounts.

 

Monounsaturated Fat

Fat from plant-based  foods like peanuts, olives, olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds.

 

Neurotransmitter

Neurotransmitters takes information from one nerve to another in the body.  They are the brain's chemical messengers.

 

Nervous System

The communications system of the body, the nervous system is a network of the nerves, brain and spinal cord.  It is the control center for the entire body.

 

Omega 3 Oil

A type of essential fatty acid meaning it must be obtained from the diet.  Omega 3 oil is a very important EFA for the body to support cellular health, reduce inflammation and reducing blood clotting.  Sources for Omega 3 include salmon, flax seeds, walnuts and sardines.

 

Omega 6 Oil

Another type of essential fatty acid (must be obtained from the diet).  Can cause inflammation if too much is consumed.  Found mostly in plant oils including evening primrose oil (EPO) and black currant seed oil.

 

pH

This is a reference to how acidic or how alkaline a substance is.  The pH scale ranges from 0 - 14 with 7 being neutral.  Some foods are acidic and some are alkaline.

 

Phytochemical

The word "phyto" means plant.  Phytochemicals are compounds produced by plants.  They are found in fruits, vegetables, grains, beans and other plants.  They help to prevent disease.

 

Pineal Gland

Located in the brain, the pineal gland is part of the endocrine system (scroll up for definition).  The pineal gland produces hormones such as melatonin which influences the sleep-wake cycles and influences sexual development.

 

Polyphenols

These are nutrients that are antioxidants.  They are found in all fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds, even chocolate!

 

Polyunsaturated Fat

A type of fat found mostly in plant-based foods including walnuts, flax seed oil and fish.

 

Probiotics

These are microorganisms (mostly bacteria) which inhabit the gut and are necessary for the health of your body.  Probiotics kill the bad microorganisms you do not want in your body that cause disease (i.e. parasites and fungus).  They facilitate digestion and strengthen the immune system.

 

Quercitin

A bioflavonoid shown to reduce inflammation, relieve allergies and support healthy  blood pressure levels. Sources for quercitin include apples, berries, tea, red wine, onions and some herbs.

 

Resveratrol

A type of polyphenol (scroll up for definition) that is found in dark fruits and red wine which may benefit the cardiovascular system and slow down the aging process.

 

Rose Hips

From the wild rose plant, rose hips are the fruit that develops from the blossoms.  They are very nutritious, high in vitamin C and other nutrients,  Found to be excellent for inflammation relief.

 

Rutin

Rutin is a bioflavonoid found in various plants such as citrus fruits, buckwheat, black tea, and onions.

 

Saturated Fat

Fat found in animal sources such as red meat, poultry and full-fat dairy products.

 

Serotonin

Serotonin is a hormone that is thought to play a key role in sleep, mood and behavior.  It is derived from the amino acid, L-tryptophan andis  stored in the GI tract, nervous system, blood platelets and the pineal gland.

 

Superfoods

There is no official definition for superfoods.  Usually this term refers to plant-based foods which are very high in nutrients and are beneficial for our health.  Fruits like blueberries, goji berries, acai berries, noni fruit and pomegranate fall into this category.  Dark leafy vegetables like kale and spinach, kelp, blue green algae and chlorella are also considered superfoods.

 

Tocopherols & Tocotrienols

These are forms of vitamin E.  They can be found in vegetable oils, nuts, fish and leafy green vegetables.

 

Triglycerides

This is a type of fat (lipid) that is found in your blood.  When you eat your body converts any calories it doesn't need to use right away into triglycerides.