A number of complex words, scientific terms and jargon are used in this ebook. I have given a brief description of these significant terms in this section, so you have a reference when you come across the terms in the main text.
Actin: One of the contractile proteins of muscle fibres.
Additive Effect: Refers to when researchers are measuring the effects of two or more substances in a single study. Additive effect means the combined effect of two or more factors is equal to the sum of their individual effects in isolation. For example, creatine monohydrate supplementation, by itself, may enhance lean body mass by six pounds over a four-week period; HMB supplementation, by itself, may increase lean body mass by two pounds over a four-week period. If their effects are additive, subjects may gain eight pounds in a four-week period when the two products are used in combination.
ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate): ADP is formed when ATP is broken down within mitochondria of cells to provide energy. 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.
Aetiology: The basis of how a disease or disorder occurs.
Alcohol: An organic compound formed by the fermentation of carbohydrate containing one or more hydroxyl group. We all love this, but not advantageous to the bodybuilder.
Amino Acids: Nitrogen containing, carbon-based organic compounds, which are the simplest units of protein.
AMP (Adenosine Monophosphate): AMP is formed when ADP is broken down within mitochondria of cells. In order to recreate ATP and replenish cellular energy stores, AMP must be combined with two molecules of creatine phosphate.
Anabolic Steroids: Synthetic versions of the male hormone testosterone. They promote anabolism and male characteristics. Anabolic steroids speed up protein synthesis, reduce catabolism, and increase muscle mass and strength in athletes who train with weights. Steroids not only exert their effects on muscles but also affect many other parts of the body, which may lead to side effects.
Anabolic: Refers to promoting growth or anabolism.
Anabolism: The actual building process of tissues. It might occur through the body's own natural reactions to muscular work and proper nutrition or through the introduction of erogenic aids. Anabolism occurs by taking substances from the blood, which are essential for growth and repair and using them to stimulate reactions that produce tissue synthesis.
Anaerobic: Means without oxygen. Anaerobic respiration in muscle tissue occurs during explosive activities like weightlifting or sprinting.
Anecdotal Evidence: Evidence reported by individuals based on observations and experiences, and is weak evidence.
Anti-Catabolism: The halting of cellular breakdown in the body. Slowing down the breakdown of cells favours new muscle growth.
Anti-Proteolysis: A specific type of anti-catabolism: namely, the slowing or halting of protein breakdown in the body.
Anutrients: Substances found in food, which are not required to live, but may have some nutritional or health benefit.
Assimilation: The process by which food is digested, absorbed and utilised by the body.
ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate): A high-energy molecule stored the mitochondria of cells. When energy is required, ATP is broken down to ADP and AMP and free phosphate to provide this energy. This is the case in muscle cells that need energy in order to contract. ATP can be thought of as the actual fuel that makes muscles move.
Atrophy: A reduction in the size or a cell or tissue, due to lack of nutrition, disease or lack of use. For example when muscles breakdown.
Basal (Resting) Metabolic Rate (BMR / RMR): The level of energy expended by the body at rest sufficient to support the metabolic processes necessary for life.
Bioavailability: The ease at which nutrients can be absorbed and are available to tissues.
Biochemical Reaction: Refers to the broad range of chemical reactions which take place in all living organisms. For example, the conversion of blood sugar into energy, the effects of testosterone on muscle cell growth, and nerve impulse reaction.
Biological Value (BV): A measure of protein quality, assessed by how well a given food or food mixture supports nitrogen retention in humans.
Body Composition: The percentage of your body composed of water, bone fat mass, muscle mass and other constituents. We are mostly interested in fat mass and fat free mass.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA): These are essential amino acids named so due to their structure. They are valine, leucine and isoleucine, and make up a third of muscle protein.
Buffer: A substance that minimises changes in hydrogen ion concentration (pH). They may help metabolic acidosis or lactic acid build up.
Carbohydrate loading: A technique whereby muscle glycogen reserves are increased in greater than normal amounts by a combination of exercise and diet.
Carbohydrates: Organic compounds containing carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, and are a very effective fuel source for the body. Different types of carbohydrates include starches, sugars and fibres. Carbohydrates are classified into monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides and polysaccharides, depending on the number of single unit sugars in the chain length. Carbohydrates contain four calories per gram.
Catabolic: The opposite of anabolic, meaning breakdown of tissue. Catabolic states occur with disease, infection, injury, intense training, strict dieting, and immobilisation.
Catabolism: The breakdown or loss of muscle and other bodily tissues.
Chelating Agents: Soluble organic compounds that can fit certain metallic ions into their molecular structure. These are often used to increase the absorption of minerals within the body.
Cholesterol: Waxy fat, made naturally in our bodies by the liver, and is an essential part of living tissues. Too much cholesterol builds up on the walls of arteries including those which supply the heart (coronary arteries) and is implicated in the aetiology of heart disease and stroke. It is a vital component in the production of many steroid hormones, plays a vital role in proper cell-membrane structure and functioning and is a substrate for bile-acid synthesis, among other functions. There are different types of cholesterol, including HDLs and LDLs.
Coenzyme: A substance that works with an enzyme to promote that enzyme's activity.
Complete Proteins: Proteins that contain all essential amino acids.
Cortisol: A hormone released form the adrenal cortex and is involved in inflammation control and the immune response to trauma and infection. From these functions it is a catabolic hormones in the body. Suppressing cortisol production at key times may help bodybuilders avoid excess muscle breakdown. But, you need some cortisol to survive.
Creatine Phosphate (CP): Inorganic phosphate carrier that binds with AMP and ADP to form ATP. Supplementing with creatine monohydrate helps increase muscle CP reserves.
Cytokine: Describes a broad range of molecular protein messenger cells. The cytokine family includes interleukins, interferons, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), among others. Cytokines act directly on cells and are very potent agents that can elicit massive changes in cellular function.
Deficiency: A sub-optimal level of one or more nutrients that are essential for good health. Deficiency of one or more nutrients can be caused by poor nutrition, increased body demands or both.
Dextrose: Another name for glucose, when glucose is referred to as a 'standard' value (see glucose).
Dietary Fibre: The ingestable portion of plants, including cellulose, lignin, pectin. Also know as roughage, non-starch polysaccharide (NSP) and fibre.
Dietetics: The science of nutrition.
Dietitian (Dietician): One who practices dietetics, such as me! Dipeptides: Protein chains of two amino acids.
Disaccharide: A carbohydrate compound made up of two sugars. Examples are sucrose (table sugar), lactose (milk sugar), and maltose.
Diuretic: Describes any product that increases the amount of urine excreted by the body. Natural diuretics include alcohol and caffeine, but there are drug diuretics too.
Drug: The generic broad term for any substance which, when introduced into the body, changes one or more of its natural physical or mental functions. Drugs are used for the prevention, diagnosis and/or treatment of disease, as well as the relief of symptoms.
Efficacious: Means producing the desired effect, i.e. it works.
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.
Elemental Nutrition: This is nutrition made up solely of simplest units of nutrition, i.e. amino acids, monosaccharides, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
Empirical Data: Information based on observation and experience, not scientific reasoning, also known as anecdotal evidence. Empirical data is not accepted as scientifically sound.
Endogenous. Refers to things that occur naturally in the body, i.e. something which your body produces naturally.
End-Product: The resultant compound formed from a chemical process.
Energy: The capacity to do work. The energy in food is chemical energy: it can be converted to mechanical, electrical, or heat energy. Energy is sometimes measured in calories (kcal) or kilojoules (kJ).
Enzyme: A protein molecule that acts as a catalyst in thousands of chemical reactions in the body, including digestion of food, hormone production and muscle cell repair.
Epidemiological Evidence: Studies on the effects of substrates on populations or groups of people. There are different types including retrospective, prospective, case-controlled, etc. Strength of evidence depends on study design.
Ergogenic: Refers to something that can increase muscular work capacity, i.e. performance -enhancing. Natural supplements that can increase some aspect of athletic performance are said to be erogenic aids.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs): Fats that our bodies cannot synthesis, so we must obtain them through diet.
Exogenous: Refers to things originating outside of the body, i.e. something we ingest orally, inhale or inject.
Experimental Evidence: Labroraty-based studies, which show the direct effect of administering a substance on a subject. Experimental studies provide a plausible theory from which other studies can follow.
Fat: Body fat (adipose tissue) or dietary fat. Fat is a group of organic compounds including triglycerides, sterols and steroids, more correctly know as lipid.
Fat-Free Mass (FFM): Refers to all other portions of the body other than fat. Also referred to as lean body mass (LBM).
Fatigue: A condition resulting from when the rate of energy re-synthesis cannot keep pace with energy utilisation, and physiological and metabolic processes are impaired.
Fat-Mass (FM): Refers to the amount of fat in body composition.
Fatty Acids: The simplest units of fat that vary in chain length and saturation.
Fibre: See Dietary Fibre.
Free Radicals: Highly reactive molecules possessing unpaired electrons that are produced during metabolism of food and energy and contribute to the molecular damage and death of vital body cells. Free radicals may be a factor in ageing and many diseases and may ultimately contribute to death.
Free-Form Amino Acids: Structurally unlinked, individual amino acids freely present in tissues or blood.
Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS): A type of soluble fibre that acts as a prebiotic, found in many foods especially fruit.
Fructose: The main monosaccharide found in fruit.
Fuel: The chemical substance from which energy is derived.
Full-Spectrum Amino Acids: Supplements that contain a combination of all of all amino acids present in protein synthesis.
Functional Foods: These are foods that have no nutritional value per se, but have been developed through research and have a function in good health. Also known as nutraceuticals.
Glucagon: A hormone is responsible for helping maintain proper blood sugar levels. It is secreted in response to a fall in blood sugar levels, and activates glucose production in the liver and regulates the release of glycogen from muscle cells.
Glucose: The simplest sugar molecule, and is the most frequently occurring monosaccharide in the diet. It is the main sugar found in blood and is used as a basic fuel for the body.
Glycaemic Index (GI): A measure of the extent to which a food raises the blood sugar (glucose) level as compared with other carbohydrates, particularly glucose.
Glycogen: A polysaccharide that is the storage form of glucose in animal cells, in liver and muscle cells.
Glycolysis: The breakdown of carbohydrate into smaller compounds into ATP and substrates that may enter the Krebs cycle.
Growth Hormone (GH): A hormone is released by the pituitary gland. GH is the principle hormone controlling growth. It promotes muscle growth and the breakdown of body fat for energy. GH levels are high in children and in teens but diminish greatly after age 20.
High Density Lipoproteins (HDLs): A sub-category of cholesterol, typically thought of as 'good' cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is the form that is typically used to clear fats from the system.
Hormones: These regulate various biological processes through their ability to activate or deactivate enzymes. Hormones can be made of proteins (e.g. insulin, growth hormone) or lipid (e.g. testosterone, cortisol).
Hydration: The restitution or normal fluid reserves.
Hydrolysis: A chemical reaction where water reacts with a substance to change it into another substance or substances.
Hyperglycaemia: High blood glucose level, in a normal individual above 6 mmol per litre of blood.
Hyperplasia: An increase in the number of cells if a tissue, thus increasing its size.
Hypertonic: A fluid where the osmotic pressure is greater than that of what it is being compared to, in this case, normal body fluids.
Hypertrophy: When cells increase in size. For example, muscular hypertrophy is the increase in size of the muscle cells.
Hypoglycaemia: Low blood glucose level, below 3mmol per litre of blood. The effects of a hypoglycaemic attack include anxiety, fatigue, perspiration, delirium, and in severe cases, coma.
Hypotonic: A fluid where the osmotic pressure is less than that of what it is being compared to, in this case, normal body fluids.
In vitro: Refers to experiments done in the laboratory.
In vivo: Refers to experiments and what actually happens in the body as opposed to in the laboratory.
Incomplete Proteins: Proteins that lack or are low in one or more of the essential amino acids.
Insulin: A hormone secreted by the pancreas and 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. It is also involved in amino acid uptake by muscle cells.
Ion-Exchange Filtration: A complex, thorough process of filtration used to obtain only the highest quality product. This is used in quality whey-protein products.
Isotonic: A fluid where the osmotic pressure is equal to that of what it is being compared to, in this case, normal body fluids.
Kilocalorie (kcal): The most commonly used unit of energy, more commonly just referred to as calories'. 1 kcal = 1,000 calories = 4.184kJ.
Kilojoule (kJ): The metric unit of energy (see Kilocalorie for conversion).
Krebs Cycle: The series of reactions catalysed by enzymes whereby pyruvate (formed from prior pathways) and other substrates are oxidised to CO2 and water generating ATP.
Lactate / Lactic Acid: Produced from glucose during anaerobic metabolism. When oxygen becomes available, lactic acid can be completely broken down to carbon dioxide and water. Lactic-acid build-up is a primary cause of muscle fatigue.
Lean Body Mass (LBM): see fat-free mass.
Limiting Factor: A factor that prevents a process or reaction from taking place. For example, a lack of protein in the diet can be a limiting factor for muscle growth.
Linoleic Acid: An essential fatty acid and, more specifically, an omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid. Good sources of this fatty acid are safflower oil and soybean oil.
Linolenic Acid: An essential fatty acid and, more precisely, an omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid. It is found in high concentrations in flaxseed oil.
Lipid: Another term for fats-related substances, including triglycerides, steroids, cholesterol. Lipogenic: This means making body fat.
Lipolysis: Refers to the breakdown of body fat by enzymes. This results in stored fat being used as fuel by the body.
Lipolytic: Describe something with fat-burning effects.
Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDLs): A sub-category of cholesterol, typically thought of as bad cholesterol. Too high LDL levels have bee associated with heart disease.
Luteinizing Hormone (LH): A hormone that stimulates the testes to make testosterone in males, and in females induces ovulation.
Macrominerals: Minerals required by the body in relatively large or gram quantities, e.g. calcium, phosphorus.
Macronutrients: Nutrients that we ingest in large quantities, include proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and water.
Malabsorption: Inadequate absorption of nutrients from the digestive tract, resulting in deficiencies.
Meal Replacement Powders (MRPs): A category of 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 nutrient intake. They are also referred to as total-nutrition products, engineered foods or superfoods.
Metabolic Rate: Refers to the rate you convert energy stores into working energy in the body. It describes how fast your 'whole system' runs. Metabolic rate is controlled by a numerous factors, including muscle mass, nutrient intake, exercise, age, disease state, use of drugs, and others.
Metabolism: Refers to the utilisation of nutrients and oxygen by the body. It's the process by which substances come into the body and the rate at which they are used.
Metabolites: Intermediates in metabolism.
Micronutrients: Nutrients which we ingest in relatively small amounts, including vitamins and minerals. Micronutrients are typically ingested in gram quantities or less.
Minerals: Naturally occurring, inorganic substances that are essential for human life and play a role in many vital metabolic processes.
Mitochondria: Specialised structures within cells with specific capability to oxidise substances. They are the sites of most metabolic pathways, resulting in the production of ATP and energy.
Monosaccharide: The simplest form of carbohydrate, i.e. one sugar molecule. Examples are glucose and fructose.
Monounsaturated Fats: These contain one open spot on the chain length. As a percentage of total fat intake these have been shown to be beneficial, and include olive and rape seed oil as good sources.
Muscle Fatigue: The failure of a muscle to continue to perform work, caused by muscle ATP depletion.
Myosin: One of the contractile proteins of muscle fibres.
Natural (1): Refer to foods or supplements that are not highly refined and which do not contain artificial flavours or colours. The word 'natural' has no legal definition in food supplementation.
Natural (2): Gym jargon for athletes who have not used anabolic steroids or other banned erogenic aids for a particular period of time.
Neurotransmitter: A substance released at the end of nerve cells when a nerve impulse arrives there. Neurotransmitters diffuse across the gap to the next nerve cell and alter the membrane of that cell in such a way that it becomes less or more likely to fire. Examples include adrenaline and serotonin. Adrenaline is responsible for the 'fight or flight' response and is an excitatory neurotransmitter; serotonin is the opposite-it makes you sleepy.
Nitrogen Balance: Refers to a person's daily intake of nitrogen from protein 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 often associated with muscle growth.
Nitrogen: This is an element that distinguishes proteins from other substances and allows them to form various structural units in our bodies.
Nutraceuticals: see functional foods.
Nutrients: Components of food that help nourish the body, i.e. provide energy or serve as building materials. Include carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, water, etc.
Nutrients: Substances conveying, serving as or providing nourishment required by the body for healthy function.
Nutrition: The study of food and its chemical components.
Off-The-Shelf (OTS): Refers to substances that do not require a prescription to be attained legally, nor need they be requested in a pharmacy.
Oligopeptides: Peptide chains of a few amino acids in length.
Oligosaccharides: Carbohydrate chains of a few simple sugars in length.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: A type of polyunsaturated fatty acid, the '3' designates where the first double bond is located in the fatty acid carbon chain. These are abundant in fish oils, for example Linolenic acid.
Omega-6 Fatty Acids: A type of polyunsaturated fatty acid, the '6' refers to the first doublebond on a fatty acid chain which is located at the sixth carbon acid. For example linoleic acid.
Optimal Nutrition: Means the best possible nutrition. Distinct from adequate nutrition, this term describes people free from marginal deficiencies, and who are not at risk for such, and sufficient amounts of nutrients and anutrients to reduce risk of disease and maximise performance.
Over-The-Counter (OTC): Refers to substances that do not require a prescription to be attained legally, but must be requested in a pharmacy, who will provide instructions on usage.
Oxidation: The addition of oxygen to compound, primarily taking place in mitochondria where substances are fully combusted. It is the process of cellular decomposition and breakdown.
Oxygen Debt: Deficiency of oxygen in working muscles when performing exercise that is so demanding the cardiovascular system cannot deliver oxygen fast enough to the muscles to support aerobic metabolism. The debt must be repaid by rapid breathing after the activity slows down or stops. Oxygen debt leads to anaerobic metabolism, which leads to lactic acid build up and muscle fatigue. It is when you are out of breath.
Pathogenic: Potential to cause a disease or disorder and its related signs and symptoms.
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.
Performance: In respect of sport refers to the capacity to perform work in relation to that specific activity, includes time, speed, intensity, distance, etc.
Physiological: Pertaining to all the functions of an animal or man.
Phytochemical: Means 'plant chemical', and used to refer to a broad spectrum of bioactive plant compounds which may have some health benefits.
Placebo Effect: Refers to when people use a substance believing it works, thereby it does (or is believed to) produce the desired effect.
Placebo: A harmless, inactive substance which may be given in the place of an effective drug or substance, especially to control groups in clinical studies, to test if the drug or compound in question is effective.
Polypeptides: Proteins formed by the union of many amino acids.
Polysaccharides: Carbohydrates containing a large number of sugars. Starch, glycogen, multidextrose, and cellulose are examples.
Polyunsaturated Fats: These contain more than one open spot on the chain length. As a percentage of total fat intake these may be beneficial, and include sunflower and soya oil as good sources.
Polyuria: Excessively large production of urine, meaning that you need to go to the toilet more than usual.
Prebiotics: These are certain nutrients and constituents of food that our gut flora feed on, promoting growth of 'good' bacterial colonies in our gut, leading to an increase in their numbers. Prebiotics include fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and some other soluble fibres found in pulses, fruit and some cereal products.
Precursors: Compounds from which another compound is formed. For example, the hormone androstenedione is a direct precursor to testosterone production in the body.
Probiotics: These are live strains of 'good' bacteria, e.g. bifidus and acidopilus. The bacteria are cultured in live yoghurts, powders or specially formulated probiotic drinks which contain one or more of these strains.
Pro-Hormones: Chemicals that are direct precursors to hormone production. For example DHEA is a pro-hormones to testosterone.
Prostaglandins: Chemicals produced in the body which exhibit a wide range of actions on things like blood pressure, water balance, immune system reactions, inflammation, etc.
Protein Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Scoring (PDCAAS): A highly accurate method of assessing protein quality, taking into account the profile of essential amino acids of the protein in question, as well as its digestibility in humans, rather than in rats. It is the method of assessing protein quality adopted by the World Health Organisation / Food and Agriculture Organisation (WHO/FAO) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER): A measure of protein quality assessed by determining how well a given protein supports weight gain in laboratory animals: namely, rats.
Proteins: Nitrogen-containing compounds found in all animal and vegetable tissues. They are made up of amino acids and are essential for growth and repair in the body. One gram of protein contains four calories.
Psychological: Pertaining to the mind and thought process.
Pure: Used to refer to supplements that are unaltered; i.e. have no other ingredient in them except that which is stated on the label.
Saturated Fats: These are bad dietary fats. They are called saturated because they contain no open spots on their chain. They have been shown to raise cholesterol levels in the body, as a percentage of total fat intake.
Semi-Elemental Nutrition: This is nutrition of partially digested nutrients, including amino acids and oligopeptides, mono- and oligosaccharides, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
Stacking: Refers to taking two or more compounds at once in an attempt to maximise results.
Starch: A storage polysaccharide in plants and the only one digestible by humans.
Sublingual: Means to ingest something beneath the tongue.
Substrates: Chemical substances or compounds changed in an enzyme-controlled reaction; fuels in metabolic pathways.
Sucrose: More commonly known as table sugar and is derived from sugar cane or beet. It is a disaccharide of fructose and glucose. Eating sucrose elicits a rapid insulin response.
Supplement: A term used to describe a preparation that has nutritional value of contains a 'natural' substance reported to have health benefits with little or no side effects. Supplements are used as part of a person's diet to supply adequate or optimum levels of a nutrient, anutrient or nutraceutical.
Synergistic Effect: Refers to the outcome when things a number of substances work in unison with one another, and the overall effect is greater than the sum of each substance used on its own. One compound could enhance or multiply the effectiveness of another compound. For example B-vitamins; creatine plus carbohydrates; the ephedrine / caffeine / aspirin (eca) stack.
Synthesis: The formation of a new product from other compounds.
Testes: The male reproductive organs. A pair of endocrine organs found in males that secrete the hormones that regulate male characteristics, mainly testosterone.
Testosterone: An androgenic / anabolic hormone produced primarily by the testes, responsible for male characteristics including muscles anabolism.
Thermogenic: Refers to something that causes heat production. Taking a thermogenic agent will speed up the metabolism, raise core body temperature, and accelerate fat mobilisation.
Trace Elements: Minerals essential to the body but only in minute amounts, e.g. selenium, copper.
Triglyceride / Triacyleglycerol (TG): The scientific name for common dietary fat. TGs consist of a backbone of glycerol connected to three fatty acids. Triglycerides are also called fats or lipids.
Tripeptides: Protein fragments of three amino acids in length.
Turnover Rate: The rate of collective processes of synthesis and degradation of a compound or group of compounds.
Unsaturated Fats: These lack one or more carbons, and are divided into polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
Up-regulate: Means to increase. For example, creatine monohydrate appears to have the ability to up-regulate muscle's ability to replenish energy stores.
Vitamins: These micronutrients are organic compounds that are vital to life. Many vitamins function as coenzymes, supporting a multitude of biological and biochemical functions.
VO2 Max: This is the maximum volume of oxygen an individual can consume per unit of work. It is used as a measure of an athlete's cardiovascular efficiency and performance capacity.
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