Appendix C Glossary

Acetylcholine A neurotransmitter made using choline.

Adenosine A flavonoid found in onions. It may be helpful for lowering cholesterol.

Adrenal glands You have two adrenal glands, one on top of each kidney. Your adrenal glands produce a number of steroid hormones, including DHEA.

Ajoene A flavonoid found in garlic that may help thin your blood and prevent blood clots.

Alpha carotene A carotene found in red- and orange-colored foods. It is a powerful antioxidant.

Alpha linolenic acid (LNA) Omega-3 fatty acids found in plant foods, especially nuts, soybeans, canola oil, and flaxseed oil.

Alpha tocopherol The most active form of Vitamin E.

Amino acids The building blocks of protein. Twenty-two amino acids are necessary for life. See also Essential amino acid; Nonessential amino acid

Anemia A general term meaning that your red blood cells either don't have enough hemoglobin or that you have a below-normal number of them.

Anthocyanins Flavonoids found in blue foods such as blueberries and grapes. They help protect your eyes against free radicals.

Antioxidants Enzymes that protect your body by capturing free radicals and escorting them out of your body before they do any more damage.

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Arachidonic acid A type of omega-6 fatty acid.

Arginine A nonessential amino acid helpful for boosting the immune system.

Ascorbic acid Another name for Vitamin C.

Atheroma Fatty deposit in an artery; the first stage of plaque.

Atherosclerosis Fatty deposits, called plaque, build up inside your arteries, often an artery that nourishes your heart or leads to your brain.

Aura Warning sign of a migraine headache, usually occurring an hour or two before the headache strikes. The aura is usually visual—many people see flashing lights or zigzag patterns.

Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) A condition caused by an enlarged prostate gland, which presses on the urethra and causes a need to urinate frequently.

Beriberi A deficiency disease caused by a lack of thiamin.

Beta carotene A carotene found in abundance in many red- and orange-colored plant foods. Your body easily converts beta carotene into Vitamin A.

Beta-cryptoxanthin A carotene found in some plant foods such as oranges and peaches. It's also used to color butter.

Biotin A B vitamin made in your body by friendly bacteria in your small intestine.

Boron An essential trace mineral needed for bone growth.

Bran The thin inner husk of grains such as wheat, rice, and oats. A good source of soluble and insoluble fiber as well as minerals and vitamins.

B vitamins A group of related water-soluble vitamins. See also Biotin; Choline; Cobalamin; Folic acid; Niacin; PABA; Pantothenic acid; Pyridoxine; Riboflavin; Thiamin.

Calciferol Another name for Vitamin D.

Calcifidiol Another name for Vitamin D2, the form of Vitamin D you get from foods or supplements.

Calcitrol Yet another name for Vitamin D2, the form of Vitamin D you get from foods or supplements.

Calcium The most abundant mineral in your body, needed to build bones and teeth, make some hormones and enzymes, make your muscles contract, and other functions.

Capsanthin A xanthophyll found in red peppers.

Cardiac arrhythmia Irregular heartbeat.

Carnitine An amino acid useful for people with heart disease.

Carotenes Carotenoids found in many red- and orange-colored foods. Your body can convert carotenes into Vitamin A. See also Alpha carotene; Beta carotene.

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Carotenoids Orange- or red-colored substances found in many fruits and vegetables such as carrots. See also Carotenes; Xanthophylls.

Cartilage The super-smooth, tough tissue attached to the ends of your bones. It forms joints and cushions the bones.

Catechins Antioxidant flavonoids found in tea.

Cerebral insufficiency Poor blood circulation to the brain, causing senility, memory loss, and depression.

Cervix The neck-shaped structure leading from your vagina to your uterus.

Cervical dysplasia Abnormalities in the cells of the cervix. These abnormalities can eventually lead to cervical cancer.

Chelation Treating minerals to change their electrical charge, usually by binding them chemically to an amino acid or other harmless substance. This helps your body absorb the minerals better.

Chloride An electrolyte mineral needed to control blood pressure and for other body functions.

Cholecalciferol The form of Vitamin D you make in your body from sunshine. Also called Vitamin D3.

Cholesterol A waxy fat your body uses to make cell membranes, the sheaths that cover your nerves, and hormones, among other things.

Choline A substance closely related to the B vitamins.

Chromium A trace mineral needed to help you use glucose in your cells.

Circadian rhythm Your body's 24-hour internal clock.

Clotting factors Substances in your blood that help it clot and stop bleeding.

Cobalamin A B vitamin, also known as Vitamin B12.

Cobalt An essential trace mineral used to make cobalamin.

Coenzyme A substance, usually a vitamin or mineral, needed to complete an enzyme.

Coenzyme Q10 A coenzyme your mitochondria need to produce energy. Supplements can be helpful for people with heart failure.

Collagen A protein used to make the connective tissue that holds your cells together and makes up your bones, tendons, muscles, teeth, skin, blood vessels, and every other part of you.

Constipation Having fewer bowel movements than normal or having stools that are hard, dry, and difficult to pass. Also called irregularity.

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Copper An essential trace mineral needed to make enzymes important for your blood vessels and nerves.

Crohn's disease A serious inflammatory disease of the large intestine.

Cyanocobalamin The form of Vitamin B12 used in vitamin pills.

Cysteine A sulfur-containing nonessential amino acid.

Deficiency Serious shortage of a vitamin or mineral in your body.

Deficiency disease Illness caused by a deficiency of a vitamin. Classic deficiency diseases include scurvy and beriberi.

DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) A steroid hormone made in your adrenal glands. Your body converts DHEA into other hormones.

Diabetes Inability to use glucose for fuel in your cells, sometimes because you no longer make the hormone insulin but more often because your cells have become resistant to insulin. See also Noninsulin-dependent diabetes.

Diabetic neuropathy A complication of diabetes that causes numbness, tingling, and pain in the nerves of the feet and legs; it sometimes spreads to the nerves of the arms and trunk.

Diarrhea Frequent passing of loose, watery stools.

Diastolic pressure Your blood pressure when your heart is at rest between beats—the lower number in your blood pressure reading.

Dietary fibei The indigestible parts—mostly cell walls—of plant foods. See also Insoluble fiber; Soluble fiber.

Diosgenin A phytoestrogen found in Mexican wild yam root. It resembles the female hormone progesterone and was used to make the first birth control pills.

Diuretic A drug or herb that makes your kidneys produce more urine. Diuretics remove water—and also some minerals and vitamins—from your body.

Docosahexenoic acid (DHA) Omega-3 fatty acids found in cold-water fish.

Eicosapentenoic acid (EPA) Omega-3 fatty acids found in cold-water fish.

Electrolytes Minerals that dissolve in water and carry electrical charges. In your body, potassium, sodium, and chloride are the electrolyte minerals.

Elemental calcium The actual amount of usable calcium in a supplement. It's usually given on the label as a percentage of the total calcium in the supplement.

Endocrine gland A gland, such as your thyroid or testes, that makes hormones.

Enzyme A chemical compound your body makes from various combinations of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Enzymes speed up chemical reactions in your body.

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Epithelial tissue The tissue that covers the internal and external surfaces of your body. Your skin, the linings of your eyes and nose, your entire digestive tract, your lungs, your urinary tract, and your reproductive tract are all epithelial tissue.

Ergocalciferol The form of Vitamin D you get from foods or supplements. Also called Vitamin D2.

Essential amino acid One of the nine amino acids you must get from your food.

Essential fatty acid A fat you must get from your food. See also Linoleic acid; Linolenic acid.

Estrogen The main female hormone, made by the ovaries and uterus.

Fat-soluble vitamin A vitamin that dissolves in fat and can be stored in your body's fatty tissues. Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K are fat-soluble.

Fibei See Dietary fiber.

Flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) A riboflavin-containing enzyme needed by your mitochondria to release energy.

Flavin mononucleotide (FMN) A riboflavin-containing enzyme needed by your mitochondria to release energy.

Flavonoids Substances found in fruits and vegetables. Flavonoids give these foods their color and taste. Flavonoids are also powerful antioxidants. See also Anthocyanins; Carotenoids; Catechins; Quercetin.

Flea seeds See Psyllium powder.

Fluoride A trace mineral that helps prevent tooth decay.

Folacin An old-fashioned name for folic acid.

Folate The natural form of folic acid found in foods.

Folic acid The synthetic form of one of the B vitamins.

Fortified milk Milk that has Vitamin D and (sometimes) Vitamin A added to it.

FOS See Fructooligosaccharides.

Free form amino acids Amino acid supplements in their pure form, sold as a powder.

Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) Natural sugars found in honey, garlic, and artichoke flour that help nourish desirable bacteria in your large intestine.

Functional medicine Another term for orthomolecular medicine. Functional medicine works to restore your body to its proper functioning with vitamins, minerals, and other supplements.

Free radicals Unstable, destructive oxygen atoms created by your body's natural processes and also by the effects of toxins such as cigarette smoke.

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Gamma linoleic acid (GLA) Omega-6 fatty acid found in evening primrose and borage seed oil.

Ginkgo biloba An herbal extract containing many flavonoids. It can be helpful in cases of cerebral insufficiency.

Glucosamine An amino acid sugar found in the shells of shrimp and lobsters. Glucosamine supplements can be helpful for arthritis.

Glutamine A nonessential amino acid useful for intestinal problems.

Glutathione Your body's most abundant natural antioxidant enzyme.

Goiter A swollen thyroid gland forming a lump in your neck. It's caused by a shortage of iodine.

Guar gum A type of soluble fiber found in beans and also in grains, seeds, and nuts.

Heart failure A condition occurring when your heart is damaged or weak and can't pump blood efficiently.

Heme iron The iron found in hemoglobin.

Hemoglobin The oxygen-carrying protein that gives your red blood cells their color. Every molecule of hemoglobin has four atoms of iron in it.

Hemorrhoids Itchy, enlarged or swollen veins in the rectum. Also called piles.

Herpes A group of viruses. Herpes simplex type 1 causes cold sores. Herpes simplex type 2 causes genital herpes. Herpes zoster causes chicken pox and shingles.

Hesperidin A flavonoid found in citrus fruits. It's helpful for improving circulation in small blood vessels.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) One form of cholesterol. It's often called "good" cholesterol because it can help remove LDL cholesterol from your blood.

High blood pressure Blood pressure—the pressure of your blood against your arteries as your heart beats and contracts—that is too high. Also called hypertension. If your blood pressure is 140/90 or more, you have hypertension. See also Diastolic pressure; Systolic pressure.

Homocysteine An amino acid formed when other amino acids in your blood are broken down by normal body processes. Too much homocysteine in your blood can cause heart disease. Folic acid breaks down the homocysteine and prevents a toxic buildup.

Hyperhomocysteinemia The medical term for too much homocysteine in the blood.

Hypertension See High blood pressure

Hypothyroidism An underactive thyroid gland.

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Hormone A chemical messenger your body makes to tell your organs what to do. Hormones regulate many activities, including your growth, blood pressure, heart rate, glucose levels, and sexual characteristics.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) A sexually transmitted virus that causes venereal warts, which can cause cervical dysplasia and cancer of the cervix.

Inositol A substance closely related to the B vitamins that you need to make neurotransmitters and cell membranes.

Inositol hexaniacinate (IHN) A form of niacin that also contains inositol.

Insoluble fibei Dietary fiber that is mostly cellulose from the cell walls of plants. Insoluble fiber absorbs water.

Insomnia An inability to fall asleep or stay asleep.

Insulin A hormone made by your pancreas and needed to carry glucose into your cells for fuel.

Iodine An essential trace mineral needed to make thyroid hormones.

Isoflavones Hormone-like substances found in soybeans.

Jet lag Fatigue and insomnia caused by traveling rapidly through several time zones.

Intrinsic factor A special substance secreted by your stomach to allow you to absorb cobalamin from your food.

Iron An essential trace mineral needed to make hemoglobin.

Irregularity See Constipation.

Linoleic acid An essential fatty acid found in many plants and in fish, especially cold-water fish such as mackerel and cod. See also Omega-3 fatty acids.

Linolenic acid An essential fatty acid found in many seeds, including corn. See also Omega-6 fatty acids.

Lipoic acid A vitamin-like substance you need to make energy in your mitochondria. It's also a powerful antioxidant.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) One form of cholesterol. It's often called "bad" cholesterol because excess amounts in your blood can lead to health problems, including heart disease.

Lutein Xanthophyll that helps protect your eyes against free radicals. Lutein is found in dark-green leafy vegetables.

Lycopene A carotene found in tomatoes. It's a very powerful antioxidant and may help prevent prostate cancer.

Lysine An essential amino acid that may be helpful for treating herpes.

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Magnesium A mineral you need for many body functions, including relaxing your muscles and regulating your heartbeart.

Manganese A trace mineral you need for many body functions, including blood clotting and digesting proteins.

Marginal or subclinical deficiency The early stages of a vitamin or mineral deficiency.

Megablastic or macrocytic anemia Anemia from cobalamin deficiency.

Melanoma The most dangerous type of skin cancer. It can quickly spread to other parts of your body.

Melatonin A hormone made by your pineal gland. Melatonin regulates your sleep-wake cycle.

Menadione The synthetic form of Vitamin K. Also called Vitamin K3.

Menaquinone The form of Vitamin K made in your intestines by friendly bacteria. Also called Vitamin K2.

Metabolism The chemical reactions inside your cells that create energy.

Methionine An essential sulfur-containing amino acid.

Migraine A very severe headache usually felt on just one side of your head. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, and cold hands and feet.

Mitochondria Tiny, rod-shaped structures found in all your cells. They function as miniaturized power plants where glucose is converted to energy, with the help of oxygen and a group of enzymes.

Moybdenum An essential trace mineral important for making some enzymes and for normal growth and development.

Mucilage Soluble fiber found in beans, seeds, grains, and nuts.

NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) A form of the amino acid cysteine.

Naringin A flavonoid found in citrus fruits.

Neural tube defect (NTD) A birth defect that happens when the growing brain, spinal cord, and vertebrae (the bones of the spine) of an unborn baby don't develop properly during the first month of pregnancy.

Neurotransmitter A chemical you make to transmit messages along your nerves and among your brain cells. You make a number of different neurotransmitters, including serotonin.

Niacin A B vitamin also known as Vitamin B3.

Niacinamide Another name for niacin.

Nicotinamide Another name for niacin.

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Nicotinic acid Another name for niacin.

Nonessential amino acid One of the 11 amino acids you can get from your food or make in your body from the nine essential amino acids.

Nonheme iron The iron found naturally in plant foods such as spinach and whole grains.

Noninsulin-dependent diabetes The most common type of diabetes. It happens when your cells become resistant to insulin, a hormone made in your pancreas. This form of diabetes usually begins in adults over age 40, and is most common after age 55.

Omega-3 fatty acids Another name for linolenic fatty acids, found in plants and cold-water fish. See also Alpha-linolenic acid; Docosahexanoic acid; Eicosapentenoic acid.

Omega-6 fatty acids Another name for linoleic fatty acids. See also Arachidonic acid; Gamma linoleic acid.

OPCs Oligomeric proanthocyanidins, flavonoids found in many plants and red wine. OPC supplements are usually made from grape seeds or pine bark. See also Pycnogenol.

Orthomolecular medicine Treating the underlying causes of illness with vitamins, minerals, and other supplements. The phrase was coined by Nobel Prize-winning scientist Linus Pauling. See also Functional medicine.

Osteomalacia Soft, weak bones in adults caused by a shortage of Vitamin D.

Osteoporosis Bones that break easily because they are thin, porous, and brittle. Osteoporosis has several related causes, but too little calcium in the diet plays a big part in causing it.

PABA An abbreviation for para-aminobenzoic acid. PABA makes up part of the folic acid molecule.

Pantothenic acid One of the B vitamins. Pantothenic acid is found in every food.

Pectin Soluble fiber found in the skins and rinds of plant foods.

Pellagra A deficiency disease caused by a serious lack of niacin.

Peptide A small protein made from a very short chain of amino acids—usually only two or three.

Pernicious anemia Anemia caused when your stomach stops making intrinsic factor and you stop being able to absorb cobalamin from your food.

Phenylalanine An essential amino acid.

Phosphatidylcholine (PC) A fatty substance made from choline that you need to make the walls of your cells.

Phosphorus The second most abundant mineral in your body, used to make your teeth and bones and for many metabolic processes.

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Phytoestrogens Hormone-like compounds found in plant foods, especially soybeans.

Phylloquinone The form of Vitamin K found in plant foods. Also called Vitamin K1.

Piles See Hemorrhoid.

Pineal gland A small gland found inside your brain. It produces melatonin and regulates your internal clock.

Plaque Fatty deposits of cholesterol and other substances that build up inside your arteries and block them.

Potassium An electrolyte mineral needed to control your blood pressure and regulate your heartbeat.

Preformed Vitamin A The Vitamin A found in animal foods such as egg yolks. Your body can use preformed Vitamin A as soon as you eat it.

Prodrome See Aura.

Progesterone A female steroid hormone.

Prostaglandins Hormone-like substances your body makes from fatty acids. They control many activities in your body, including swelling.

Prostate gland A small male organ wrapped around the urethra. The prostate makes some of the fluids found in semen.

Protein An organic substance made from hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen. You need protein to live; most of your body is made of it. Proteins are made from strings of amino acids.

Prothrombin The most important clotting factor. You need Vitamin K to make it.

Psyllium powdei Soluble fiber made from the husks of plantago seeds and sold as a fiber supplement.

Pteroylglutamic acid or pteroylmonoglutamate Scientific names for folic acid.

Pycnogenol A type of OPC made from pine bark.

Pyridoxal Another name for pyridoxine.

Pyridoxamine Another name for pyridoxine.

Pyridoxine A B vitamin also known as Vitamin B6.

Quercetin An antioxidant flavonoid found in onions.

Quinones Brightly colored organic substances found in all living plants and animals.

Rectum The last portion of your digestive tract.

Resveratrol A flavonoid found in red wine. It may help lower cholesterol and prevent blood clots.

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Retina The thin, light-sensitive layer of cells at the back of your eye.

Retinoid, retinol, retinaldehyde, or retinoic acid Different names for the same thing: preformed Vitamin A.

Rickets Crippling bone deformities in children caused by a shortage of Vitamin D.

Rutin A flavonoid found in citrus fruits, buckwheat, berries, and red wine. It's helpful for improving circulation in small blood vessels.

SAM (S-adenosylmethionine) A form of the amino acid methionine.

Scurvy A deficiency disease caused by a prolonged lack of Vitamin C in the diet.

Selenium An essential trace mineral needed to make glutathione and to help Vitamin E work more effectively.

Serotonin A neurotransmitter that plays a role in your mood and emotions.

Steroid hormones Hormones your body makes in your adrenal glands from cholesterol.

Stool Human solid waste; feces.

Sodium An electrolyte mineral needed to control your blood pressure and the amount of water in your body.

Soluble fibei Dietary fiber that dissolves in water to form a soft gel. See also Guar gum; Mucilage; Pectin.

Sulfur A mineral found in every tissue of your body. It's needed to make proteins and many vitamins, hormones, and enyzmes.

Systolic pressure Your blood pressure when your heart beats to pump out blood—the higher number in your blood pressure reading.

Taurine An amino acid that contains sulfur.

Thiamin A B vitamin, also called Vitamin B1.

Thiamin pyrophosphate (TPP) An enzyme your body needs to convert carbohydrates into energy. You need thiamin to make it.

Thioctic acid Another name for lipoic acid.

Thymus gland A small organ found in your neck just above your breastbone. It makes some of the hormones that tell your immune system what to do.

Thyroid gland A small, butterfly-shaped gland found in your neck just below your Adam's apple. It produces hormones that regulate your metabolism.

Thyroxin A hormone made in your thyroid gland.

Tocopherol Another name for Vitamin E. See also Alpha tocopherol. Tocotrienols Forms of Vitamin E found in some plant foods such as rice and barley.

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Toxic bowel Excess of unfriendly bacteria in the large intestine.

Tryptophan An essential amino acid used in your body to make niacin, among other things.

Tyrosine A nonessential amino acid.

Ubiquinone See Coenzyme Q10.

Urethra The tube that carries urine from your kidneys to your bladder.

Vegan Someone who eats no animal foods.

Vegetarian Someone who doesn't eat meat. Some vegetarians limit or don't eat other animal foods as well.

Vitamin An organic chemical compound essential for normal health. You must get all your vitamins from outside your body—from the foods you eat and from any supplements you take.

Vitamin A A fat-soluble vitamin needed for healthy epithelial tissues, eyes, growth, bone formation, and immunity.

Vitamin C A water-soluble vitamin needed to make your connective tissue and for many other functions. Vitamin C is also a powerful and abundant antioxidant.

Vitamin D A fat-soluble vitamin your body makes from sunshine on your skin and also gets from some foods. It's needed to build healthy bones and to regulate the amounts of calcium in your blood.

Vitamin E A fat-soluble vitamin that is a powerful antioxidant.

Vitamin K A fat-soluble vitamin needed to help your blood clot.

Water-soluble Vitamins that dissolve in water and can't be stored in your body. The B vitamins and Vitamin C are water-soluble.

Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome Nerve damage caused by low thiamin levels from years of alcoholism.

Wild yam A tuberous plant found in the tropics. The roots contain a natural form of the female hormone progesterone. Wild yam cream or tincture can be helpful for relieving menopause symptoms.

Xanthophylls Carotenoids found in dark-green leafy vegetables. See also Lutein; Zeaxanthin.

Zeaxanthin A carotenoid found in dark-green leafy vegetables. It helps protect your eyes against free radicals.

Zinc A mineral needed to make many enzymes and hormones.

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