Alternative Health & Holistic Medicine A-C

A glossary of terms including vitamins, minerals, herbs and supplements.

A-C | D-F | G-I | J-M | N-Q | R-T | U-Z

5 A Day Refers to the dietary recommendation to consume five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. The tagline, 5 A Day, became a promotional message in campaigns to increase fruits and vegetable consumption.

A.T.C.: Certified Athletic Trainer.

acceptable daily intake (ADI) The amount of chemical that, if ingested daily over a lifetime, appears to be without appreciable effect.

acesulfame K Acesulfame K, or acesulfame potassium, is a low-calorie sweetener approved for use in the United States in 1988. It is an organic salt consisting of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, sulphur and potassium atoms. It is 200 times sweeter than sucrose, has a synergistic sweetening effect with other sweeteners, has a stable shelf-life and is heat stable. It is excreted through the human digestive system unchanged, and is therefore non-caloric.

Acetyl   A compound formed by a combination of an aldehyde with an alcohol. Acetyl refers to the monovalent radical, CH3CO. This compound is combined with L-carnitine to form acetyl L-carnitine. The combined product can be transported into the cells with greater ease than if L-carnitine was ingested alone.

Acidophilus   A certain type of bacteria that are naturally present in the intestines; also known as "friendly flora", Lactobacillus acidophilus and L. bifidus. Maintenance of gastrointestinal flora. Acidophilus also aids the digestion of protein, which leads to the synthesis of lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, enzymes and other substances.

active ingredient: A product component responsible for an effect the product was designed to have.

ActiVin – A grape seed extract which acts as a powerful antioxidant.

acupoint (acupuncture point, she xue): Generally, any of an indefinite number of points on or near the surface of a human or other mammal that, allegedly, are susceptible to healthful activation and communicate with internal organs.

additives (food additives) Any natural or synthetic material, other than the basic raw ingredients, used in the production of a food item to enhance the final product. Any substance that may affect the characteristics of any food, including those used in the production, processing, treatment, packaging, transportation or storage of food.

ADP (Adenosine diphosphate)   This substance is produced during muscle contraction. It is reformed when the muscle relaxes.

Adverse Reaction Monitoring System (ARMS) A system operated by FDA which monitors and investigates all complaints by individuals or their physicians that are believed to be related to a specific food, food and color additives or vitamin and mineral supplements. The ARMS computerized database helps officials decide whether reported adverse reactions represent a real public health risk associated with food so that appropriate action can be taken.

aerobic exercise Aerobic exercise refers to the kind of fast-paced activity that makes you "huff and puff." It places demands on your cardiovascular apparatus and, over time, produces beneficial changes in your respiratory and circulatory systems.

agrochemicals Term for artificially produced chemicals (such as feed additives, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers or pesticides) used in agriculture to improve crops or livestack production.

Alanine   Is a non essential amino acid that is released from muscle and used for glucose synthesis and energy production in the liver.

Alfalfa   Is a nutrient-rich mineral supplement food with roots that can grow as much as 130 feet into the earth. It contains Calcium, Magnesium , Phosphorous, Potassium and Vitamins

algin A compound which is extracted from algae and used in puddings, milk shakes and ice cream to make these foods creamier and thicker and to extend shelf life.

alitame A sweetener made from amino acids (L-aspartic acid, D-alanine, and a novel amide [a specific arrangement of chemical bonds between carbon, nitrogen and oxygen]). It offers a taste that is 2000 times sweeter than that of sucrose and can be used in a wide variety of products including beverages, tabletop sweeteners, frozen desserts and baked goods. Only the aspartic acid component of alitame is metabolized by the body. As a result, alitame contains 1.4 kcal/g. Since alitame is such an intense sweetener, however, it is used at very low levels and thus contributes negligible amounts of calories. It is highly stable, can withstand high temperatures in cooking and baking, and has the potential to be used in almost all foods and beverages in which sweeteners are presently used. FDA is currently considering a petition to approve its use in the United States food supply. Alitame has been approved for use in all food and beverage products in Australia, Mexico and New Zealand.

allergen (food allergen) A food allergen is the part of a food (a protein) that stimulates the immune system of food allergic individuals. A single food can contain multiple food allergens. Carbohydrates or fats are not allergens.

allergy (food allergy) A food allergy is any adverse reaction to an otherwise harmless food or food component (a protein) that involves the body's immune system. To avoid confusion with other types of adverse reactions to foods, it is important to use the terms "food allergy" or "food hypersensitivity" only when the immune system is involved in causing the reaction.

ally methyl trisulfide, dithiolthiones A type of sulfide/thiol found in cruciferous vegetables which may provide the health benefits of lowering LDL cholesterol and of maintaining a healthy immune system.

Aloe Vera   Aloe prepartations are derived from the leaf gel and the juice of a cactus-like subgroup of the lily family with some 300 species, among them Aloe Vera. The gel from the inner leaf is applied externally to soothe skin, help heal burns and promote cell repair. When taken internally, the gel and juice help promote healthy lower intestinal function. The latex taken from the inner leaf has been used as a stimulant laxative for over a century and is an FDA-approved OTC drug ingredient.

Alpha Lipoic Acid   Alpha lipoic acid is sometimes referred to as the "universal antioxidant," because it is soluble in both fat and water.

alpha-carotene A type of carotenoid found in carrots which provides the health benefit of neutralizing free radicals that may cause damage to cells.

Alpha-Tocopherol   Tocopherol is a general term that describes Vitamin E. There are 8 known Vitamin E isomers, these include alpha, beta, delta and gamma tocopherols and tocotrienols. When the letter "d" appears before alpha-Tocopherol, it means that the vitamin E is all natural. If there is a "dl" before alpha-Tocopherol, it is a synthetic vitamin E, which is less expensive to create and some believe that it is not as bioavailable as the natural form. Natural Vitamin E may be more bioavailable than synthetic (dl), tocopherols.

alternative agriculture A range of technological and management option farms striving to reduce costs, protect health and environmental quality, and enhance beneficial biological interactions and natural processes. Alternative agriculture techniques cannot be uniformly applied across all commodities or all regions of the country. Such practices typically require more information, trained labor, time and management skills per unit of production than conventional farming.

alternative medicine (alt-care, alternative care, alternative-complementary healthcare [ACH], alternative healing, alternative healing therapies, alternative health, alternative therapeutics, alternative therapies, alt-med, complementary and alternative medicine [CAM], complementary care, complementary health care, complementary medicine [CM], complementary practices, extended therapeutics, Fringe Medicine, holistic healing, holistic health, holistic medicine, Mind-Body-Spirit medicine, natural healing, natural health, natural medicine, New Age medicine, nonproven therapy [NPT], nonstandard medicine, unconventional medicine, unconventional therapies, unconventional therapy, unorthodox healing, unorthodox therapies, wholistic medicine): Broadly, any or all health-related methods and practices for which scientific evidence concerning safety and efficacy is lacking or largely contradictory. Related expressions include "innovative medicine," "integrated healthcare," "integrative medicine," "mind-body medicine," "New Medicine," and "planet medicine."

Alzheimer's disease This disease causes progressive memory loss and dementia in its victims as it kills brain cells (neurons). It is named after Alois Alzheimer who in 1906 first described the Amyloid β Protein (AβP) plaques in the human brain that are caused by this disease. The drug Tacrine appears to slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease, but there is currently no way to stop the disease.

Amino acids – The building blocks from which proteins are made. Dietary amino acids are classified as essential or non-essential. Essential amino acids (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine) cannot be manufactured by the body and must be supplied in the diet or ill-health results. The non-essential amino acids are also essential for health, but can be synthesized in the body from the essential amino acids. Arginine, ornithine, cysteine, cystine, taurine and tyrosine are classified as non-essential amino acids but may be essential for individuals with certain diseases or nutritional concerns. A suboptimal intake of the essential amino acids increases the body's need for the non-essential amino acids.

Amino Acids   A group of nitrogen containing, carbon-based organic compounds that serve as the building blocks from which protein and muscle are made. All of the amino acids are important in the production of new protein or in some other metabolic process, but from a nutritional standpoint some are considered "essential" and others "non-essential." Amino acids function as the building blocks of proteins. Chemically, amino acids are organic compounds containing an amino (NH2) group and a carboxyl (COOH) group. Amino acids are classified as essential, nonessential and conditionally essential. If body synthesis is inadequate to meet metabolic need, an amino acid is classified as essential and must be supplied as part of the diet. Essential amino acids include leucine, isoleucine, valine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, methionine, threonine, lysine, histidine and possibly arginine. Nonessential amino acids can be synthesized by the body in adequate amounts, and include alanine, aspartic acid, asparagine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline and serine. Conditionally essential amino acids become essential under certain clinical conditions.

Amino Acids, Essential   There are nine amino acids that the body either cannot produce at all or cannot make in sufficient quantity to meet its needs. They are: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.

Amino Acids, Non-essential   These amino acids are considered nonessential due to the fact that they can be made in the body from the essential amino acids. They are: alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamine, glutamic acid, glycine, hydroxyproline, proline, serine and tyrosine.

Anabolism   The building up of the body's substance; the constructive phase of metabolism.

Anaerobic   Exercise during which the energy needed is provided without use of inspired oxygen. The type of exercise is limited to short bursts of vigorous activity.

anaphylaxis A rare but potentially fatal condition in which several different parts of the body experience food-allergic reactions simultaneously, causing hives, swelling of the throat and difficulty breathing. It is the most severe allergic reaction to an allergen and requires immediate medical attention when it occurs.

Androgen – This term refers to the male sex hormones (testosterone, androsterone) or any agent that encourages the development of male sex characteristics.

Androstenedione – A weak androgenic steroid secreted by the adrenal cortex, testes, and ovary. In normal males less than 5% of their testosterone comes from the conversion of adrenal androstenedione. Androstenedione is converted to testosterone by the enzyme 17-ketoreductase. Androstenedione and testosterone are converted to estrone and estradiol in peripheral tissues (primarily in adipose tissue but also in muscle, kidney, liver and the hypothalamus) by aromatase. The conversion of androstenedione and testosterone accounts for more than 75% of the estrogens in the plasma of normal men. The rest is synthesized in the testes. Gonadotropin secretion may be partially controlled by estrogen formation in the hypothalamus.

anemia Anemia is a condition in which a deficiency in the size or number of erythrocytes (red blood cells) or the amount of hemoglobin they contain limits the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the blood and the tissue cells. Most anemias are caused by a lack of nutrients required for normal erythrocyte synthesis, principally iron, vitamin B-12, and folic acid. Others result from a variety of conditions, such as hemorrhage, genetic abnormalities, chronic disease states or drug toxicity.

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) A government agency which resides in the United States Department of Agriculture and governs the field-testing of agricultural biotechnology crops.

Anorexia Nervosa An eating disorder characterized by refusal to maintain a minimally normal weight for height and age. The condition includes weight loss leading to maintenance of body weight 15 percent below normal; an intense fear of weight gain or becoming fat, despite the individual's underweight status; a disturbance in the self-awareness of one's own body weight or shape; and in females, the absence of at least three consecutive menstrual cycles that would otherwise be expected to occur.

anthocyanidins A type of flavonoid found in various fruits which provides the health benefits of neutralizing free radicals and possibly reducing the risk of cancer.

antibiotic resistance The ability of a bacterium to synthesize a protein that neutralizes an antibiotic.

antibiotics Antibiotics are used in animal agriculture for two reasons. First, to improve the rate of growth and the feed efficiency of animals so they produce more meat or milk on less feed. The second reason is to prevent and treat diseases, just as in humans.

antibody Protein produced by the immune system of humans and higher animals in response to the presence of a specific antigen.

anticarcinogens Substances which inhibit the formation of cancers or the growth of tumors. More than 600 chemicals are claimed to be anti-cancer agents. These range from natural chemical constituent present in garlic, broccoli, cabbage and green tea to manmade antioxidants, such as butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and derivatives of retinoic acid.

antigen A foreign substance (almost always a protein) that, when introduced into the body, stimulates an immune response.

antioxidant Antioxidants protect key cell components by neutralizing the damaging effects of "free radicals," natural byproducts of cell metabolism. Free radicals form when oxygen is metabolized, or burned by the body. They travel through cells, disrupting the structure of other molecules, causing cellular damage. Such cell damage is believed to contribute to aging and various health problems.

Antioxidants – Nutrients that combat ever-present free radicals created through oxidation in the body. Free radicals are believed to contribute to a number of health problems. Antioxidants are nutrients that play a vital role in cellular health. Cells are vulnerable to a process called oxidation. Antioxidants are fighter nutrients in the oxidative process that find and "quench" free radicals before they can begin their damaging reaction. Antioxidant nutrients include vitamins C and E, beta-Carotene, the mineral selenium, proanthocyanidin (or OPC's from grape seed extract) and pycnogenol.

antisense A piece of DNA that produces the mirror image, or antisense messenger RNA, that is exactly opposite in sequence to one that directs the cells to produce a specific protein. Since the antisense RNA binds tightly to its image, it prevents the protein from being made.

Anxiety   A vague feeling of apprehension, worry, uneasiness or dread, the source of which is nonspecific or unknown to the individual. A certain amount of anxiety is normal but excess anxiety may interfere with efficient functioning of the individual.

Arginine   Is an amino acid essential for protein formation and is also important for maintaining proper vascular tone.

Arteriosclerosis   A disease of the arterial vessels marked by thickening, hardening and loss of elasticity in the arterial walls. Some risk factors include age, familial disposition, sedentary lifestyle, hypertension, smoking and obesity.

Arthred® – A patented form of hydrolyzed collagen protein (HCL), which forms the framework of human cartilage. The effectiveness of HCL in promoting healthy joints was demonstrated through $10 million in worldwide clinical trials.

Arthritis   Inflammation of a joint usually accompanied by pain, swelling, and, frequently, changes in structure.

ascorbic acid Also known as vitamin C, it is essential for the development and maintenance of connective tissue. Vitamin C speeds the production of new cells in wound healing and it is an antioxidant that keeps free radicals from hooking up with other molecules to form damaging compounds that might attack tissue. Vitamin C protects the immune system, helps fight off infections, reduces the severity of allergic reactions and plays a role in the synthesis of hormones and other body chemicals. Green peppers, broccoli, citrus fruits, tomatoes, strawberries, and other fresh fruits and vegetables are good sources of vitamin C.

aspartame Aspartame is a low-calorie sweetener used in a variety of foods and beverages and as a tabletop sweetener. It is about 200 times sweeter than sugar. Aspartame is made by joining two protein components, aspartic acid and phenylalanine. (There are lots of reports of negative health effects from use of this product avoide if possible.)

asthma Asthma is a chronic medical condition, affecting approximately 10 million Americans (3 to 4 percent of the population). Asthma results when irritants (or trigger substances) cause swelling of the tissues in the air passage of the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. Typical symptoms of asthma include wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing.

Atherosclerosis   The most common form of arteriosclerosis, marked by cholesterol-lipid-calcium deposits in arterial linings.

atherosclerosis A condition that exists when too much cholesterol builds up in the blood and accumulates in the walls of the blood vessels.

ATP – Adenosine Triphosphate - a compound consisting of the nucleotide adenosine attached through its ribose group to three phosphoric acid molecules. It serves to store energy in muscles which is released when it is hydrolyzed to adenosine diphosphate.

ATP (adenosine triphosphate)   This substance is found in all cells, but particularly in muscle cells. When it is split by enzyme action, energy is produced. The energy of the muscle is stored in this compound.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)Commonly called "hyperactivity," Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a clinical diagnosis based on specific criteria. These include excessive motor activity, impulsiveness, short attention span, low tolerance to frustration and onset before 7 years of age.

aura: Alleged generally invisible envelope of "vital energy."

balneotherapy: The treatment of illness by baths (e.g., mud baths).

basal metabolism Basal metabolism is the energy (calories) a body burns when completely at rest. Basal metabolism rate (BMR) is the level of energy needed to keep involuntary body processes going. These processes include heartbeat, breathing, generating body heat, perspiring to keep cool, and transmitting messages to the brain. For a sedentary person, BMR accounts for about 60-70 percent of daily energy expenditure; the remaining 30-40 percent is from physical activity and from body heat produced after a meal. Physical activity is responsible for as much as 50-60 percent of the total energy expenditure in people who include frequent aerobic activity into their lifestyles

basophils Blood cells which when connected to immunoglobulin E antibodies release histamine or other substances causing allergic symptoms.

Bee Pollen   Pollen is a fine, powder-like material produced by the anthers of flowering plants and gathered by the bee. Bee pollen contains B-Complex vitamins, vitamins C, D, E, Folic Acid, amino acids and some minerals.

beta glucan A soluble fiber in oats which provides the health benefit of reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease by decreasing circulating blood cholesterol.

Beta-carotene – A nutrient that is converted to Vitamin A by the body when needed. Contains antioxidant properties.  A pigment found in many dark, green, leafy and yellow vegetables and fruit. It is a non-toxic precursor to vitamin A in humans. It is known to have biological activity as an antioxidant and is one of the best known phytonutrients. Unlike Vitamin A, beta -Carotene is not toxic in large doses. beta-Carotene is a precursor to Vitamin A, which is essential for normal vision. beta-Carotene helps protect cells from the action of free radicals and is converted to Vitamin A in the body. A type of carotenoid found in various fruits and vegetables which provide the health benefit of neutralizing free radicals that may cause damage to cells.

Betaine hydrochloride   Aids in digestion. It is not an enzyme although it is often used with enzymes. It is a crystalline substance containing 23% hydrochloric acid. It is found in beets and other plants. It also helps to form the amino acid methionine.

bias Bias occurs when problems in study design lead to effects that are not related to the variables being studied. An example is selection bias, which occurs when study subjects are chosen in a way that can misleadingly increase or decrease the strength of an association. Choosing experimental and control group subjects from different populations would result in a selection bias.

Bilberry   Bilberry is derived from the berry-like fruit common European shrub similar to blueberry. It contains flavonoid compounds, known as anthocyansides, which stimulate circulation and help promote healthy eye function.

bioactive: Chemically affecting a living being.

Bioavailability   The rate and extent to which an active drug or metabolite enters the general circulation. It is determined by the measurement of the concentration of the drug in body fluids.

biodegradable Describes any material that can be broken down by biological action (e.g., dissimilation, digestion, denitrification). The breakdown of material (chemicals) by microorganisms (bacteria, fungus, etc.).

biofeedback: Any method that involves electronic monitors wherewith one tries to influence one's autonomic processes, such as the beating of the heart. Forms of biofeedback include electromyographic biofeedback, which measures muscle tension, and thermal biofeedback, which measures skin temperature.

Bioflavonoids   Any of a group of biologically active substances found in plants and functioning in the maintenance of the walls of small blood vessels in mammals.

biological activity The effect (change in metabolic activity upon living cells) caused by specific compounds or agents. For example, the drug aspirin causes the blood to thin, that is to clot less easily.

biological controls An integrated pest management method which includes the use of living organisms to reduce the extent of pest problems. This includes the use of beneficial or predatory insects such as ladybugs and parasitic wasps to control crop-destroying bugs.

Bioperine – A patented thermogenic nutrient; increases the body’s efficiency in the uptake of nutrients.

biopesticide A biopesticide is any material of natural origin used in pest control derived from living organisms, such as bacteria, plant cells or animal cells.

biotechnology The simplest definition of biotechnology is "applied biology." The application of biological knowledge and techniques to develop products. It may be further defined as the use of living organisms to make a product or run a process. By this definition, the classic techniques used for plant and animal breeding, fermentation and enzyme purification would be considered biotechnology. Some people use the term only to refer to newer tools of genetic science. In this context, biotechnology may be defined as the use of biotechnical methods to modify the genetic materials of living cells so they will produce new substances or perform new functions. Examples include recombinant DNA technology, in which a copy of a piece of DNA containing one or a few genes is transferred between organisms or "recombined" within an organism.

Biotin   One of the B-vitamins that functions as a co-enzyme in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. The biotin co-enzyme also serves in crucial roles in the breakdown of amino acids. Deficiency of the vitamin can result in hair loss and dermatitis, thus it is found as a popular ingredient in hair care products. Essential for metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates.

Black Cohosh   Grows in wooded areas stretching from the great lakes to the southern Smoky Mountains and westward to the Mississippi River. Black Cohosh was introduced into medicinal use by the Native Americans. Clinical studies support the safety and effective use of the black cohosh to reduce hot flashes, irritability and other conditions associated with menopause.

blind (single or double) experiment In a single blind experiment, the subjects do not know whether they are receiving an experimental treatment or a placebo. In a double blind experiment, neither the researchers nor the participants are aware of which subjects receive the treatment - until after the study is completed.

body mass index (BMI) Method used for determining overweight and obesity in adults. BMI is a calculation that divides a person’s weight in kilograms by height in meters squared (BMI = [kg/m²]. BMI can also be calculated in pounds and inches: BMI=[lbs/in²] X 703. The general guideline currently recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is that individuals with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 are considered overweight and those individuals with a BMI greater than 30 are considered obese.

Borage Oil   Contains two important essential fatty-acids-Linoleic acid and Gamma-linolenic Acid. Fatty acids are components of the cellular membrane and are important for numerous functions including the immune system

Boron - A mineral that may play a role in maintaining strong bones, affecting calcium and magnesium metabolism and proper membrane function. Research suggests that this nutrient may be needed in the metabolism of calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus and Vitamin D. Bones contain the highest concentrations of boron. Vegetables are the best food source of boron, but levels vary based on the amount of boron in the soil. Boron can also be acquired through dairy products, fish and meat.

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, is also known as "mad cow disease." It is a rare, chronic degenerative disease affecting the brain and central nervous system of cattle. Cattle with BSE lose their coordination, develop abnormal posture and experience changes in behavior. Clinical symptoms take 4-5 years to develop, followed by death in a period of several weeks to months unless the affected animal is destroyed sooner.

Bran (oat)   Bran is one form of fiber. Fiber helps maintain healthy lower intestinal function and healthy blood cholesterol levels.

Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) One of the most common microorganisms used in biologically-based pesticides is the Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt bacterium. Several of the proteins produced by the Bt, principally in the coating the bacteria forms around itself, are lethal to individual species of insects. By using Bt in pesticide formulations, target insects can be controlled using an environmentally benign, biologically-based agent. Bt-based insecticides have been widely used by home gardeners for many years as well as on farms.

Buffered   Buffered Vitamin C combines Vitamin C with calcium ascorbate to create a formula that is gentle to sensitive stomachs.

bulimia (binge-eating syndrome, bulimarexia, bulimia nervosa, BN): That eating disorder characterized by recurrent binge eating; recurrent willful vomiting and/or other recurrent inappropriate compensatory measures to prevent weight gain (e.g., laxative abuse, diuretic abuse, or overexercising); and an excessive influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation.

Bulimia Nervosa An eating disorder characterized by rapid consumption of a large amount of food in a short period of time, with a sense of lack of control during the episode and self-evaluation unduly influenced by body weight and shape. There are two forms of the condition, purging and non-purging. The first type regularly engages in purging through self-induced vomiting or the excessive use of laxatives or diuretics. Alternatively, the non-purging type controls weight through strict dieting, fasting or excessive exercise.

butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) A phenolic chemical compound used to preserve foods by preventing rancidity. It may also be used as a defoaming agent for yeast. BHA is found in foods high in fats and oils; also in meats, cereals, baked goods, beer, and snack foods.

butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) A phenolic chemical compound used to keep food from changing flavor, odor and/or color. It is added to foods high in fats and oils and cereals.

C.A.: Certified Acupuncturist.

C.S.W.: Certified Social Worker.

cabala (cabbala, cabbalah, kabala, kabbala, kabbalah, kabbalism, Qabalah, Qabbalah): An eclectic and multiform mystical system of ancient Jewish origin analogous to yoga. It encompasses "angelology," demonology, meditation, and prayer.

caffeic acid A type of phenol found in various fruits, vegetables and citrus fruits which has antioxidant like activities that may reduce the risk of degenerative diseases, heart disease and eye disease.

Caffeine   An alkaloid present in coffee, tea, chocolate, cola drinks and supplements. Caffeine is considered an ergogenic in athletics because it tends to enhance endurance and improve reaction time. Caffeine is a naturally-occurring substance found in the leaves, seeds or fruits of over 63 plant species worldwide and is part of a group of compounds known as methylxanthines. The most commonly known sources of caffeine are coffee and cocoa beans, cola nuts and tea leaves. Caffeine is a pharmacologically active substance and, depending on the dose, can be a mild central nervous system stimulant. Caffeine does not accumulate in the body over the course of time and is normally excreted within several hours of consumption.

Calcium – A mineral that helps build and maintain strong bones and teeth, regulate heartbeat and muscle contractions, and ensure proper blood clotting. Adequate intake can help prevent or minimize osteoporosis. The most abundant mineral in the body and its primary function is to build strong bones and teeth and to maintain a balanced level in the blood. Blood calcium levels are essential to life. When we don't consume enough calcium in our diet to maintain sufficient levels, the mineral is drawn from our bones. So even though most of the calcium is housed in our bones, the blood and cellular concentrations of this mineral are maintained first. This combined with the fact that calcium absorption becomes less efficient with age is a major contributor to osteoporosis. According the National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Panel on Optimal Calcium Intake, the recommended daily allowance of calcium is 1200-1500 mg. A mineral that builds bones and strengthens bones, helps in muscle contraction and heartbeat, assists with nerve functions and blood clotting. Teens 18 years and younger should strive to consume about 1,300 milligrams per day. Individuals 50 years and older need about 1,200 milligrams per day. Everyone else should strive for about 1,000 milligrams per day. Milk and other diary foods such as yogurt and most cheeses are the best sources of calcium. In addition, dark green leafy vegetables, fish with edible bones, and calcium fortified foods supply significant amounts.

Calcium Citrate Malate (CCM)   A patented form of calcium sold exclusively at GNC. Studies in post-menopausal women over the age of 55 demonstrate CCM results in 70% less bone loss when compared to a diet without calcium supplementation, and it can also result in 40% less bone loss when compared to ordinary calcium supplementation.

calorie A calorie is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one milliliter (ml) of water at a standard initial temperature by one degree centigrade (1°C).

Calories – Measurement of the potential of food to supply energy. Carbohydrates – The body’s principal source of energy. Simple carbohydrates come from sugars; complex carbohydrates come from starches and fiber. The body converts them to glucose, which is used to energize cells.

carbohydrateCarbohydrates are organic compounds that consist of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. They vary from simple sugars containing from three to seven carbon atoms to very complex polymers. Only the hexoses (sugars with six carbon atoms) and pentoses (sugars with five carbon atoms) and their polymers play important roles in nutrition. Carbohydrates in food provide 4 calories per gram. Plants manufacture and store carbohydrates as their chief source of energy. The glucose synthesized in the leaves of plants is used as the basis for more complex forms of carbohydrates. Classification of carbohydrates relates to their structural core of simple sugars, saccharides. Principal monosaccharides that occur in food are glucose and fructose. Three common disaccharides are sucrose, maltose and lactose. Polysaccharides of interest in nutrition include starch, dextrin, glycogen and cellulose. The sugars and starches in food. Sugars are called simple carbohydrates and found in such foods as fruit and table sugar. Complex carbohydrates are composed of large numbers of sugar molecules joined together and are found in grains, legume and vegetables such as potatoes, squash and corn.

carcinogens, natural and synthetic The basic mechanism involved in the entire process of carcinogenisis—from exposure to the organism to expression of tumors—are qualitatively similar, if not identical, for the synthetic and naturally occurring carcinogens. Consequently, both naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals can be evaluated by the same epidemiologic or experimental methods and procedures.

Carnitine – An amino acid essential for the breakdown of fat into energy. Carnitine may improve the utilization of fats for energy and can be beneficial in conditions associated with impaired fat breakdown and energy production. Carnitine may be beneficial in heart disease, enhancing physical performance, Alzhiemers disease, diabetes, liver disease, and protection against drug toxicity. This compound plays a central role in lipid metabolism. L-Carntine transports long chain fatty acids into the "mitochondria," the cell's energy factories. Carnitine is stored in skeletal muscle. Carnitine regulates the function of enzymes involved in energy production. Carnitine is a non essential amino acid.

carrageenan A compound extracted from Irish moss (a type of seaweed) that is used in puddings, milk shakes and ice cream to stabilize and keep color and flavor even.

Cartilage   Specialized fibrous connective tissue that forms the skeleton of an embryo and much of the skeleton in an infant. As the child grows, the cartilage becomes bone. In adults, cartilage is present in and around joints and makes up the primary skeletal structure in some parts of the body, such as the ears and tip of the nose.

Catabolism   The destructive phase of metabolism. It includes all the processes in which complex substances are converted into simpler ones, usually with the release of energy.

catechins A type of flavonoid found in tea which provides the health benefits of neutralizing free radicals and possibly reducing the risk of cancer.

Cat's Claw   It is a wild-growing vine found in the peruvian rain forest. Historically, it has been used by the natives of Peru to aid the digestive and immune system. Modern research shows that certain types of cat's claw have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties.

Cayenne  Is both an herb and a spice obtained from the dried, ground fruit of various hot chili peppers. Popular use of Cayenne as a digestive and circulatory stimulant dates back as early as the late 1700's in the United States. Today, it is used as the source of capsaicin, which is used in creams that treat pain associated with herpes-induced shingles and psoriasis. The oleoresin from red pepper is used in external OTC drugs to reduce pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

Cayenne (Capsicum)   The fruit of pepper plants.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The CDC, composed of 11 Centers, Institutes and Offices, aims to promote health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury and disability.

chakra: Any of an indefinite number of yogic alleged invisible bodily openings for "life energy."

Chamomile   Also known as German Chamomile, Roman Chamomile, ground apple, wild chamomile and manzanilla. Chamomile has been widely used for centuries for its sedative properties; it has also been used as an astringent and topical pain reliever. Among chamomile's active ingredients are flavonoids, essential oil, tannic acid and tiglic acid.

Chelation   A process in which a substance, typically a mineral, binds with a protein. The mechanism may enhance the body's absorption.

Chitosan   A non-caloric marine fiber that encourages colon health by helping to speed food through the digestive system and by serving as a bulking agent. The effects of Chitosan are maximized when taken 1/2 to 1 hour before eating a fat-containing meal. As with all fiber, you should increase your consumption of water. Please note that chitosan may cause an allergic reaction in persons allergic to shellfish.

Cholesterol – Substance manufactured by the liver and other organs and consumed via animal fat. High-fat diets increase the amount made. It is believed that high levels lead to collection of cholesterol in the arteries, possibly leading to serious health risks. A waxy, fat-like substance manufactured in the liver and found in all tissues. In foods, only animal products contain cholesterol. An elevated blood level of cholesterol constitutes an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease.

cholesterol (dietary) Cholesterol is not a fat, but rather a fat-like substance classified as a lipid. Cholesterol is vital to life and is found in all cell membranes. It is necessary for the production of bile acids and steroid hormones. Dietary cholesterol is found only in animal foods. Abundant in organ meats and egg yolks, cholesterol is also contained in meats and poultry. Vegetable oils and shortenings are cholesterol-free.

cholesterol (different types) Blood cholesterol is divided into three separate classes of lipoproteins: very-low density lipoprotein (VLDL); low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which contains most of the cholesterol found in the blood; and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
LDL seems to be the culprit in coronary heart disease and is popularly known as the "bad cholesterol." By contrast, HDL is increasingly considered desirable and known as the "good cholesterol."

cholesterol (serum, or blood) High blood cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease. Most of the cholesterol that is found in the blood is manufactured by the body, in the liver, at a rate of about 800 to 1,500 milligrams a day. By comparison, the average American consumes 300 to 450 milligrams daily in foods.

Choline – A nutrient that helps prevent the accumulation of fat in the liver; aids in the detoxification of metabolic wastes and toxins. A component of phosphatidylcholine, a component of lecithin, found in soy and other foods. It is important for cell membrane function and signaling between nerve cells. It is necessary for fat and cholesterol metabolism.

Chondroitin sulfate   The most abundant mucopolysaccharide in the body. It is synthesized in significant amounts but the concentration declines with the normal aging process. It acts as the flexible connecting matrix between tough protein filaments in cartilage to form a polymeric system similar to reinforced rubber. It makes up many body tissues including cartilage, tendons, ligaments, skin, mucus and structures in the eyes. Along with regular exercise, chondroitin sulfate and certain other dietary ingredients may be helpful in maintaining joint health.

Chromium – Mineral important in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats; helps build lean muscle tissue and regulate blood sugar levels.  An essential mineral that is found in many unrefined foods including Brewer's yeast, calf liver, wheat germ, nuts and cheese. Chromium is involved in carbohydrate metabolism and may help regulate blood glucose availability.

Chromium Picolinate   Supplementation, along with proper diet and exercise, may help reduce body fat and increase lean body mass in some moderately obese people. It is essential for carbohydrate (sugar), fat protein metabolism. Chromium is an essential element that helps insulin work more effectively and improves glucose tolerance in some individuals.

chromosome Thread-like components in the cell that contain DNA. They make proteins. Genes are carried on the chromosomes.

Citric acid   A naturally occurring acid in citrus type fruits and berries. Stabilizes the pH value of the skin. Citric acid exhibits astringent and antioxidant properties.

CLA – (Conjugated linoleic acid) is a naturally occurring nutrient which scientists have discovered exerts a positive effect on protein and fat metabolism. CLA is a fatty acid that is present in dairy products, beef, poultry, and eggs. At this time, research on CLA focuses on its role in cellular health and metabolism.

clairaudience: 1. The supposed power to perceive sounds (e.g., music and voices) not within the known extent of human perception. 2. The supposed power to perceive sounds from "alien dimensions," such as the voices of spirits.

clairvoyant: One who claims or appears to have clairvoyance, the alleged ability to obtain information in a way that does not involve using any of the known human senses.

clinical trials Clinical trials undertake experimental study of human subjects. Trials may attempt to determine whether the finds of basic research are applicable to humans, or to confirm the results of epidemiological research. Studies may be small, with a limited number of participants, or they may be large intervention trials that seek to discover the outcome of treatments on entire populations. The "gold standard" clinical trials are double-blind, placebo-controlled studies which employ random assignment of subjects to experimental and control groups unknown to the subject or the researcher.

Cod Liver Oil   A natural source of Vitamins A and D and Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help maintain healthy cardiovascular function by promoting normal triglyceride levels and vascular tone. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce stickiness of red blood cells, thereby promoting healthy circulation.  Cod Liver Oil is a traditional way of receiving Vitamin A and Vitamin D. GNC's Cod Liver Oil is microfiltered to remove unwanted pollutants and manufactured at low temperatures without solvents or chemicals. Cod Liver Oil is an Omega-3 Fatty Acid that supplies EPA and DHA.

Coenzyme   An enzyme activator often composed of non-protein substances; like vitamins.

Coenzyme Q 10 – Vital to energy production at the cellular level; used for endurance improvement. Supplementation may decrease fatigue, muscle weakness and obesity. Also recognized for its strong antioxidant properties.

collagen hydrolysate A functional component of gelatin which may help improve some symptoms associated with osteoarthritis.

collective unconscious (universal consciousness): Alleged inborn psychological bedrock--common to all humans but varying with the particular society, people, or race--that enables telepathy.

Colloid   A substance (as gelatin, albumin, or starch) dispersed through another medium. Colloidal means that one substance is suspended in another.

Concentrated herb   Confirmed as the true herbal species. Concentrated to produce a more potent extract. This proprietary process removes the pulp and fiber that does not add value to the herb. Most concentrated herbs are offered in advanced softgel delivery system that supplies a beneficial concentration and is easier to swallow than conventional tablets. A more potent product than the herbal Plus fingerprinted. Each capsule supplies 1,000 mg. of the herbal species.

confounding variable or confounding factor A "hidden" variable that may cause an association which the researcher attributes to other variables.

conjugated lenoleic acid (CLA) A type of fatty acid found in cheeses and some meat products which may provide the health benefits of improving body composition and decreasing the risk of certain cancers.

Continuing Survey of Food Intake of Individuals (CSFII) A part of the National Nutrition Monitoring System which was the first nationwide dietary intake survey designed to be conducted annually. The survey is conducted by the USDA.

control group The group of subjects in a study to whom a comparison is made in order to determine whether an observation or treatment has an effect. In an experimental study it is the group that does not receive a treatment. Subjects are as similar as possible to those in the test or treatment group.

controlled experiment In this type of research, study subjects (whether animal or human) are selected according to relevant characteristics, and then randomly assigned to either an experimental group, or a control group. Random assignment ensures that factors known as variables, which may affect the outcome of the study, are distributed equally among the groups and therefore could not lead to differences in the effect of the treatment under study. The experimental group is then given a treatment (sometimes called an intervention), and the results are compared to the control group, which does not receive treatment. A placebo, or false treatment, may be administered to the control group. With all other variables controlled, differences between the experimental and control groups may be attributed to the treatment under study.

Copper – Mineral important in the formation of red blood cells; keeps bones, blood vessels, nerves and the immune system healthy. The body contains about 100mg of this trace mineral, which is stored in the liver. It serves as a constituent of enzymes, which function in a number of capacities, such as in the oxidation of ferrous iron to ferric iron, manufacturing of collagen and the healing of wounds. Copper is also involved in respiration and the release of energy.

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)   Also called Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). CHD is a condition that results when the coronary arteries are narrowed by atherosclerotic deposits of fibrous and fatty tissue. Coronary artery disease is the most common underlying cause of cardiovascular disability and death. Men are affected about four times as frequently as women. Risk factors include hypertension, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes and adverse reactions to mental stress. After menopause women are also at risk.

correlation An association, or when one phenomenon is found to be accompanied by another. A correlation does not prove cause and effect. Correlation may also be defined statistically.

Cranberry   The American Cranberry, also known as the trailing swap cranberry, is typically used as aid in maintaining healthy urinary tract. It inhibits the adhesion of E. coli bacteria to the wall of the ureter, preventing infection.

Creatine   A substance made up of three amino acids: methionine, arginine and glycine. A small amount is produced in the liver and stored in your muscles. It is used to make creatine phosphate, a substance that helps support the ATP refueling process, which provides energy. This high-energy phosphate is great for bodybuilders and serious athletes because it provides support for energy production.

Creatine monohydrate – Maximizes the body’s level of stored creatine phosphate; results in increased peak athletic performance and shortened muscle recovery time.

crop residues Plant materials remaining from the former crop that are left on the soil surface after planting form crop residues. Crop residues reduce soil erosion, air and surface water pollution, conserve soil moisture, and improve the soil by adding organic matter.

crustacean Any of the various aquatic arthropods, including lobsters, crabs, shrimps and barnacles. Characteristically have segmented bodies, chitinous exoskeletons and paired, jointed limbs.

cultural controls An integrated pest management method which includes annual crop rotation to discourage pests and weed production.

cyclamate A sweetener which is 30 times sweeter than sucrose, calorie free and heat stable and works synergistically with other sweeteners. It is approved for tabletop use in Canada and more than 50 countries in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa. Since 1970, however, the use of cyclamate has been banned in the United States on the basis of a study that suggested that cyclamates may be related to the development of bladder tumors in rats. Although 75 subsequent studies have failed to show that cyclamate is carcinogenic, the sweetener has yet to be reapproved for use in the United States.

Cysteine   Is a principal source of sulfur on the diet which is found in skin and nails. Cysteine is a main source of sulfhydryl groups in many proteins in cells. It plays an important role in glutathione structure that acts as a reductant and is scavenger of free radicals. It is also a part of glutathione peroxides, the enzyme that protects against lipid peroxides in the body.