TTC Terms Glossary

Below is an exhaustive list of terms you may run across in natural health.


Abdominals:abdominal exercises (reverse curls, exhalation roll-ups and reverse trunk rotations) included as part of any overall strength training routine in order to firm the abdominal muscles, which results in greater structural support to the back and torso as well as improves posture abdominal muscles consisting of the main abdominal muscle, rectus abdominis (six pack), internal obliques (two; one on each side), external obliques (two), and transversus abdominis (also called transversalis).

Abscess: a collection of pus formed as a result of infection by microorganisms,usually bacteria but in some cases a fungus. The pus is formed from destroyed tissuecells, from white blood cells that have been carried to the area to fight infection, andfrom bacteria or fungus.

Acid-base balance: a combination of mechanisms that ensures that the body’s fluids are neither too acid or too alkaline (base). Optimal body functioning occurs only when the body’s fluids are in equilibrium.

Acidophilus: a type of “friendly bacteria” that may help detoxify harmful substances and help maintain a healthy balance of intestinal flora.

AIDS: AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is an immune system disorder in which the body’s ability to defend itself is greatly diminished. When human immuno deficiency virus (HIV, the virus that causes AIDS) invades key immune cells called Tlymphocytes and multiplies, it causes a breakdown in the body’s immune system, eventually leading to overwhelming infection and/or cancer.

Adaptogen: a term for a substance, usually an herb, that produces beneficial adjustments in the body, helps normalize body functions and increase resistance to adverse influences. Examples of adaptogens include garlic, gingseng, echinacea, gingko biloba.

Adrenal cortocosteroids: hormones produced by the cortex of the adrenal glands in the body.

Andro: androstenedione, a direct precursor to testosterone.

Aerobic: requiring oxygen. Aerobic exercises (such as biking, running, swimming,walking briskly, in line skating and dancing) use large muscle groups at moderate intensities, elevate the heartbeat beyond its resting rate, require oxygen for endurance and use both carbohydrate and fat for energy. Aerobic training helps strengthen the heart and lungs, increases metabolic rate (the rate at which the body burns calories) and results in increased physical work capacity as well as reduced body fat leading to weight loss.

Alkalosis: above normal alkalinity (base) in the blood and body fluids.

Alterative: a term used when describing herbs that help balance various body systems by prompting synergy between organs in the body.

Alzheimer’s Disease: a degenerative disease of the brain involving memory loss and major structural changes in brain neurons.

Amino acids: substances (building blocks) from which proteins are made. Examples of amino acids include arginine, carnitine, glutamine, tyrosine.

Anabolic agent: a substance that builds tissue and promotes muscle recovery following injury.

Anaerobic: not requiring oxygen. Anaerobic exercises (weight lifting, sprinting,football, hockey, basketball and athletic events of short duration, usually less than 60seconds) involve high intensity, low-endurance activities that require bursts of energy for power or speed and the use of carbohydrate (not fat) for energy.

Analgesic: a substance that relieves pain.

Angiogenesis: uncontrolled new blood vessel growth. Angiogenesis involves the formation of new blood vessels that develop from preexisting ones. Uncontrolled angiogenesis is thought to disrupt the structure and integrity of existing blood vessels.

Anaphylactic: a severe, life threatening allergic reaction.

Anemia: a deficiency in the blood’s ability to carry oxygen to tissues in the body.Common types of anemias are due to deficiencies of iron, or vitamin B12.

Angina: a term that describes a strangling or oppressive heaviness or pain. Anginahas become synonymous with the heart disorder angina pectoris, a syndrome of chest pain,tightness or pressure, felt in the area in and around the heart, often radiating to the back, neck, and arms, caused by a lack of oxygen to an area of heart muscle. Other types of angina include abdominal angina, abdominal pain after eating caused by poor blood supply to the intestines.

Angina pectoris: a syndrome of pain in the chest, and arms or jaw due to a lack of oxygen to the heart muscle. Angina pectoris often occurs when the demand for oxygen is increased during exercise and at times of stress.

Anticoagulant: a substance that prevents abnormal blood clots from forming. Useful in the prevention and treatment of stroke.

Anticonvulsant: a substance that helps prevent seizures and also, helps to reduce the frequency and severity of seizures.

Antidote: anything that neutralizes or counteracts the effects of a harmful substance.

Anti-inflammatory: a substance that reduces the signs and symptoms of inflammation such as redness, swelling, and pain.

Antioxidant: a substance that helps protect the body from damaging substances (free radicals). Some vitamins,minerals and enzymes act as antioxidants.

Anxiety: an unpleasant emotional state ranging from mild unease to intense fear,accompanied by certain physical and psychological symptoms including restlessness, muscle tension and in some cases heart palpitations.

Anorexia: the medical term for loss of appetite; this is different from anorexianervosa, an eating disorder.

Anorexia nervosa: an eating disorder characterized by intense fear of being fat, by severe weight loss, distorted body image and eventually, absence of monthly menstrual periods.

Antibody production: formation of substances made by the immune system that intercept and neutralize invading organisms or other foreign substances.

Aphrodisiac: a substance thought to stimulate erotic desire and enhance sexual performance.

Aromatic: a term often used to describe herbs that have a distinctive aroma or smell. The pleasant tasting herbs (aromatic) are potentially less toxic and can be used more often, unlike the bitter tasting herbs which are medicinal herbs.

Arrhythmia: an abnormality of the rate of the heart beat caused by a disturbance in the electrical impulses to the heart.

Arteriosclerosis: a disorder involving the circulatory system, characterized by a thickening and stiffening of the walls of arteries which impedes circulation.

Arthritis: a painful inflammation of a joint caused by many conditions, including infections, or injury; joint structure is usually altered, and loss of function sometimes results.

Asthma: a disorder characterized by recurrent attacks of breathlessness, often accompanied by wheezing. Asthma is often a result of an allergy, respiratory infection, or exercise which may trigger an attack.

Atherosclerosis: a disorder caused by the accumulation of fatty deposits in the inner linings of the arteries.

ATP: adenosine triphosphate; a common high energy compound composed of a purine (adenine), a sugar (ribose), and three phosphate groups. ATP is a vital source of energy and is necessary for muscles to function.

Avitaminosis: a group of symptoms resulting from a deficiency of vitamins.


Beriberi: a nervous system disease, caused by a deficiency of thiamine (vitaminB1).

Beta carotene: a substance the body uses to make vitamin A. Beta carotene is also known as provitamin A.

Bioavailability:the ease with which nutrients can be absorbed. This differs from potency.

Bioflavonoid: plant chemicals that are antioxidants and act to combat harmful substances in the body known as free radicals. They assist with the prevention and treatment of a wide variety of diseases.

Bile acids: liquids secreted by the liver that carry away waste products formed in the liver and help break down fats in the small intestine during digestion.

Blood coagulant: any substance that causes the blood to clot.

Blood disorders: abnormalities that occur in any of the components of the blood such as the red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma. Examples of blood disorders include anemia, leukemia, polycythemia, septicemia and sickle cell anemia.

BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate): the minimum amount of energy expended by the body to maintain vital processes when resting and just awakened. It includes the body’s caloric expenditure to maintain a heartbeat, respiration, temperature, and other functions not including energy needs for activity or digesting food. BMR is estimated to be approximately 1 kcalorie per minute, or about 1400 kcalories per day. It is measured undercontrolled temperature conditions, quiet environment and 12 hours after a meal. Variousfactors, such as age, gender, thyroid activity, recent exercise, and muscle mass influence the value of the BMR.

Bone Resorption: the process whereby bone undergoes continuous remodeling to replace old bone with new tissue. An imbalance in remodeling may occur as a result of estrogen deficiency,or an inadequate intake of calcium, magnesium or vitamin D. This can lead to insufficient filling of resorption sites, an increased rate of bone turnover and as a result, bone loss.

Branched chain amino acids:amino acids that can be used to provide energy directly to muscle tissue. The branched chain amino acids include valine, leucine and isoleucine.

Bronchitis: inflammation of the airways that connect the trachea to the lungs,resulting in a persistent cough that produces considerable quantities of phlegm.

Building Blocks: units of construction or composition. Amino acids are often referred to as the building blocks of protein.

Bulimia nervosa: an eating disorder characterized by repeated episodes of binge eating usually followed by self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives or diuretics,fasting or excessive exercise.

Burn: a burning sensation that results from the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles causing fatigue. Athletes try to train just below their lactic acid threshold, the point at which the body cannot process lactic acid quickly enough during periods of intensive activity. Untrained muscles rely mostly on glycogen stores of energy and have greater lactic acid build up due to oxygen debt. Muscle burn (lactic acid build-up) can be prevented by strengthening exercises using alternate muscle groups and by gradually building the intensity of a routine.

Bursitis: inflammation of the bursa, a small fluid filled sac that acts as a cushion at a pressure point in the body, often near joints, where a tendon or muscle crosses either bone or other muscles. Bursitis is usually a result of pressure, friction,or slight injury to the membrane surrounding the joint.


Cachexia: an appearance of profound illness, and massive weight loss, usually due to either extreme starvation or a serious underlying disease such as cancer.

Calcitonin: a hormone from the thyroid gland that lowers blood calcium by inhibiting its release from bone.

Calmative: a substance that promotes relaxation and calmness.

Calorie: a unit by which energy is measured. Food energy is measured in kilocalories (1000 kilocalories equal 1 kilocalorie).

Cancer: a disease that results from the growth of malignant tumors.

Candidiasis: infection by the fungus, Candida Albicans, often within the vagina or on other areas of mucous membranes such as the inside of the mouth.

Capillary: a tiny blood vessel that allows the exchange of nutrients between the bloodstream and the body’s cells.

Capillary fragility: term used to describe the delicate nature of the tiny blood vessels in the body. Because of their thin walls, capillaries are fragile. Capillaries become more fragile in the elderly, in people taking high doses of steroids and in persons with vitamin C deficiency.

Capillary permeability: the process in which the walls of capillaries allow substances such as oxygen, glucose, and water to pass through them so that blood and cells can function properly.

Carbohydrate:the body’s main fuel source. Types of carbohydrates include starches,sugars, and fibers. Carbohydates contain four calories per gram. Glucose is a carbohydrate used by every cell in the body.

Carcinogenics: cancer causing substances.

Cardiac disorders: disorders that affect the heart. Atherosclerosis, arrhythmias,congestive heart failure, and mitral valve proplase are examples of cardiac disorders.

Cardiac stimulant: a substance that increases activity of the heart.

Cardiovascular: referring to the heart and blood vessels. Cardiovascular endurance refers to the ability of the heart and lungs to efficiently deliver oxygen rich blood to the muscles and remove oxygen deficient blood from exercised muscles.

Cardiovascular disease: a general term for all diseases that affect the heart,blood vessels, and blood circulation.

Carotenoids: pigments commonly found in plants which have pro-vitamin A activity.Beta carotene belongs to the family of substances known as carotenoids.

Catabolic: biochemical process in which complex molecules (such as muscle protein)are broken down for energy production, recycling of their components, or excretion.

Cataracts: loss of transparency of the lens of the eye causing progressive loss of clarity and detail of images.

Cell respiration: the process in which cells acquire energy through the exchange of oxygen, nutrients and water.

Chelated: the attachment of an organic or carbon-containing chemical compound to a mineral. Chelating agents are often used to increase the absorption of minerals in the body. Amino acids are very commonly used as chelating agents.

Cholestasis: condition affecting the liver resulting from stagnation of bile in the small bile ducts which leads to a characteristic type of jaundice and to liver disease.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: a condition characterized by persistent fatigue that is severe enough to reduce average daily activity by at least 50 percent for at least six months. Symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome include aching muscles and joints, anxiety, depression, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, sleep disturbances, recurrent upper respiratory tract infections, temporary memory loss and most importantly, extreme and often disabling fatigue.

Cirrhosis: a disease of the liver caused by chronic damage to its cells. Bands of internal scarring break up the normal structure of the liver. The surviving cells multiply to form islands of living cells separated by scar tissue (regeneration nodules). Because these nodules are inadequately supplied with blood, liver function is gradually impaired,and the liver is no longer effective in removing toxic substances from the blood.

Coenzyme: a substance that works with an enzyme to enable the enzyme to form its function in the body. Coenzymes are necessary for the body to use vitamins and minerals.

Colitis: inflammation of the large intestine causing diarrhea, usually with blood and mucus. Other symptoms may include abdominal pain and fever.

Collagen: the protein material from which connective tissue such as tendons,ligaments, and the foundations of bones and teeth are made. It is the body’s major structural protein and helps hold together the cells and tissues of the body.

Coma: a state of unconsciousness and unresponsiveness distinguishable from sleep in that the person does not respond to external stimulation or to his or her bodily functions.

Common cold: an infection of the upper respiratory tract. There are over 200viruses that can cause the common cold. A cold can last for up to 10 days. Occasionally a cold can lead to a more serious illness, such as bronchitis, pneumonia or flu.

Congestion: accumulation of an excessive amount of blood or fluid in part of the body.

Connective tissue: the material that holds together the various structures of the body. Tendons and cartilage are made up of connective tissue. Connective tissue also forms the matrix of bone and the non muscular structures of arteries and veins.

Constipation: the condition of having painful, difficult or infrequent bowel movements.

Contraceptive: any agent that diminishes the likelihood of conception.Contraceptives work in differing ways, but their basic action is either to stop the sperm and the ovum from meeting in the fallopian tube thus preventing conception or fertilization or to prevent a fertilized ovum from implanting in the lining of the uterus.Contraceptives can be hormonal, chemical, or mechanical.

Contraction: the main function of muscle tissue. Muscle contraction refers to the development of tension within a muscle causing movement. A contraction in which the muscle develops tension but does not shorten is an isometric contraction. A contraction in which the muscle shortens and maintains constant tension is called isotonic contraction. Most muscles do not contract individually but contract in specific sets or sequences, as even the simplest movements require the contraction of complex sets or sequences of muscles.Messages for contractions are sent through nerve fibers (motor nerve impulse) and controlled by the brain and spinal cord.

Contusion: damage to the skin and underlying tissues from a blunt injury such as a fall; the skin may be scraped and the tissues bruised.

Convulsion: a seizure characterized by intense, uncontrollable contraction of the voluntary muscles that results from abnormal stimulation from the brain.

Creatine phosphate: a substance that serves to maintain high levels of ATP, a vital source of energy for muscle cells. Creatine is an amino acid stored in skeletal muscle.More than half of the body’s creatine is found as creatine phosphate in muscle. Creatine supplementation has been shown to increase intracellular levels of creatine phosphate.This allows intracellular levels of ATP to be maintained at optimal levels for longer periods of time during intense exercise.

Crohn’s Disease: a disease characterized by a chronic and long-lasting ulceration and inflammation of a section or sections of the digestive tract.

Cut Up: a term used to describe a firm and lean body with well defined musculatureas a result of very little body fat.

Cystic fibrosis: an inherited illness caused by a defect in a gene that encodes instructions for a protein that regulates the passage of salt in and out of cells in the body.

Cystitis: an inflammation of the bladder usually caused by a bacterial infection of the bladder.


Daily Value: the recommended daily intake for selected nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, considered adequate to meet the needs of healthy people ages 4 and up.

Decongestant: any substance that acts to relieve nasal congestion.

Definition: a term used to describe toned musculature in which the detail of the anatomical structure of individual muscles and muscle groups is clearly seen giving an appearance of a shapely physique.

Delts: deltoid, a thick muscle, which covers the shoulder joint and serves to raise the arm laterally. The deltoid is made up of fibers that run in three different directions. The anterior fibers of the deltoid cover the front of the shoulder joint where the deltoid-pectoral-biceps tie in and function to flex the upper arm at the shoulder by bringing it forward.

Dementia: a general decline in all areas of mental ability. It is usually due to brain disease and is progressive, with increasing intellectual impairment.

Dermatitis: inflammation of the skin that produces flaking, thickening, color changes, and, often, itching.

Detoxifier: a substance that has the ability to remove harmful substances (toxins) and/or their effects.

Diabetes mellitus: a disorder in which the pancreas produces insufficient, ineffective or no insulin, the hormone responsible for the absorption of glucose into the cells for energy. As a result glucose regulation and utilization is affected. Diabetesmellitus can also result in disordered lipid metabolism. There are two types of diabetesmellitus: Type I and Type II Diabetes mellitus

Diabetic retinopathy: a condition resulting from uncontrolled diabetes mellitus in which the there is damage to the retina, the light sensitive area at the back of the eye,and to the blood vessels that supply the retina.

Diarrhea: increased fluidity, frequency, or volume of bowel movements, as compared to the usual pattern for a particular person.

Digestive enzymes: proteins that break down food substances into simpler compounds.

Dietary Reference Intakes:the new name and revised recommendations for the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA).

Diuretic: a substance that promotes the excretion of fluids, mainly water, from the body.

Dopamine: a nerve transmitter made in the brain necessary for controlling muscle tone so that movement is smooth.

DNA: deoxyribonucleic acid, found in the chromosomes of cells and is the principal carrier of genetic information.

DSHEA: an abbreviation for the “Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of1994.” This law was established by Congress and set up a new framework for FDAregulation of dietary supplements. The law gives dietary supplement manufacturers freedom to market dietary supplements and provide information about their products’ benefits. As part of DSHEA supplement manufacturers are mandated to put easy to read standardized labels on their products.

Duodenal ulcer: a raw area in the wall of the first part of the small intestine,caused by erosion of its inner surface lining. Duodenal ulcers are also called pepticulcers.


Eczema: an inflammation of the skin, usually causing itching and sometimes accompanied by scaling or blisters. Eczema is sometimes caused by an allergy but often occurs for no reason.

Edema: accumulation of fluid in body tissues.

Emollient: a substance that has a soothing, softening effect when applied to the skin, eyes, or mucous membranes such as the lining of the nose and mouth.

Emulsifying Agent: a substance that promotes the mixing of oils and fats in a watery solution. Lecithin is an emulsifier.

Enzymes: small molecules necessary for life. They act as catalysts to make body processes such as digestion, respiration, metabolism possible. There are over 3000different enzymes in our bodies and each enzyme promotes a different chemical reaction.

Epilepsy: a disorder characterized by recurring seizures, which are caused by electrical disturbances in the nerve cells in a section of the brain.

Ephedrine: a chemical component of the herb known as ephedra, which is also known as ma huang. Ephedrine is used in many over-the-counter decongestants and asthma drugs. It is also used in some weight loss products.

Epinephrine: a naturally occurring hormone also known as adrenaline. Epinephrine is released by the adrenal glands in response to stress, exercise, or emotion such as fear. Ephinephrine increases the speed and force of the heartbeat and thereby the work that can be done by the heart. It dilates the airways to improve breathing and narrows the blood vessels in the skin and intestine so that an increased flow of blood reaches the muscles,allowing them to cope with the demands of exercise.

Epstein-Barr virus: a virus that causes infectious mononucleosis, and is associated with extreme fatigue.

Essential fatty acids: The building blocks of which fats are composed. They are needed by the body, but not made by the body in amounts sufficient to meet needs for health. There are two categories of essential fatty acids designated omega-3 and omega-6. Linoleic acid is the main omega-6 fatty acid and alpha-linoleic acid is the main omega-3fatty acid. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid are omega -3 fatty acids derived from alpha-linoleic acid.

Exercise: bodily exertion for developing and maintaining physical fitness. Physicalactivity, involving muscular work, classified as power, speed or endurance depending upon the duration of the event, the rate of energy production and the enzyme system used. Both power and speed events are examples of anaerobic exercise whereas endurance events are examples of aerobic exercise.

Expectorant: a substance that promotes the coughing up of phlegm.


Failure: exhaustion achieved when muscles tire to the point that they cannot perform another repetition using proper form.

Fatigue: physical (or mental) tiredness following prolonged or intense activity.Muscular fatigue results from the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles preventing blood from circulating through and causing a decline in muscular strength.

Fat-soluble: any substance that dissolves in fats or oils. Vitamins A, D, E and Kare fat soluble vitamins and can be stored in fat cells.

Fever: medically referred to as pyrexia, a fever is defined as a body temperature above 98.6 degrees Farenheit, measured in the mouth or 99.8 degrees Farenheit, measured in the rectum. Fever may occur in bacterial or viral infections or in non infectious conditions such as dehydration.

Fibromyalgia: a disorder characterized by chronic achy muscular pain commonly affecting the lower back, the neck, the shoulders, the back of the head, the upper chest,and/or the thighs. The most distinctive feature of this disorder is the existence of certain “tender points”-specific spots where the muscles are abnormally tender to the touch.

Fibrosis: an overgrowth of scar or connective tissue. This may result from an aggravated healing response to injury, infection, or inflammation. It can also result from a lack of oxygen in a tissue, usually due to inadequate blood flow through the tissue, for example, heart muscle damaged by a heart attack.

Flatulence: expulsion of intestinal gas formed by swallowed air or fermentation,sometimes accompanied by abdominal discomfort, which is relieved by the passage of this gas.

Flexibility: the ability to move muscles (by contraction) so as to cause flexion of a joint (bending movement around a joint in a limb). To flex is to move or to tense (a muscle or muscles) by contraction.

Free radicals: substances that can cause damage to cells; impairing the immune system.


Gallstones: round or oval, smooth or faceted lumps found in the gallbladder or bile ducts which connect the gallbladder and the liver to the small intestine. The gallstones are a result of bile that contains too much cholesterol.

Gangrene: death of a tissue, usually as a result of loss of blood supply. It may affect a small area of skin, a finger, or a substantial portion of a limb.

Gastritis: inflammation of the stomach lining.

Gastroenteritis: inflammation of the mucous lining of the stomach and the intestines.

Gingivitis: inflammation of the gums surrounding the teeth.

Glaucoma: an eye condition that occurs when intraocular pressure, the pressure that fluids within the eyeball exert on other parts of the eye, increases. If this pressure is not relieved, it can damage parts of the eye.

Glucose Tolerance Factor: a compound vital in regulating carbohydrate metabolism by enhancing insulin function for proper use of glucose in the body. GTF is composed of one chromium molecule in the trivalent state (+3 charge), two niacin molecules, and three amino acids-glycine, cysteine, and glutamic acid.

Gluten: an elastic protein found in wheat and other grains that gives dough its structure and cohesiveness.

Glycogen: the main form in which glucose is stored in the body. It is converted back into glucose as needed to supply energy.

Gout: a common joint disease characterized by attacks of swelling, pain, tenderness and inflammation, usually in a single joint. Gout is sometimes associated with kidney stones.

Growth Hormones: Substances, whichin crease protein synthesis or decrease protein breakdown, and promote growth in muscle tissue. Human growth hormone (HGH), a major anabolic hormone secreted from the pituitary gland, works to help increase the amount of contractile proteins in muscle fibers and produce greater muscle size and strength. It is involved in the growth and repair of organs and tissues. High intensity resistance exercise is a potent stimulus for acute elevations in human growth hormone.

Guarana seed extract:an herbal extract that is a natural source of caffeine and promotes thermogenesis.


Halitosis: the medical term for bad breath. Halitosis is occasionally a sign of illness, but it is usually simply a result of smoking, drinking alcohol, eating certain foods, or poor oral and dental hygiene. When bad breath is persistent and not due to any of the causes mentioned, it may be symptom of an infection of the sinuses.

HDL cholesterol: High density lipoprotein cholesterol; often known as the”good cholesterol”. It transports cholesterol from the cells back to the liver for removal. High levels of this type of cholesterol are “Highly Desirable”.

Heart disease: diseases that affect the heart by interfering with ability of the heart to function properly. Examples of heart diseases are heart failure, is chemic heart disease (reduced blood supply to the heart due to a narrowing or obstruction of the coronary arteries.

Heart palpitation: the faster or more forceful beating of the heart, often felt as a fluttering or thumping in the chest.

Heartburn: a burning pain in the center of the chest that may travel from the tip of the breastbone to the throat. It may be caused by overeating, eating rich or spicy food, or drinking alcohol. In some cases it may be related to a back flow of stomach acid into the esophagus.

Heme iron: the iron-holding part hemoglobin(oxygen carrying protein of the red blood cells) and myoglobin ( the oxygen carrying protein of muscle cells).

Hemorrhoids: painful swelling of the veins surrounding the rectum.

Hepatic: pertaining to the liver.

Hepatitis: an inflammation of the liver, with accompanying liver cell damage,caused most frequently by viral infection. Hepatitis may be of limited duration (acute) or chronic.

Hepatomegaly: enlargement of the liver, which may occur as a result of virtually any type of liver disorder. Enlargement of the liver may cause tenderness just beneath the ribs.

Herbal: pertaining to substances derived from herbs. Herbs can be used in tablet,capsule, tincture or extract form. Herbal therapy is a natural approach to wellness, using herbs to promote good health and healing.

Hernia: a condition in which part of an internal organ protrudes, inappropriately,through an opening in the tissues that are supposed to contain it.

Herpes: any variety of conditions characterized by an eruption of small, usually painful, blisters on the skin.

Herpes simplex: a virus that can cause painful blisters around the lips.

Herpes zoster: also known as shingles, herpes zoster is an infection of the nerves that supply certain areas of the skin. Herpes zoster causes a painful rash of small,crusting blisters. After the rash heals, pain may persist for months. It is caused by the varicella virus, which also causes chickenpox. During an attack of chickenpox, most of the chicken pox virus is destroyed, but some survive and lie dormant in certain nerves remaining there for years, where it may reoccur as Herpes zoster.

Hiatal hernia: a condition where a portion of the stomach protrudes upward into the chest through an opening in the diaphragm, the sheet of muscle involved in breathing that separates the chest from the abdomen.

Histamine: a chemical released by the immune system that acts on various body tissues.

HIV: human immunodeficiency virus. The virus that causes AIDS. The infection progressively destroys the immune system and leaves it defenseless against numerous infections.

Hodgkin’s Disease: a malignant disorder of lymphoid tissue, tissues found in the lymph nodes and spleen, in which there is proliferation of its cells and as a result enlargement of the lymph nodes.

Homocysteine: an amino acid in which high levels are associated with an increase drisk of heart disease. Folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 are all needed to keep homocysteine levels low.

Hormones: Chemical messengers that travel to one or more specific target tissues or organs where they elicit specific responses to restore normal conditions.

Hydroxylation: a chemical reaction in which a hydroxyl (OH) group is added to form a new substance. Vitamin C functions in a hydroxylation reaction necessary for collagen formation.

Hyperacidity: a condition in which an excessive amount of acid is produced by the stomach.

Hyperglycemia: an abnormally high level of glucose (sugar) in the blood.

Hypertension: abnormally high blood pressure.

Hypertensive: any substance that causes an elevation in blood pressure.

Hyperthyroidism: over activity of the thyroid gland which results in over production of thyroid hormones.

Hypertrophy: increase in muscle size. Thickening of muscle fibers without increasing the number of muscle cells resulting in greater muscle power.

Hypocalcemia: the presence of abnormally low levels of calcium in the blood.

Hypotension: low blood pressure which causes reduced blood flow to the brain often causing dizziness and fainting.


Ileus: a failure, usually temporary, of the normal contractility of the muscles of the intestine. As a result, intestinal contents can no longer pass out of the body and the bowel becomes obstructed. This condition commonly follows abdominal surgery and may also be induced by severe abdominal injury or interference with the blood or nerve supply to the intestine.

Immunodeficiency: a defect in the functioning of the immune system which renders the body more susceptible to illness.

Immunoenhancer: substance that enhances the immune system.

Inflammation: a reaction to illness or injury characterized by swelling, warmth,and redness.

Influenza: a highly contagious viral infection of the upper respiratory tract known as “the flu”. More than 200 different strains of viruses can cause influenza.Influenza commonly occurs in winter.

Insomnia: the inability to sleep.

Intensity: the magnitude of force or energy per unit (how hard you are working). High intensity activities require an extreme degree of strength, force or energy. Weight training involves short duration, intense exercises, which target specific muscles or areas of the body one at a time. Optimal intensity level for aerobic conditioning is 70 to85 percent of your maximal heart rate (the rate at which your heart cannot pump any harder).

International unit (IU): a measure of potency based on an acceptable international standard. Dosages of vitamins A and E are usually measured in international units. The number of milligrams in an international unit varies depending on the substance being measured, because IU’s are a measure of potency, not weight or volume.

Intestinal flora: the”friendly bacteria” present in the intestines that are essential for the digestion and metabolism of certain nutrients.

Irritant: anything that causes soreness or inflammation.

Isoflavone: a plant chemical found in soybeans that may have positive effects against cancer, cardiovascular disease, menopausal symptoms and osteoporosis. Genistein, daidzein and beta-sitosterol are examples of isoflavone compounds.

Isolation: to isolate a muscle (or muscle groups) in a particular region of the body when training in order to provide form and technique ideal for maximizing the effectiveness of a specific exercise in strengthening the isolated muscle or muscle groups.

Isometrics: muscular exercise, which involves the application of muscular tension without muscular movement. Isometric training does not involve muscular movement through a muscle’s range of motion and does not improve the ability of a muscle to exert force at any position. Isometric training is often used for rehabilitative purposes.


Joint disorders: disorders that affect the joint, the point at which two bones meet. Joint disorders include sprains, ligament tears, cartilage damage and tears of the joint capsule.


Kava Kava:an herb best known for its anti-anxiety properties


Lats: common term for Latisimus dorsi, muscles that run along the sides of the back and help extend, rotate, and pull the arms to the body. Lats are important in pulling activities such as rock climbing and rowing. Exercises such as lat pull-downs and chin-ups specifically focus on training the lats.

Laxatives: substances often used to relieve constipation. They may include herbs or other substances that act to relieve painful or difficult bowel movements.

LDL cholesterol: low density lipoprotein often known as “bad cholesterol”. It transports cholesterol to the artery walls, depositing it as artery-clogging plaque. High levels of LDL have been associated with an increased risk for heart disease. This type of cholesterol is “Least Desirable”.

Lethargy: a feeling of tiredness, drowsiness, or lack of energy.

Leukemia: cancer of the blood producing tissues, especially the bone marrow and lymph nodes, resulting in an overabundance of white blood cells.

Leukotriene: a hormone-like substance made within a cell from essential fatty acids. Leukotrienes rally the cell into specialized work and are related to cardiovascular health.

Lipase: an enzyme that breaks down fat.

Lipoproteins: substances (protein coated packages) that transport fats in the bloodstream.

Lipotropic: any substance that helps to prevent the accumulation of abnormal or excessive amounts of fat in the liver, control blood sugar levels, and enhance fat and carbohydrate metabolism.

Liver cirrhosis: a disease of the liver caused by chronic damage to its cells from internal scarring. This leads to an inadequate blood supply to liver nodules and gradually impaired liver function

Lupus erythematosus: a chronic disease that causes inflammation of connective tissue. The more serious form systemic lupus erythematosus affects many systems of the body, including the joints and the kidneys.


Macronutrient: group name for nutrients that supply energy such as carbohydrates,fats and proteins.

Macular degeneration: a disorder that causes progressive visual loss due to degeneration of the macula, the portion of the eye responsible for fine vision. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe visual loss in the United States in people over 55 years of age.

Manic depression:also known as bipolar disorder, manic depression is a mental disorder that is characterized by two distinct phases-the manic phase characterized by euphoria, irritability, excessive talking and the depressive phase characterized by depressed mood, deflated ego, apathy, and sad, lonely, helpless feelings.

MAO inhibitor: monoamine oxidase inhibitors are often used in the treatment of depression, some psychiatric disorders and Parkinson’s disease. MAO inhibitors may include drugs, herbs or other compounds that act to inhibit an enzyme in the body.

MCT: Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) are special types of fats shown to promote the burning of stored fat. Absorbed and utilized differently than other more common types of fats (long chain triglycerides), MCTs have been found to promote weight loss by increasing the rate at which calories burn (thermogenesis). MCTs are quick acting (easily absorbed) and used as highly concentrated sources of energy during wound healing, recovery from burns, prolonged exhaustive exercise, dieting and other catabolic conditions where muscle breakdown exceeds muscle growth.

Melancholia: another term for the word depression. It is used to refer to certain symptoms that occur in severe depression, including loss of pleasure in most activities,lack of reaction to pleasurable stimuli, and inappropriate guilt feelings.

Melatonin: a hormone secreted by the pineal gland believed to help regulate the body’s daily rhythms and promote sleep.

Metabolism: a collective term for all the chemical reactions that take place in the body. Metabolism is divided into catabolism and anabolism. Catabolism is a chemical reaction in which a complex substance is broken down into a simpler one, usually with are lease of energy. Anabolism is a chemical reaction in which a complex substance is built up from simpler ones, usually with the consumption of energy.

Metabolites: substances that take part in a biochemical reaction in the body.

Methyl donor: a chemical compound that contains a methyl group and through a reaction in the body is capable of donating this chemical group so that it can be used to make other important substances in the body. S-Adenosyl methionine, produced from methionine, an amino acid in the body, acts as a methyl donor. S-Adenosyl methionine is required for the synthesis of carnitine and creatine.

Micronutrient: group name for nutrients that do not supply energy such as vitamins, minerals, and coenzymes.

Migraine: a severe headache, lasting for two hours to two days, accompanied by disturbances of vision and/or nausea and vomiting.

Minerals: substances required by the body in small quantities. Minerals fall in to two categories, major minerals and trace minerals. Major minerals are needed by the body in greater amounts than trace minerals. Major minerals include calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and sulfur. Trace minerals include boron, chromium, copper,iron, manganese, selenium, zinc and vanadium.

Mucopolysaccharide: substance containing protein and carbohydrate parts that is responsible for providing structure to the bone, cartilage, skin, and other body tissues by attracting water to form a gel-like structure. Glucosamine is an important mucopolysaccharide.

Myocardial infarction: another name for a heart attack; sudden death of part of the heart muscle characterized, in most cases, by severe unremitting chest pain.

Myoglobin: the oxygen-carrying pigment in muscles consisting of a combination of iron and protein, and gives muscles their red color.


Nephritis: inflammation of one or both kidneys which may be caused by infection, by abnormal immune responses and by metabolic disorders such as gout.

Neuropathy: disease, inflammation, or damage to the peripheral nerves, which connect the brain and spinal cord, to the sensory organs, muscles, glands, and internal organs. Symptoms of neuropathy include numbness, tingling, pain, or muscle weakness depending on the nerves affected.

Neurotransmitter: a chemical that is released at the end of a nerve cell and serves to transmit messages from one nerve cell to another throughout the body. Acetylcholine,made from choline, is an important neurotransmitter for mental function.

Niacin flush: a reaction usually harmless, that occurs after the ingestion of niacin supplements; a red rash may appear on the skin and a tingling sensation may be experienced as well.

Nitrosamines: substances that may form in the stomach when nitrites(salts added to foods to preserve them) combine with amines. Nitrosamines are carcinogenic in animals.

Norephinephrine:also called noradrenalin, a neurotransmitter and adrenal hormone that constricts blood vessels and raises blood pressure. It is derived from the amino acid tyrosine.

Nucleic acids: substances found in all living matter that provide the inherited,coded instruction (blueprint) for an organism’s development. There are two types:deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA).

Nutraceutical: a food or nutrient-based product designed and/or used for a specific clinical and/or therapeutic purpose.


Omega-3 fatty acids: polyunsaturated fatty acids which may protect the heart by lowering triglycerides and reducing blood clotting. Alpha-linoleic acid is the main omega-3 fatty acid. Eiscosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid are natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids derived from alpha-linoleic acid.

Omega-6 fatty acids: a category of essential fatty acids. Omega-6 essential fatty acids include linoleic acid and gamma-linolenic acids. Omega-6 essential fatty acids are found primarily in raw nuts, seeds, and in unsaturated vegetable oils such as borage oil,grape seed oil, primrose oil, sesame oil, and soybean oil. They are polyunsaturated fatty acids that play a role in relieving pain and inflammation.

Osteoarthritis: a joint disease characterized by a degeneration of the cartilage that lines joints or by bony formations, which leads to pain, stiffness, and occasionally loss of function of the affected joint.

Osteoclast: a cell that destroys bone during growth. Bones are in a constant state of turnover, with bone formation and bone breakdown taking place simultaneously. Osteoclasts are responsible for breaking down bone during this period of bone growth.

Osteomalacia: a bone disease characterized by softening and weakening of the bones often due to a deficiency of vitamin D.

Osteoporosis: a progressive disease in which bones gradually become porous and fragile due to a loss of minerals such as calcium. As the disease progresses changes in posture result increasing the risk for bone fracture.

Oxidative enzyme: a special protein substance that serves as catalyst for the chemical process of oxidation, which involves a substance combining with oxygen.


Parkinson’s disease: a brain disorder caused by a degeneration of or damage to nerve cells within the brain. Parkinson’s disease causes muscle tremor, stiffness, and weakness. The characteristic signs are trembling, a rigid posture, slow movements, and a shuffling, unbalanced walk.

Peptic ulcer: a raw area that occurs in the gastrointestinal tract due to irritation of the lining of the stomach and intestines or from exposure to a bacteria called H. pylori. A peptic ulcer may occur in the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum (the beginning of the small intestine).

Periodontal disease: a disorder of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. A common type of periodontal disease is gingivitis, inflammation of the gums.

pH: the unit of measure used to express the acidity or alkalinity of a substance.

pH neutral: keeping the pH near neutrality (7.4). The body’s metabolic reactions proceed properly when the pH of body fluids is close to neutrality.

Phospholipid: a fat that contains a fatty acid, an alcohol and a phosphorus compound widely distributed in cell membranes in the body. Because phospholipids can dissolve in both water and fat they can help lipids move back and forth across lipid containing membranes. This allows fat soluble substances including fat soluble vitamins and hormones to easily pass in and out of cells. Phospholipids also act as emulsifiers in the body helping to keep fats suspended in the blood and body fluids. Lecithin is aphospholipid.

Photosensitization:a reaction that occurs with certain medications, such astetracycline and herbal supplements such as St. John’s Wort, that causes skin to be particularly sensitive to the sun.

Phytonutrient: any one of many substances derived from plants that have various health-promoting properties.

Pineal gland:an endocrine gland located in the center of the brain regulating many important hormone functions. It is involved in the regulation of blood pressure, body temperature, growth, motor function, the reproductive system, and sleep patterns. It functions mainly in the secretion of melatonin.

Platelet: tiny disc shaped particles in the blood, important in blood clot formation.

Plyometrics: Plyometrics refer to the training method that exploits the muscles’ natural cycle of lengthening and shortening to increase power. Plyometric exercises involve the rapid application of tension as a muscle is being stretched before the muscle can contract to elicit movement. These exercises start with rapid stretching of the muscle (eccentric contraction) followed by a shortening of the same muscle (concentriccontraction). Plyometrics train the nervous system to react quickly to the lengthening of the muscle by rapidly shortening the same muscle with maximum force. This process is called the stretch-shortening cycle and is one of the fastest reflexes in the human body. Plyometrics can be used in power training to increase vertical jump ability.

PMS: Premenstrual Syndrome; the combination of various physical and emotional symptoms that occur in women one to two weeks before menstruation. The most frequent emotional symptoms are irritability, tension, depression, fatigue. Physical symptoms include breast tenderness, fluid retention, headache, backache, and lower abdominal pain.

Proanthocyanidolic oligomers: active plant chemicals that act as powerful antioxidants. They are abundant in grape seed extract.

Protein: essential compounds, made of complex combinations (chains) of amino acids,which form a major part of various body structures including muscle, bone, blood, cell membranes, components of the immune system as well as other body tissues and organs. In the form of enzymes and hormones, proteins are equally important as regulators of body function. Proteins are synthesized in the body from their constituent amino acids, which are obtained from the digestion of protein in the diet. Excess protein not required by the body, can be converted into glucose and used as an energy source.

Provitamin A: a substance used by the body to make vitamin A. Beta carotene is known as pro-vitamin A.


Recommended Dietary Allowances: the amounts of selected nutrients considered adequate to meet the known nutrient needs of practically all healthy people. The RDA’s are based on scientific knowledge to prevent deficiency not to promote optimal health.

Resistance Training:Exercise involving the use of weights and/or specially designed machines for development of strength, power and lean body mass.

Retinol: a form of vitamin A.

Retinopathy: disease involving the retina. Damage to the retina often caused by uncontrolled hypertension or diabetes mellitus.

Rheumatoid arthritis: a type of joint inflammation in which the joints of the fingers, wrists, toes, or other joints in the body become painful, swollen, stiff and in some cases deformed. It is an autoimmune disorder, in which the immune system attacks its own tissues.

Rickets: a childhood disease that affects the bones and is often caused by ad efficiency of vitamin D.

RNA: ribonucleic acid, a chemical that assists in decoding of the inherited coded instructions within a cell.


Sciatica: compression of nerve roots in the spinal area due to a protruding disc between the vertebrae or some other local swelling. Sciatica is characterized by pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve (the primary nerve of the leg and the largest nerve in the body). The pain sometimes extends from the buttocks down the leg to the foot.

Scurvy: a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C.

Sedative: a substance that produces calmness.

Serotonin: a neurotransmitter formed from the amino acid tryptophan that regulates mood, sleep, appetite, and pain. Serotonin is a naturally occurring body chemical that can cause blood vessels to contract.

Shingles: also known as herpes zoster, shingles is an infection of the nerves that supply certain areas of the skin. Shingles causes a painful rash of small, crusting blisters. After the rash heals, pain may persist for months. It is caused by the varicella virus, which also causes chickenpox. During an attack of chickenpox, most of the chicken pox virus is destroyed, but some survive and lie dormant in certain nerves remaining there for years, where it may reoccur as shingles.

Squats:A traditional exercise used in strength and resistance training to develop power and speed. Squats are performed in a position in which the body is supported on the feet and the knees are bent so that the buttocks rest on or near the heels.

SSRI: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are often used in the treatment of depression and some psychiatric disorders. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may include drugs, herbs or other compounds that act to alter levels of serotonin, aneurotransmitter involved in controlling mood.

Standardized: often used to describe herbal products. Standardization of an herbal product means that the product has been processed to guarantee a known minimum level of one or more of the active herbal ingredients. When taking an herbal supplement that is standardized, you will get the same amount of the herbal ingredient in each dose.

Stimulant: any substance that temporarily arouses or accelerates physiological activity of an organ or organ system.

Stroke: damage to part of the brain caused by interruption to its blood supply or leakage of blood outside of blood vessel walls. Sensation, movement, or function controlled by the damaged area is impaired.

return to Top Sublingual: a term that means “beneath the tongue”. Some supplements are sold as sublingual. In some cases this results in better absorption.

Supplementation: To supplement the diet with nutritional supplements such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids,protein, herbs and other nutrients, for the purpose of improving health and fitness.Supplementation during training and competition can improve performance and aid in recovery resulting in enhanced exercise routines. Sublingual: a term that means”beneath the tongue”. Some supplements are sold as sublingual. In some cases this results in better absorption. Synergistic: a term that refers to an action that is created when substances “cooperate” with one another. For example, one ingredient in a supplement could enhance or multiply the effectiveness of another ingredient. Many vitamins have been found to be synergistic.


Tendonitis: inflammation of a tendon, usually caused by injury. Symptoms may include pain, tenderness, and sometimes restricted movement of the muscle attached to the affected tendon.

Testosterone: the anabolic hormone produced primarily in men that is responsible for muscle development and male characteristics such as facial and body hair.

Thermogenesis: a measure of heat generated; used as an index of how much energy the body is using.

Thermogenic: this term means heat producing or fat burning. Thermogenic supplements speed up metabolism, raise core body temperature, and accelerate calorie expenditure.

Thyroid:a gland in the neck that releases hormones for the regulation of growth and metabolism.

Thymus gland: a gland that forms part of the immune system and plays a role in the body’s immune response.

Time-release: method which allows nutrients to dissolve and absorb gradually in the body providing an extended availability that maintains optimal levels of nutrients for a longer period of time.

Tocotrienols: chemically related compounds that have vitamin E activity. Vitamin Eis made up of eight related compounds, four called tocopherols and the other four called tocotrienols. The eight related compounds are nearly identical chemically but have important molecular differences that affect function.

Trace minerals: nutrients essential to the body but found in the human body in very small amounts. Trace minerals include iron zinc, selenium, fluoride, molybdenum, copper,and manganese.

Triceps: the great extensor muscles that run on the backside of the upper arm, from the shoulder to the elbow, and constitute almost two-thirds of the upper arm. The triceps muscle group, which is made up of three small sections, primarily functions to extend the elbow and is helpful in shooting a basketball and throwing or passing a ball.

Triglycerides: the main form of fat in the diet and the major storage form of fat in the body. High levels of triglycerides on the blood are a risk factor for heart disease.

Tumor: an abnormal mass of tissue that forms when cells in a specific area reproduce at an increased rate. Tumors are also known as neoplasms and may be malignant or benign.


Ulcerative colitis: a bowel disease characterized by chronic inflammation and ulceration of the lining of the colon and rectum.

USP: abbreviation for the U.S. Pharmacopoeia. The USP sets standards for quality and purity as well as dissolution and disintegration. USP grade is only applicable towards certain ingredients such as vitamins and minerals and does not apply to herbs or other nutrients.


Varicose veins: a condition where the veins just beneath the skin become twisted and distended/swollen. This is a result of a loss of their ability to return blood effectively back to the heart. This causes blood to pool in the veins, which over time can stretch them permanently, causing pain and fatigue in the muscles served by the veins. The most common sites for varicose veins are the back of the calf and anywhere on the insideof the leg. Often the veins are blue, prominent, swollen and kinked.

Vascular: pertaining to the circulatory system. The circulatory system isresponsible for the continuous flow of blood throughout the body.

Vitamins: Chemicals that are essential for the normal functioning of the body. The body cannot manufacture these substances itself, making it necessary to obtain them from other sources. Vitamins have several important actions on one or more body systems/functions and play a role in health promotion and disease prevention. There are two types of vitamins-water soluble and fat soluble.


Water soluble: a substance that dissolves in water and freely circulates in water filled parts of the body. The B vitamins and vitamin C are water soluble vitamins.


Xerophthalmia: an inflammation of the cornea that is associated with a nutritional deficiency, especially a deficiency of vitamin A. The cornea becomes dry and infected,ulceration may set in and night blindness may occur.


Yeast: a type of fungus. Certain types of yeast can cause infection most commonly in the mouth, vagina, or gastrointestinal tract. Common yeast infections include vaginitisor thrush. This yeast is different from nutritional yeast in which live cells are destroyed leaving beneficial nutrients behind. Nutritional yeast is for human consumption and is often sold as a dietary supplement.

Yohimbe: an herb known for its ability to act as an aphrodisiac.


Zinc: a mineral that is an essential part of more than 100 enzymes involved indigestion metabolism, reproduction and wound healing.

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