a neurotransmitter active both in the brain, where it regulates memory, and in the peripheral nervous system, where it controls the actions of skeletal and smooth muscles
natural substances that help the body adapt to stressful conditions. An adaptogen increases overall resistance and normalizes the body, bringing it back into balance from biological, chemical or physical stress. A number of herbs have been identified as adaptogens, including ashwagandha (Indian ginseng).
Absorbed, Distributed, Metabolized, Eliminated. An acronym describing the sequence of events required for proper assimilation of a nutraceutical, transforming from 1) a solid to a solution that permeates the cell, to 2) circulation throughout the system, to 3) beneficial use, to 4) excretion from the body. This is also described as a nutrient's bioavailability. Better bioavailability starts with formulation in liquid or capsule form for easier absorption. But efficient uptake of a nutraceutical depends on both the formulation and amounts taken. That is why it is important to start with the dosage listed on the label. Especially in multi-component supplements, such as chondroitin and glucosamine which need to function in concert with each other. Body weight is a sometimes a critical factor in determining an effective dosage.
Efficient absorption and bioavailability is attained by reaching for a balance among various factors. A licensed nutritional consultant is knowledgeable in the many different approaches, health concerns and effects of nutraceuticals, and can steer you toward your goal.
are the building blocks of protein in the body. Amino acids make up our proteins and are necessary for life. Essential and conditionally essential amino acids are those amino acids required by the body to function properly and must be obtained in the diet or through supplementation. Non-essential amino acids are synthesized or produced by the body. For in-depth information about amino acids and how they effect our bodies—health, mind, mood, memory, and behavior read the book, Heal with Amino Acids by Drs. Sahley and Birkner.
a structure in the forebrain that is an important component of the limbic system and plays a central role in emotional learning, particularly within the context of fear.
are nutrients that block some of the damage caused by toxic by-products released when the body transforms food into energy or fights off infection. Antioxidants help prevent the oxidation of free radicals -- substances that cause damage to cells. Free radical damage causes the body to age, and impairs the immune system leading to infections, cancer, or degenerative diseases such as heart disease and Alzheimer's disease. Free radical scavengers such as antioxidants, certain enzymes, vitamins, and minerals help keep the damage in check.
Atherosclerosis is a type of arteriosclerosis. It's the term for the process of fatty substances, cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium and fibrin (a clotting material in the blood) building up in the inner lining of an artery. The buildup that results is called plaque. Arteriosclerosis is a general term for the thickening and hardening of arteries. Some hardening of arteries normally occurs when people grow older. See Serrapeptase and Nattokinase.
Adenosine-5'-triphosphate. ATP functions as an energy carrier, transporting chemical energy within cells for metabolism.
the traditional healing system of India, which originated over 5000 years ago. Popular books by Deepak Chopra, M.D., and others have called attention to the potential of this ancient healing system. The literal meaning of Ayurveda is "the knowledge and wisdom of life." Ayurveda assists the body back to optimal health by balancing body and mind through the use of herbs, diet, lifestyle, yoga and meditation, along with ayurvedic cleansing therapies.
Bioavailability is a measurement of the extent of a therapeutically active nutrient that reaches the systemic circulation and is available at the site of action. In other words, the extent to which it is absorbed by the system. Various factors have an influence on bioavailability, such as enzyme interactions with other drugs or with some foods, health of the GI tract, gastric emptying rate, circadian differences, metabolic differences, and disease state.
A tightly sealed, semi permeable layer of cells surrounding the brain's blood vessels that lets in oxygen and other essential nutrients, while working to filter out microbes, toxins, and other substances potentially harmful to the brain.
A group of compounds with active roles in the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. This group includes adrenalin (epinephrin is another name for the same compound) which is a hormone secreted by the adrenal gland, and noradrenalin (norepinephrin is another name). Effects include blood vessel constriction and increase in blood pressure, and increased heart rate. Catecholamines are converted to dopamine in the body. See Tyrosine.
Treatment that can cause unwanted or dangerous interactions when used in individuals with specific conditions or diseases (such as allergies, high blood pressure, or pregnancy) or medical treatments (such as other medications).
Any substance that needs to be present in addition to an enzyme to catalyze a certain reaction. As a catalyst, cofactors will be returned to their original state when the reaction in which they are needed has finished -- they are not consumed in the reaction or permanently converted to something else. Vitamin B6 is a necessary cofactor to any amino acid.
a natural hormone secreted by the adrenal cortex to help our bodies deal with threats by breaking down protein for energy and by suppressing the immune system. Cortisol secretion increases in response to physical trauma or psychological stress and is considered dangerous in situations of long-term stress because of its affect on the body's metabolism of glucose, proteins, and fats.
is a term that refers to the head or top of the body.
a catecholamine neurotransmitter thought to regulate key emotional responses such as reward and plays a role in schizophrenia and drug abuse.
Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
Three important types of reference values of healthy nutrient intake. These are RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance), AI (Adequate Intakes), and UL (Tolerable Upper Intake Levels). The UL value is the maximum daily intake for no adverse health effects. Nutritional experts often recommend using UL as your guide in circumstances that require more of a certain vitamin or nutrient
Enzymes act as natural catalysts that trigger chemical reactions. Read more about Digestive Enzymes + Protease Enzymes >
The body's natural pain killer. A natural opiate, this neurotransmitter is similar to morphine. It is produced in the pituitary gland. It protects against excessive pain, and is released with ACTH into the brain.
Amino acids that are necessary but cannot be manufactured by the body and must be obtained from food or other sources. There are eight aminos that are generally regarded as essential. These are phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, isoleucine, methionine, leucine, and lysine.
Fat Soluble Vitamins
Fat-soluble vitamins -- A, D, E and K -- dissolve in fat before they are absorbed in the blood stream. An excess of these vitamins are stored in the liver. By contrast, water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water and are eliminated in urine. We need a continuous supply of water-soluble vitamins (the B complex group and vitamin C) in our diets.
A food containing additives which provide extra nutritional value. Also called: nutraceutical. A 2010 study reported in the Journal of Nutrition showed that in vitro cells treated with green tea were more resistant to oxidation-induced DNA damage. The researchers concluded " . . . the results provide evidence for green tea as a 'functional food.' "
A type of holistic or alternative medicine that analyzes and treats interdependent systems of the body in seeking a dynamic balance for good health.
The master antioxidant of the cell and the principle antioxidant of the deep lung, Glutathione increases the effectiveness of the body's other antioxidants. It is involved in various reactions such as the destruction of free radicals and the detoxification of harmful compounds. Glutathione is an enzyme that requires the mineral selenium for its production (cofactor). Glutathione can be synthesized from the amino acids glycine, L-glutamate, and L-cysteine (precursors). L-Cysteine and N-Acetyl-cysteine, precursors of glutathione, are also available as dietary supplements.
is a highly systematic, scientific method of therapy based on the principle of stimulating a person's own healing processes (ages 1 to 100) in order to accomplish a cure. Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician devised the basic system about 200 years ago. Homeopathic formulas are often "diluted" anywhere from one time (1X) to twelve (12X). For example, for a liquid homeopathic formula, 1 drop of concentrate is diluted with 99 drops of water. This is 1X. Then 1 drop of new solution is again diluted with 99 drops of water for 2X solution. If it is the right formula, the body responds by decreasing or eliminating the symptom experienced. Homeopathics are gentle, yet powerful formulas, and are can be used by all, age 1 to 100.
A toxic waste product produced during cellular metabolism and a normal byproduct of digestion of meat, fish, dairy and all other animal protein sources. Believed to damage cells that line arteries. A high blood homocysteine level correlates with early, serious heart disease. (High Intake of two B vitamins B-12 and Folate may lower risk by lowering homocysteine levels.)
Substance that takes part in the process of metabolism; used by or produced by enzyme reactions or other metabolic processes.
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) are a class of antidepressant drugs that block the action of monoamine oxidase in the brain, thereby allowing the accumulation of monoamines such as norepinephrine. Aside from the obvious detriment of addiction, use of MAOIs cause a deficiency of neurotransmitters in the brain that creates an array of side effects that could be avoided by using natural supplements instead of drugs. See Tyrosine.
are the chemical language of the brain. . . the chemical messengers that facilitate communication between nerve cells (neurons). Neurotransmitters come from amino acids and are produced by neurons in the cells of the brain.
Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. A group of drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, used to reduce inflammation.
Phytochemicals or phytonutrients
plant- or fruit-derived chemical compounds. Phytonutrients are phytochemicals or compounds that come from edible plants.
Hormones that govern cellular responses, immune functions and hormone synthesis. Anti-inflammatory prostaglandins dilate blood vessels, reduce clotting, lower LDL, and raise HDL cholesterol levels. Pro-inflammatory prostaglandins do the reverse. In the immune response to infection or tissue damage, white blood cells go to work to minimize destruction. Pro-inflammatory prostaglandins are produced as a result, inducing pain, swelling and fever. In a healthy body, anti-inflammatory prostaglandins are produced from dietary ingestion of healthful seed oils such as flaxseed oil, or deep water fish.
Compounds in plants that give foods their color, also known as bioflavonoids, that often work as antioxidants. Bioflavonoids are referred to by their many specific names, including: quercetin, rutin, hesperidin and catechins. Catechins--such as EGCG from green tea--are a type of polyphenol. EGCGs are the antioxidant compounds present in green tea.
a process by which released neurotransmitters are absorbed for later reuse.
serotonin is a brain chemical important for normal nerve and brain function. Serotonin appears to play significant roles in sleep, emotional moods, pain control, inflammation, and other body functions.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. A type of drug that is used to treat depression. SSRIs slow the process by which serotonin is reused by nerve cells that make it. SSRIs inhibit the natural recycling of serotonin, redirecting it to other uses, and thereby depleting the body of this essential neurotransmitter. Use of SSRIs cause a deficiency that creates an array of side effects that could be avoided by using natural supplements instead of drugs. See 5HTP or Mood Sync.
Relating to or affecting the body as a whole (rather than one specific organ or part).