Vitamin Glossary

Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids, Nutrients

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Vitamin Glossary

Postby patoco » Fri Jun 22, 2007 3:01 am

Vitamin, Minerals and Amino Acids Glossary

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Glossary of Vitamins, Minreals, Amino Acids and Terms Related to Nutrition and Body Metabolism

Acetyl-L-Carnitine - Acetyl-L-carnitine is similar in form to the amino acid L-carnitine and also has some similar functions, such as being involved in the metabolism of food into energy. The acetyl group that is part of acetyl-L-carnitine contributes to the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is required for mental function.

Acetylcysteine - Also indexed as: N-Acetyl Cysteine., NAC. NAC helps break down mucus. Double-blind research has found that NAC supplements improved symptoms and prevented recurrences in people with chronic bronchitis.1 2 3 NAC may also protect lung tissue through its antioxidant activity.4

Acidophilus - Also indexed as: Probiotic, Acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium longum, Intestinal Flora, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Saccharomyces boulardii. Probiotic bacteria favorably alter the intestinal microflora balance, inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, promote good digestion, boost immune function, and increase resistance to infection.1 2

People with flourishing intestinal colonies of beneficial bacteria are better equipped to fight the growth of disease-causing bacteria.3 4 Lactobacilli and bifidobacteria maintain a healthy balance of intestinal flora by producing organic compounds—such as lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and acetic acid—that increase the acidity of the intestine and inhibit the reproduction of many harmful bacteria.5 6 Probiotic bacteria also produce substances called bacteriocins, which act as natural antibiotics to kill undesirable microorganisms.7

Vitamin A - Cell differentiation, bone growth, immunity, tooth development, reproduction, healthy skin, hair, mucous membranes and vision. A fat-soluble vitamin needed for the normal functioning of the eyes. It also helps the body resist infection, keeps skin cells moist, and is important in the functioning of the nervous, reproductive and respiratory systems.

The best natural sources are liver—especially fish liver and fish-liver oils—whole milk, cheese and eggs. Vitamin A does not exist in plants. However, leafy green and yellow vegetables and yellow fruits contain a pigment called carotene, which the liver can convert into Vitamin A. Among the best sources of carotene are dandelion and turnip greens, carrots, collards, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes and apricots.

Alanine - Alanine is a nonessential amino acid used by the body to build proteins.

Ascorbic Acid - Also indexed as: Ascorbate, Ascorbic Acid. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that has a number of biological functions.

Acting as an antioxidant, one of vitamin C’s important functions is to protect LDL cholesterol from oxidative damage. (Only when LDL is damaged does cholesterol appear to lead to heart disease, and vitamin C may be one of the most important antioxidant protectors of LDL.)1

Vitamin C may also protect against heart disease by reducing the stiffness of arteries and the tendency of platelets to clump together.2

Arginine - The amino acid arginine has several roles in the body, such as assisting in wound healing, helping remove excess ammonia from the body, stimulating immune function, and promoting secretion of several hormones, including glucagon, insulin, and growth hormone.

B-1 Vitamin B-1 (Thiamine) - Necessary for carbohydrate metabolism. Important for proper myocardial function.

B-2 Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin) - Essential to cellular reproduction. Need increases during periods of wound healing and pregnancy.

B-3 Vitamin B-3 (Niacin) - Needed for tissue respiration and fat synthesis. Niacin requirements increase during periods of stress, acute illness, and low intake of Tryptophan.

B-5 Vitamin B-5 (Pantothenic Acid) - Important for proper metabolism as part of coenzyme-A. Involved in adrenal cortex function. Supports the adrenal glands in producing cortisone in times of stress. Important in metabolizing fats and carbohydrates to release energy. Also important for healthy nerves and skin.

B-6 Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine) - Required by the central nervous system for normal brain function. Needed for synthesis of DNA and RNA. Plays an important role in amino acid, carbohydrate and fat metabolism.

B9 (Folic Acid) - Also indexed as: Folate, Methylfolate, Vitamin B9. Folic acid is a B vitamin needed for cell replication and growth. Folic acid helps form building blocks of DNA, the body’s genetic information, and building blocks of RNA, needed for protein synthesis in all cells. Therefore, rapidly growing tissues, such as those of a fetus, and rapidly regenerating cells, like red blood cells and immune cells, have a high need for folic acid. Folic acid deficiency results in a form of anemia that responds quickly to folic acid supplementation.

B-cells- white blood cells which make antibodies, usually under instructions from the white blood cells called T-cells. B-cells are made in your bone marrow, wither directly or by division of cells originally made there, and so the name "B-cells."

Beta Carotene (Vitamin A) - Cell differentiation, bone growth, immunity, tooth development, reproduction, healthy skin, hair, mucous membranes and vision. A fat-soluble vitamin needed for the normal functioning of the eyes. It also helps the body resist infection, keeps skin cells moist, and is important in the functioning of the nervous, reproductive and respiratory systems. The best natural sources are liver—especially fish liver and fish-liver oils—whole milk, cheese and eggs.

Vitamin A does not exist in plants. However, leafy green and yellow vegetables and yellow fruits contain a pigment called carotene, which the liver can convert into Vitamin A. Among the best sources of carotene are dandelion and turnip greens, carrots, collards, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes and apricots.

Bioflavonoids - Also indexed as: flavonoids. Flavonoids are a class of water-soluble plant pigments. Flavonoids are broken down into categories, though the issue of how to divide them is not universally agreed upon.

One system breaks flavonoids into isoflavones, anthocyanidins, flavans, flavonols, flavones, and flavanones.1 Some of the best-known flavonoids, such as genistein in soy, and quercetin in onions, can be considered subcategories of categories. Although they are all structurally related, their functions are different. Flavonoids also include hesperidin, rutin, citrus flavonoids, and a variety of other supplements.

Biotin - Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, generally classified as a B-complex vitamin. After the initial discovery of biotin, nearly forty years of research were required to establish it as a vitamin Biotin is required by all organisms but can only be synthesized by bacteria, yeasts, molds, algae, and some plant species. Function - In its physiologically active form biotin is attached at the active site of four important enzymes, known as carboxylases. Each carboxylase catalyzes an essential metabolic reaction.

Branched-Chain Amino Acids - Also indexed as: BCAAs, Isoleucine, Leucine, Valine. The branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. BCAAs are considered essential amino acids because human beings cannot survive unless these amino acids are present in the diet.

BCAAs are needed for the maintenance of muscle tissue and appear to preserve muscle stores of glycogen (a storage form of carbohydrate that can be converted into energy).1 BCAAs also help prevent muscle protein breakdown during exercise.2

Carminative- plants that are rich in aromatic volatile oils. They stimulate the digestive system to work properly and with ease; soothe the gut wall; reduce any inflammation that might be present; ease gripping pains, and help with the removal of gas from the digestive tract.

Carnitine - Also indexed as: Propionyl-L-Carnitine, L-Carnitine. L-carnitine is made in the body from the amino acids lysine and methionine, and is needed to release energy from fat. It transports fatty acids into mitochondria, the powerhouses of cells. In infancy, and in situations of high energy needs, such as pregnancy and breast-feeding, the need for L-carnitine can exceed production by the body. Therefore, L-carnitine is considered a "conditionally essential" nutrient.1

Carotenoid - a class of very important antioxidants produced by plants which protects them from damage caused by singlet and triplet oxygen and free radicals produced during photosynthesis. Carotenoids also provide protection from UV damage and can prevent the development of cancer in experimental animals. They are usually colored bright yellow, orange or red. Carotenoids make carrots orange, and fall leaves a beautiful array of colors.

Chelation - the process of forming a closely associated complex with a metal in which the metal is surrounded by and multiply bound to part of an organic structure, thereby usually altering both the chemical reactivity and transport properties of the metal.

Chromium - Also indexed as: Glucose Tolerance Factor (GTF Chromium). Chromium is an essential trace mineral that helps the body maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Citric Acid Cycle - (also called the Kreb's Cycle and the Tricarboxylic Acid cycle) - this cycle stores energy, released by the oxidation of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in foodstuffs, in high energy phosphate bonds of ATP. About 90 percent of the energy released from food occurs in the Citric Acid Cycle. In the process, a series of acids are oxidized to release the energy used in forming high-energy. ATP phosphate bonds, plus carbon dioxide and water. ATP is life's universal energy supply.

Coenzyme- an enzyme activator. A diffusible, heat-stable substance of low molecular weight that, when combined with an inactive protein called apoenzyme, forms an active compound or a complete enzyme called holoenzyme.

Complement - a system of protein molecules produced by the immune system which kills antibody-tagged foreign cells by making holes in their cell membranes.

Controls- a technique used to evaluate experimental treatments by having two groups of experimental subjects, on to receive treatment, and one subjected to the same conditions but not given the treatment. This way, scientists can find out whether effects they are seeing are due to treatment or some other experimental condition. Non-controlled experiments are considered very difficult to evaluate because of the absence of controls with which to compare treated subjects.

Copper - Copper is an essential trace element present in the diet and in the human body. It is needed to absorb and utilize iron. It is also part of the antioxidantenzyme, superoxide dismutase (SOD). Copper is needed to make adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy the body runs on. Synthesis of some hormones requires copper, as does the synthesis of collagen (the "glue" that holds connective tissue together). In addition, the enzyme, tyrosinase, which plays a role in the production of skin pigment, requires copper to function.

Cross-linking- an oxidation reaction in which indesirable bonds form between nucleic acids. (RNA and DNA, the genetic blueprint material) or between proteins, often as links between sulfut atoms called disulfide bonds, or between lipids or any combination thereof. The links may be between different proteins or nucleic acids or lipids or between parts of the same protein or nucleic acid or lipid. The result is that the molecule cannot assume the correct shape for proper functioning. Some cross-links are required in proteins for rigidity and structural strength. However, cross-links of an inappropriate, undesired nature form throughout life.

Cystathionine - an intermediate compound in the metabolism of methionine to cysteine.

Cysteine- (as in cysteine hydrochloride) a sulfur containing amino acid found in many proteins. Valuable as a source of sulfur in metabolism.

Cysteine is a nonessential amino acid (protein building block), meaning that cysteine can be made in the human body. Cysteine is one of the few amino acids that contains sulfur. This allows cysteine to bond in a special way and maintain the structure of proteins in the body. Cysteine is a component of the antioxidantglutathione. The body also uses cysteine to produce taurine, another amino acid.

Cytokines- chemical messengers that are involved in the regulation of almost every system in the body and are important in controlling local and systemic inflammatory response.
Dehydroascorbic acid-toxic oxidized from of vitamin C (ascorbic acid); it is a pro-oxidant rather than antioxidant.

Diastolic - the part of the heartbeat cycle during which blood pressure is lowest, when the heart is relaxed; if you have a blood pressure of 115/70, 70 is your diastolic blood pressure.

Diastolic pressure- the period of least pressure in the arterial vascular system.

Differentiation -a genetic clock program of cellular development with time. Cells begin with the ability to turn into many different tissue types; through the process of differentiation, they become more and more specialized in function and generally retain the properties of cells of a specific type of tissue.

Diffusion - a passive form of random movement in which areas of high chemical concentration gradually spread throughout an entire system, equalizing the chemical concentration over the system. For example, the exchange of gases in the lungs occurs by simple diffusion across capillary walls.

Dimethylbenzanthracene - a type of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon, a tarry carcinogenic substance produced during the combustion of fuels.

Dimethylbenzanthracene -a type of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon, a tarry carcinogenic substance produced during the combustion of fuels.

Disulfide bond - a sulfur to sulfur bond found in both normal and abnormal cross-linked proteins, bonding a protein to parts of the same molecule of to other molecules. These bonds provide the three dimensional structure of molecule containing them. Latex is vulcanized to form rubber by the controlled formation of disulfide bonds.

Double blind -a technique used in modern scientific research to separate facts from the hopes and wishes of both scientists and experimental subjects. A treatment which is to be tested is administered by scientists who do not know whether they are using the active treatment or the inactive placebo. The experimental subjects don't know which is which, wither. The test results are evaluated by scientists who also do not know which group received the active treatment and which the placebo. At the end of the experiment, the secret code is broken, and the responses of the subjects to the real experimental treatment are compared with their responses to the placebo.

Electrolyte - ionized salts in blood, tissue fluids and cells including salts of sodium and potassium.

Endorphins - natural opiates produced in the brain which function as the body's own natural painkillers.

Enkephalin - a chemical substance produced in the brain which acts as an opiate and produces analgesia to increase the threshold for pain.

Enzyme - any one of the numerous complex proteins that are produced by living cells and catalyze specific biochemical reactions.

Epoxide -a very reactive oxidized form of organic compound, in which two carbon atoms are bonded both to each other and to a single oxygen atom in an organic molecule. For example, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon epoxides and cholesterol epoxides are carcinogenic and mutagenic.

Epoxides are excellent cross-linkers, and this reaction is catalyzed by free radicals; this is what happens when you mix epoxy resin and catalyst-the pastes of liquids cross-link to form a hard solid.

Essential fatty acids (EFA) - unsaturated fatty acids (linoleic, linolenic, and arachidonic) which cannot be synthesized in the body and are considered essential for maintaining health.

Esters - the class of organic compounds formed in the reaction of an alcohol and an acid, by the elimination of water. Amyl acetate, the principal aroma note in bananas, is an ester, as are many fruity and floral scents.

Fat - adipose tissue of the body which serves as an energy reserve. Also, in chemistry, a term used to describe one of a group of organic compounds of fatty acids.

Free radical - molecules containing an odd number of electrons resulting in an open bond or half bond, making them highly reactive and as a result, potentially destructive.

Gaba-gamma aminobutyric acid - GABA is an amino acid which functions as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system.
Glucose- blood sugar; an intermediate in the metabolism of carbohydrates in the body.

Glutamate or glutamic acid - an excitatory amino acid neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Glutamic acid (glutamate) is an amino acid used by the body to build proteins. Glutamate is the most common excitatory (stimulating) neurotransmitter in the central nervous system.

Glutamine - Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid (protein building block) in the body and is involved in more metabolic processes than any other amino acid. Glutamine is converted to glucose when more glucose is required by the body as an energy source. It serves as a source of fuel for cells lining the intestines. Without it, these cells waste away. It is also used by white blood cells and is important for immune function.

Glutathione peroxidase - selenium - and - cysteine - containing enzyme which, with the required help of reduced glutathione, catalyzes the breakdown of peroxides, while controlling the potentially dangerous free radicals. It also directly scavenges free radicals.

Glycine - aminoacetic acid the simplest amino acid. It is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Glycine is a nonessential amino acid used by the body to build proteins. It is present in considerable amounts in prostate fluid.

Glycogen - glycogen is the form in which carbohydrates are stored in the human body for future conversion into sugar and for use in performing muscular work and distributing heat through the body. Glycogen is formed from sugar and is transformed into glucose as needed.

Glycoproteins- proteins combined with sugar.

HDL cholesterol - a cholesterol-poor, protein-rich lipoprotein of blood plasma associated with a reduced risk of atherosclerosis.

HDL-high density lipoproteins - a fat-transporting fraction of blood higher levels of which are believed to be associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

Hepatic - hepatics aid the liver by toning and strengthening it and in some cases increasing the flow of bile. They are fundamental in maintaining health because of the important role the liver plays by not only facilitating digestion but also removing toxins from the body.

Hepatoxic - any substance which is toxic to the liver.

5-HIAA-5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid - a breakdown product of the neurotransmitter serotonin. 5-HTP is used by the human body to make serotonin, an important substance for normal nerve and brain function. Serotonin appears to play significant roles in sleep, emotional moods, pain control, inflammation, intestinal peristalsis, and other body functions.1

Histidine - Histidine is called a semi-essential amino acid (protein building block) because adults generally produce adequate amounts but children may not. Histidine is also a precursor of histamine, a compound released by immune system cells during an allergic reaction.

Histamine - a substance produced by the body during an allergic reaction.

Histone - a basic protein associated with nucleic acids. Histones are important parts of the DNA control system, suppressing the expression of or causing the expression of specific parts of the DNA blueprints in conjunction with other nucleoproteins.

Hydroxyl radicals - a particularly reactive, damaging type of free radical, formed when superoxide radicals react with hydrogen peroxide.

Hydroxyl radicals are thought to be the principal damaging agent to joint membranes in arthritis. X-rays do most of their damage via hydroxyl radicals. Hydroxyl radicals can attack and damage any molecule in your body.

Hypoxia - a condition of oxygen deficiency (but not total absence) in part or all of the body. Under conditions of hypoxia, free radical production is often greatly stimulated.

IgA - an antibody in the colon that binds food and bacterial antigens.

Inhibitory neurotransmitter - decreases in activity of neurons; examples are GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid), serotonin, and glycine.

Inositol - Inositol is part of the vitamin B-complex. It is required for proper formation of cell membranes. Inositol affects nerve transmission and helps in transporting fats within the body. Inositol differs from inositol hexaniacinate, a form of vitamin B3.

Insulin - a hormone secreted by the pancreas essential for the metabolism of carbohydrates and used in the treatment and control of diabetes.

Interferon - a group of proteins released by white blood cells that combat a virus.

Interleukin-1- a compound produced by the body in response to infection, inflammation, or other immunologic challenges.

Iodine - Iodine is a trace mineral needed to make thyroid hormones, which are necessary for maintaining normal metabolism in all cells of the body.

Reports suggest that iodine may have a number of other important functions in the body unrelated to thyroid function that might help people with a wide variety of conditions.1 These other uses for iodine are only supported by minimal research.

Iron - Also indexed as: Ferrous Sulfate. Iron is an essential mineral. It is part of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying component of the blood. Iron-deficient people tire easily in part because their bodies are starved for oxygen. Iron is also part of myoglobin, which helps muscle cells store oxygen. Without enough iron, adenosine triphosphate (ATP; the fuel the body runs on) cannot be properly synthesized. As a result, some iron-deficient people become fatigued even when their hemoglobin levels are normal (i.e., when they are not anemic).

Isoleucine - Also indexed as: BCAAs, Isoleucine, Leucine, Valine. The branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. BCAAs are considered essential amino acids because human beings cannot survive unless these amino acids are present in the diet.

BCAAs are needed for the maintenance of muscle tissue and appear to preserve muscle stores of glycogen (a storage form of carbohydrate that can be converted into energy).1 BCAAs also help prevent muscle protein breakdown during exercise.2

Vitamin K - Also indexed as: Phylloquinone, Phytonadione, Vitamin K. Vitamin K is needed for proper bone formation and blood clotting. In both cases, vitamin K does this by helping the body transport calcium. Vitamin K is used by doctors when treating an overdose of the drug warfarin. Also, doctors prescribe vitamin K to prevent excessive bleeding in people taking warfarin but requiring surgery.

Ketoacidosis- excessive acidity of body fluids due to an excess of ketones.

Ketone- an organic chemical derived by the oxidation of alcohol.
Lactose intolerant- an intolerance to milk and some dairy products, characterized by gastrointestinal symptoms.

Laxative- a substance which promotes bowel movements. Laxatives are divided into those that work by providing bulk, those that stimulate the production of bile in the liver and its release from the gallbladder, and those which directly trigger peristalsis.

Leucine - Also indexed as: BCAAs, Isoleucine, Leucine, Valine. The branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. BCAAs are considered essential amino acids because human beings cannot survive unless these amino acids are present in the diet.

BCAAs are needed for the maintenance of muscle tissue and appear to preserve muscle stores of glycogen (a storage form of carbohydrate that can be converted into energy).1 BCAAs also help prevent muscle protein breakdown during exercise.2

LDL cholesterol- a cholesterol-rich, protein-poor blood plasma correlated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis.

LDL-low density lipoproteins- a fraction of blood associated with an increased risk of heart disease and, possibly, cancer.
Lipids- liquid fats.

Lipid soluble- dissolves in fats or oils.

Lipofuscin- a yellow-brown pigmented waste material deposited in many nerve and skin cells, where it is believed to interfere with cellular metabolism. Lipofuscin is made up of cross-linked, peroxidized lipids and cross-linked proteins. Lipofuscin deposits in skin are colloquially called "age spots" or "liver spots".

Lipopigments- aging pigments: lipofuscin, ceroid, and amyloid.
Lipoproteins- proteins composed of a simple protein and a fat component that carry fats in the blood.

Lycopene - Lycopene, found primarily in tomatoes, is a member of the carotenoid family—which includes beta-carotene and similar compounds found naturally in food—and has potent antioxidant capabilities.

Lysosomes- special digestive structures in cells, containing powerful tissue-dissolving enzymes and subsequent tissue damage.

Magnesium - Magnesium is an essential mineral to the human body. It is needed for bone, protein, and fatty acid formation, making new cells, activating B vitamins, relaxing muscles, clotting blood, and forming adenosine triphosphate (ATP; the energy the body runs on). The secretion and action of insulin also require magnesium.

Manganese - Manganese is an essential trace mineral needed for healthy skin, bone, and cartilage formation, as well as glucose tolerance. It also helps activate superoxide dismutase (SOD)—an important antioxidant enzyme.

Medium Chain Triglycerides - Also indexed as: MCT. Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) are a class of fatty acids. Their chemical composition is of a shorter length than the long-chain fatty acids present in most other fats and oils, which accounts for their name. They are also different from other fats in that they have a slightly lower calorie content1 and they are more rapidly absorbed and burned as energy, resembling carbohydrate more than fat.2

Metabolism- the transformation in the body of the chemical energy of foodstuffs to mechanical energy or heat. membrane stabilizers- compounds which can protect cellular membranes from damage. Some examples are vitamin E, PABA, inositol and hydrocortisone.

Methionine- a sulfur-bearing compound, an essential amino acid.

Methionine is one of the essential amino acids (building blocks of protein), meaning that it cannot be produced by the body, and must be provided by the diet. It supplies sulfur and other compounds required by the body for normal metabolism and growth. Methionine also belongs to a group of compounds called lipotropics, or chemicals that help the liver process fats (lipids). Others in this group include choline, inositol, and betaine (trimethylglycine).

Mitochondria- structures in cells that act as power plants. Mitochondria oxidize food to water, carbon dioxide, and energy. This energy is used by the mitochondria to convert low energy ADP (adenosine diphosphate) to high energy ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the cell's universal energy molecule. Free radicals are a normal and essential part of mitochondrial oxidation, but dangerous if the escape from the protective control systems in the mitochondria.

Mixed function oxidase-an enzyme system in the liver mitochondria (and to lesser extent in mitochondria in other cells) which detoxifies many poisons by altering them chemically. Some foods, such as brussels sprouts, activate this system.

Molybdenum - Molybdenum is an essential trace mineral needed for the proper function of certain enzyme-dependent processes, including the metabolism of iron.

Monamine oxidase (MAO)-an enzyme which, in the brain, degrades certain neurotransmitters (such as serotonin, dopamine and nor- epinephrine). In aging brains, these neurotransmitters may decline in concentration or receptors may be lost or develop insensitivity to them.

Monamine oxidase inhibitors are sometimes used as anti- depressants. By reducing the degradation of neurotransmitters, their concentrations can be increased. Examples of monamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors are isocarboxazid, phenelzine, and tranyl- cyrpomine.

Monounsaturated fat - a fat which contains a single carbon to carbon double bond. This double bond can react more readily with oxygen in a free radical reaction than the single bonds. Most monounsatu-rated fats are more similar to saturated fats than polyunsaturated fats in their ease of free radical autoxidation (the process that causes rancidity.)

N-Acetyl Cysteine - Also indexed as: Acetylcysteine, NAC. N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is an altered form of the amino acid cysteine, which is commonly found in food and synthesized by the body.

NaPCA-the sodium salt of pyrollidone carboxylic acid, the primary natural moisturizer found in human skin.

NE-see norepinephrine.

Nervine- nervines help the nervous system and can be subdivided into three groups. Nervine tonics strengthen and restore the nervous system. Nervine relaxants ease anxiety and tension by soothing both body and mind. Nervine stimulants directly stimulate nerve activity.

Neurites- thin tendrils growing from each neuron inn the brain in large numbers, through which the neurons communicate with each other. There may be over 1000,000 neurites growing from a single neuron. The natural hormone nerve growth factor (NGF) stimulates growth of neurites (required for learning). Hydergine R (Sandoz) may also stimulate neurite growth via the same mechanism as nerve growth factor.

Neurochemical- a chemical found in and active in the nervous system.

Neurotransmitters- substances that transmit nerve impulses to the brain.

NGF - nerve growth factor, a hormone important in the growth of nerves.

Niacin - a form of vitamin B-3, also called nicotinic acid. The body uses the water-soluble vitamin B3 in the process of releasing energy from carbohydrates. It is needed to form fat from carbohydrates and to process alcohol. The niacin form of vitamin B3 also regulates cholesterol, though niacinamide does not. Also indexed as: Inositol Hexaniacinate, Niacin, Niacinamide, Nicotinamide, Nicotinic Acid.

Vitamin B3 comes in two basic forms—niacin (also called nicotinic acid) and niacinamide (also called nicotinamide). A variation on niacin, called inositol hexaniacinate, is also available in supplements. Since it has not been linked with any of the usual niacin toxicity in scientific research, some doctors recommend inositol hexaniacinate for people who need large amounts of niacin.

Nitrosamines- cancer causing chemicals formed by the chemical combination of nitrites and amines (found in proteins and many other organic molecules). Some bacteria make nitrites in the gut, even in the absence of dietary nitrite or nitrate. The formation of nitrosamines can be blocked by vitamin C.

Ornithine - Also indexed as: L-ornithine-L-aspartate, OA, Ornithine-aspartate. Ornithine, an amino acid, is manufactured by the body when another amino acid, arginine, is metabolized during the production of urea (a constituent of urine).

Oxidants- substances that cause oxidation.

Oxidation- a type of chemical reaction in which an electron is attracted away from the oxidized entity. Oxygen is the most familiar oxidizer.

Oxidized cholesterol- see oxysterol.

Oxygenation- to supply or combine with oxygen.

Oxysterol- when cholesterol combines with oxygen and becomes oxidized, is then known as oxysterol.

Ozone-an excited, highly oxidized form of oxygen; its formula is O3. It attacks a wide variety of organic molecules, particularly lipids, often producing free radicals in the process.

Pantothenic Acid - Also indexed as: Calcium Pantothenate, Pantethine, Vitamin B5. Pantothenic acid, also called vitamin B5, is a water-soluble vitamin involved in the Kreb’s cycle of energy production and is needed to make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. It is also essential in producing, transporting, and releasing energy from fats. Synthesis of cholesterol (needed to manufacture vitamin D and steroid hormones) depends on pantothenic acid. Pantothenic acid also activates the adrenal glands.1 Pantethine—a byproduct of pantothenic acid—has been reported to lower blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.

Peptide- a substance formed by two or more amino acids.

Pantothenic Acid - Pantothenic acid, also called vitamin B5, is a water-soluble vitamin involved in the Kreb’s cycle of energy production and is needed to make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. It is also essential in producing, transporting, and releasing energy from fats.

Synthesis of cholesterol (needed to manufacture vitamin D and steroid hormones) depends on pantothenic acid. Pantothenic acid also activates the adrenal glands.1 Pantethine—a byproduct of pantothenic acid—has been reported to lower blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.

Peroxidase- an enzyme which catalyzes the breakdown of peroxides in the body.

Peroxides- highly oxidized compounds like hydrogen peroxide (H-O-O-H), which not only oxidize lipids directly but in so doing create free radicals which spread in a chain reaction until stopped (quenched) by enzymes like peroxidases, catalases, and superoxide dismutase or by antioxidants like vitamin E and BHT.

Peroxidized-a chemical which has been oxidized, so that a peroxide, (relative of hydrogen peroxide, H-O-O-H) forms. Unsaturated fats (lipids) in the body are particularly susceptible to peroxidation.
PGI2-see prostacyclin.

PH balance- a method of measurement used in chemistry to express the degree of acidity or alkalinity of a solution. A pH of 7 represents the neutral point where the solution is neither acid nor alkaline. Any higher alkalinity is expressed by a number greater than 7, and higher acidity, by a number less than 7. The calculations of these numbers are based on logarithms.

Phenylalanine - Also indexed as: D,L-Phenylalanine, DLPA, DPA, L-Phenylalanine, LPA. L-phenylalanine (LPA) serves as a building block for the various proteins that are produced in the body. LPA can be converted to L-tyrosine (another amino acid) and subsequently to L-dopa, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. LPA can also be converted (through a separate pathway) to phenylethylamine, a substance that occurs naturally in the brain and appears to elevate mood.

D-phenylalanine (DPA) is not normally found in the body and cannot be converted to L-tyrosine, L-dopa, or norepinephrine. As a result, DPA is converted primarily to phenylethylamine (the potential mood elevator). DPA also appears to influence certain chemicals in the brain that relate to pain sensation.

DLPA is a mixture of LPA and its mirror image DPA. DLPA (or the D- or L-form alone) has been used to treat depression.1 2 DPA may be helpful for some people with Parkinson’s disease3 and has been used to treat chronic pain—including pain from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis—with both positive4 and negative5 results. No research has evaluated the effectiveness of DLPA on rheumatoid arthritis.

Phenylpropanolamine - Also indexed as: D,L-Phenylalanine, DLPA, DPA, L-Phenylalanine, LPA - a chemical closely resembling amphetamine which is used in some over-the counter appetite control products.

Although it has milder side effects that amphetamine, phenylpropanolamine can, after prolonged use, cause depletion of brain norepinephrine (NE) and possible depression. Phenylalanine is a natural precursor to NE, and its use as an appetite inhibitor does not result in NE depletion.

L-phenylalanine (LPA) serves as a building block for the various proteins that are produced in the body. LPA can be converted to L-tyrosine (another amino acid) and subsequently to L-dopa, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. LPA can also be converted (through a separate pathway) to phenylethylamine, a substance that occurs naturally in the brain and appears to elevate mood

Placebo- substances having no pharmacological effect.

Plaque- a localized abnormal patch on a body part or surface.

Plasma- the liquid part of the lymph and of the blood.

Plasma lipids- fats in the bloodstream.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)- compounds found in combustion tars, created in the burning of nearly all fuels, which are metabolically activated (especially in the liver) to a mutagenic and carcinogenic form. These are probably the most important human chemical carcinogens and are suspected of being responsible for many of human cancers other than solar ultraviolet induced skin cancers. Tobacco smoke is by far the most important source of humans. They are also found in relatively large quantities on charcoal broiled meats.

Polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons- PAH, same as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Polypeptide- a molecule resulting from the union of two or more amino acids.

Polyunsaturated fats- fats containing two or more sets of double bonds between some of their carbon atoms; these bonds are susceptible to autoxidation attack by oxygen and free radicals, which converts polyunsaturated fats to carcinogenic, immune suppressive, clot promoting cross-linking peroxidized fats. Antioxidants can protect these polyunsaturated fats from such chemical attacks. The more unsaturated (the more double bonds), the more readily autoxidized.

Potassium - Potassium is an essential mineral needed to regulate water balance, levels of acidity, blood pressure, and neuromuscular function. This mineral also plays a critical role in the transmission of electrical impulses in the heart.

People with low blood levels of potassium who are undergoing heart surgery are at an increased risk of developing heart arrhythmias and an increased need for cardiopulmonary resuscitation.1 Potassium is also required for carbohydrate and protein metabolism.

Primary antioxidant- an antioxidant which blocks formation of peroxides by scavenging free radicals. Examples are vitamins A, C, E, B-1, B-5, B-6, cysteine, zinc, and selenium.

Probiotics- substances that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines.

Progesterone- a steroid hormone responsible for the changes in the endometrium in the second half of the menstrual cycle preparatory for implantation, development of maternal placenta, and the development of mammary glands. Used to treat menstrual disorders, among other problems.

Prolactin-a hormone released by the pituitary gland which has several functions, including stimulating milk production.

Prophylactic- as a preventive.

Prostacyclin- the prostaglandin hormone PGI2, a natural hormone made by normal artery wall lining cells (intima) to inhibit the formation of abnormal blood clots. Peroxidized lipids can block prostacyclin manufacture, thus fostering the development of blood clots.

Prostaglandin E-Z- hormone-like fatty acids, biologically active unsaturated fatty acids.

Proteases- enzymes which break down proteins. An example is bromelain, found in raw pineapple. Some proteases have been found to stimulate the immune system.

Protein- complex nitrogenous compounds that occur naturally in plants and animals and yield amino acids. Essential for the growth and repair of animal tissue.

Pyridoxine - Also indexed as: PLP, Pyridoxal-5’-Phosphate, Pyridoxine, Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is the master vitamin for processing amino acids—the building blocks of all proteins and some hormones. Vitamin B6 helps to make and take apart many amino acids and is also needed to make the hormones, serotonin, melatonin, and dopamine.

Vitamin B6 aids in the formation of several neurotransmitters and is therefore an essential nutrient in the regulation of mental processes and possibly mood.

Receptors-special biological structures found on cells where active molecules such as hormones, enzymes, and neurotransmitters are attached to the cell surface. The cell then responds to the presence of the chemical in the receptor. Loss of and/or damage to receptors is one important event in aging.

Reduction- a chemical reaction in which an electron is donated to the reduced entity.

Regeneration- regrowth of lost body cells, tissues, organs, and limbs.

Renal insufficiency- the reduced capacity of the kidney to perform its functions.

Retinoid- a substance closely related chemically to vitamin A. (Vitamin A is retinoic acid and its esters, or retinyl alcohol.) Retinoids regulate growth of epithelial cells (skin, lung, and gut) and are often powerful antioxidants and cancer preventing agents. The early stages of some epithelial cancers can be converted back into normal tissue by some retinoids. Retinoids are also chemically closely related to and made from carotenoids.

Riboflavin - Vitamin B2 is a water-soluble vitamin needed to process amino acids and fats, activate vitamin B6 and folic acid, and help convert carbohydrates into the fuel the body runs on—adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Under some conditions, vitamin B2 can act as an antioxidant.

RNA-ribonucleic acid, which carries instructions from DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) in the nucleus to cell polyribosomes, where proteins are made according to the RNA instructions copied from the DNA master version of the cell's blueprints.

Saturated fats- fats containing no carbon-to-carbon double bonds; these fats are less susceptible to autoxidation (conversion to a peroxidized, immune-suppressive, clot promoting, carcinogenic form) than are polyunsaturated fats.

Secondary antioxidant- an antioxidant which can break down already formed peroxides, and can also block their formation. An example is the food additive thiodipropionic acid.

Secretory IgA- promoting secretion or secreting immunoglobulin gamma A.

Selenium - Selenium is an essential trace mineral.

Selenium activates an antioxidant enzyme called glutathione peroxidase, which may help protect the body from cancer. Yeast-derived forms of selenium have induced “apoptosis” (programmed cell death) in cancer cells in test tubes and in animals.1 2 3 A double-blind trial that included over 1,300 people found those given 200 mcg of yeast-based selenium per day for 4.5 years had a 50% drop in the cancer death rate compared with the placebo group.4 In that same study, however, selenium supplementation was associated with a significant increase in the risk of developing one type of skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma).5 Another study found that men consuming the most dietary selenium (assessed indirectly by measuring toenail selenium levels) developed 65% fewer cases of advanced prostate cancer than did men with the lowest levels of selenium intake.6

Serotonin- an inhibitory neurotransmitter required for sleep; its natural precursor is the essential amino acid tryptophan, found in relatively large quantities in bananas and milk.

Serum cholesterol- cholesterol circulating in the blood.

Singlet oxygen- an activated, energetic, reactive form of oxygen, which is produced bye the reaction of ultraviolet light with oxygen in the skin, as well as in other chemical reactions. Singlet oxygen can damage important macromolecules such as DNA. Singlet oxygen quenchers include beta-carotene (gives carrots their yellow color), which is pro-vitamin A, converted in the body to vitamin A on demand.

Soy - Also indexed as: Daidzein, Genistein, Glycine Max, Isoflavone, Protein [Soy], Soya. Soy, a staple food in many Asian countries, contains valuable constituents, including protein, isoflavones, saponins, and phytosterols. Soy protein provides essential amino acids. When eaten with rice, soy provides protein comparable with that found in animal products. Soy is low in fat and cholesterol-free.

The isoflavones in soy, primarily genistein and daidzein, have been well researched by scientists for their antioxidant and phytoestrogenic properties.1 Saponins enhance immune function and bind to cholesterol to limit its absorption in the intestine. Phytosterols and other components of soy have been reported to lower cholesterol levels.

Sulfhydryl- a sulfur atom bonded to a hydrogen atom is a sulfhydryl group. A sulfhydryl compound contains one or more sulfhydryl groups. Examples include vitamin B-1, the amino acid cysteine, and the triple amino acid reduced glutathione.

Superoxide dismutase (SOD)- a zinc and copper or manganese containing enzyme which reacts with superoxide radicals to convert them to less dangerous chemical entities. It is the fifth most common protein in the human body. All organisms not killed by air contain SOD. Intracellular cytoplasmic SOD generally contains zinc and copper, while mitochondrial SOD contain manganese.

Superoxide radical- a free radical thought to play a central rose in arthritis, cancer promotion, and cataract formation. Our major intracellular (inside of cells) defense against them is the enzyme superoxide dismutase.

Sutura- thin fibrous membrane which unites the bony surfaces of the skull.

Synapse- the gap between nerve cells. One nerve cell stimulates another one to fire an electric pulse by secreting special chemicals called neurotransmitters into the synapse between the cells.

Systemic- throughout the body.

Systolic blood pressure- the period of greatest pressure in the arterial vascular system.

Taurine - Taurine is an amino acid-like compound and a component of bile acids, which are used to help absorb fats and fat-soluble vitamins. Taurine also helps regulate the heart beat, maintain cell membrane stability, and prevent brain cell over-activity.

Thiamine – Vitamin B1. Vitamin B1 is is a water-soluble vitamin needed to process carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Every cell of the body requires vitamin B1 to form the fuel the body runs on—adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Nerve cells require vitamin B1 in order to function normally.

Thiol- a sulfhydryl compound. An example is vitamin B-1 (thiamine).

Tonic- often used in traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, tonics are often taken as a preventative measure to nurture and enliven.

Toxic- poisonous. Toxic effects of a substance are dependent on the dose. At sufficiently high doses, air, water, anything, even the inert gas helium, is toxic. (High pressure helium causes lethal convulsions even when adequate oxygen is present.)

Transformation- the process whereby a normal cell turns into a cancer cell. This process involves cellular de different action.

Tricarboxylic Acid Cycle- See Citric Acid Cycle.

Triglycerides- a combination of glycerol with three to five different fatty acids.

Triplet oxygen- oxygen in an excited electronic state in which the oxygen atom has two single electrons in two high energy orbitals with their spins in the same direction. Because of the unpaired electrons, triplet oxygen is even more highly reactive than singlet oxygen, and can cause biological damage. Under physiological conditions, triplet oxygen very rapidly decays to somewhat less energetic singlet oxygen. Beta-carotene and other carotenoids quench both triplet and cited triplet state (it has two unpaired electrons), which is why it is both a good free radical initiator and scavenger.

Tyrosine - L-Tyrosine - L-tyrosine is a nonessential amino acid (protein building block) that the body synthesizes from phenylalanine, another amino acid. Tyrosine is important to the structure of almost all proteins in the body. It is also the precursor of several neurotransmitters, including L-dopa, dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine.

Uric acid- a chemical formed in the body during the metabolic breakdown of RNA, caffeine, and related substances by the enzyme xanthine oxidase. Uric acid or sodium hydrogen urate crystals precipitating into joints and kidneys can cause gout, with severe pain and possibly even permanent damage.

Valine - Also indexed as: BCAAs, Isoleucine, Leucine, Valine. The branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. BCAAs are considered essential amino acids because human beings cannot survive unless these amino acids are present in the diet.

Vanadium - Vanadium is an ultra-trace mineral found in the human diet and the human body. It is essential for some animals. Deficiency symptoms in these animals include growth retardation, bone deformities, and infertility. However, vanadium has not been proven to be an essential mineral for humans.

Vitamin A - Cell differentiation, bone growth, immunity, tooth development, reproduction, healthy skin, hair, mucous membranes and vision. A fat-soluble vitamin needed for the normal functioning of the eyes. It also helps the body resist infection, keeps skin cells moist, and is important in the functioning of the nervous, reproductive and respiratory systems. The best natural sources are liver—especially fish liver and fish-liver oils—whole milk, cheese and eggs.

Vitamin A does not exist in plants. However, leafy green and yellow vegetables and yellow fruits contain a pigment called carotene, which the liver can convert into Vitamin A. Among the best sources of carotene are dandelion and turnip greens, carrots, collards, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes and apricots.

Beta carotene is one of a group of substances called carotenoids which are converted to vitamin A in the intestinal wall and the liver, as the body requires. About 30 of the more than 600 carotenoids which have been identified can be converted to vitamin A in the human body. Beta carotene is the best known of the carotenoids as it has high pro-vitamin A activity and is abundant in many foods. Other carotenoids include lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-cryptoxanthin, lycopene and alpha carotene.

The beneficial effects of beta carotene are partly due to its conversion to vitamin A but it also has potent activity of its own. Beta carotene is an antioxidant. One molecule of beta carotene can wipe out up to 1000 free radicals and may also prevent them from forming. This antioxidant ability may underlie the protective effect of beta carotene against disorders such as heart disease and cancer.

Vitamin B-1 (Thiamine) - Necessary for carbohydrate metabolism. Important for proper myocardial function.

Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin) - Essential to cellular reproduction. Need increases during periods of wound healing and pregnancy.

Vitamin B-3 (Niacin) - Needed for tissue respiration and fat synthesis. Niacin requirements increase during periods of stress, acute illness, and low intake of Tryptophan.

Vitamin B-5 (Pantothenic Acid) - Important for proper metabolism as part of coenzyme-A. Involved in adrenal cortex function. Supports the adrenal glands in producing cortisone in times of stress. Important in metabolizing fats and carbohydrates to release energy. Also important for healthy nerves and skin.

Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine) - Required by the central nervous system for normal brain function. Needed for synthesis of DNA and RNA. Plays an important role in amino acid, carbohydrate and fat metabolism.

Vitamin B-12 - The current recommended intake for vitamin B12 is 6 micrograms per day. Vitamin B12 deficiency can be caused by pernicious anemia, due to a lack of "intrinsic factor" (a substance secreted by gastric cells that binds to vitamin B12 and enables its absorption).

A more common cause of deficiency is often diagnosed in older people who have difficulty absorbing vitamin B12 from unfortified foods; such people can typically absorb vitamin B12 from fortified foods or supplements, however, providing yet another reason to take a multivitamin. Symptoms of B12 deficiency include memory loss, disorientation, hallucinations, and tingling in the arms and legs. Some people diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's disease are actually suffering from the more reversible vitamin B12 deficiency.

Vitamin C - Vitamin C has been in the public eye for a long time. Even before its discovery in 1932, nutrition experts recognized that something in citrus fruits could prevent scurvy, a disease that killed as many as 2 million sailors between 1500 and 1800. More recently, Nobel laureate Linus Pauling promoted daily megadoses of vitamin C (the amount in 12 to 24 oranges) as a way to prevent colds and protect the body from other chronic diseases.

This vitamin is important for keeping body tissues, such as gums and muscles in good shape. C is also key if you get a cut or wound because it helps you heal. This vitamin also helps your body resist infection. This means that even though you can't always avoid getting sick, vitamin C makes it a little harder for your body to become infected with an illness.

Vitamin D - If you live north of the line connecting San Francisco to Philadelphia, odds are you don't get enough vitamin D. The same holds true if you don't, or can't, get outside for at least a 15-minute daily walk in the sun. African-Americans and others with dark skin tend to have much lower levels of vitamin D, due to less formation of the vitamin from the action of sunlight on skin. A study of people admitted to a Boston hospital, for example, showed that 57% were deficient in vitamin D.
Vitamin D helps ensure that the body absorbs and retains calcium and phosphorus, both critical for building bone. Laboratory studies also show that vitamin D keeps cancer cells from growing and dividing.

Vitamin E - For a time, vitamin E supplements looked like an easy way to prevent heart disease. Promising observational studies, including the Nurses' Health Study(22) and Health Professionals Follow-up Study,(23) suggested 20% to 40% reductions in coronary heart disease risk among individuals who took vitamin E supplements (usually containing 400 IU or more) for least two years.(24)

Vitamin K - Vitamin K helps make six of the 13 proteins needed for blood clotting. Its role in maintaining the clotting cascade is so important that people who take anticoagulants such as warfarin (Coumadin) must be careful to keep their vitamin K intake stable.

Water soluble – Dissolves in water

Zinc - Zinc is an essential mineral that is a component of more than 300 enzymes needed to repair wounds, maintain fertility in adults and growth in children, synthesize protein, help cells reproduce, preserve vision, boost immunity, and protect against free radicals, among other functions.

Original Post June 17, 2006 - 511 views

Resources and References:

American Biologics

http://www.doctorshealthsupply.com/ab/v ... ossary.htm

Linus Pauling Institute

http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/vitamins.html

Medline Plus

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/
patoco
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Re: Vitamin Glossary

Postby patoco » Thu Oct 08, 2009 10:43 am

Reviewed October 8, 2009
patoco
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Re: Vitamin Glossary

Postby patoco » Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:30 am

Hi Lamp_abi

I think the thought that it is good for the skin is a result of how it helps the body with proper cell replacement and division.

I'm not sure of any actually studies to prove this,but it is essential for our bodies in "rebuilding" our cells.

Folic acid, otherwise known as vitamin B12 is a water soluble vitamin. As such, your body absorbs all it needs and eliminates the rest, so there really is almost no chance of an overload or in taking enough for it to be toxic.

It's included all regular multi-vitamins sold today. It is safe to take, but always I advise anyone if they are unsure if they should, do run it by your doctor first. They know your own health and whether or not you need it and how it would or would not help.

Pat
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