Nutrition and Supplement Glossary
Used with permission from Critical Bench…Increase Your Bench Press by 50 Pounds!
We’ve all read the labels on the back of our supplements and wondered exactly what all the ingredients are for. You might know what the supplement itself does, but do you know how the individual ingredients effect your body? This glossary also comes in very handy when you are evaluating nutritional supplements you may be interested in taking. We’re constantly updating this page so check back whenever you’re curious about a nutrient, supplement, or drug. The list is in alphabetical order but if you are using Internet Explorer you can click “Find (on this page)” under the “Edit” menu to search.
ActiVin – A grape seed extract which acts as a powerful antioxidant.
Amino acids – The building blocks from which proteins are made. Dietary amino acids are classified as essential or non-essential. Essential amino acids (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine) cannot be manufactured by the body and must be supplied in the diet or ill-health results. The non-essential amino acids are also essential for health, but can be synthesized in the body from the essential amino acids. Arginine, ornithine, cysteine, cystine, taurine and tyrosine are classified as non-essential amino acids but may be essential for individuals with certain diseases or nutritional concerns. A suboptimal intake of the essential amino acids increases the body’s need for the non-essential amino acids.
Androgen – This term refers to the male sex hormones (testosterone, androsterone) or any agent that encourages the development of male sex characteristics.
Androstenedione – A weak androgenic steroid secreted by the adrenal cortex, testes, and ovary. In normal males less than 5% of their testosterone comes from the conversion of adrenal androstenedione. Androstenedione is converted to testosterone by the enzyme 17-ketoreductase. Androstenedione and testosterone are converted to estrone and estradiol in peripheral tissues (primarily in adipose tissue but also in muscle, kidney, liver and the hypothalamus) by aromatase. The conversion of androstenedione and testosterone accounts for more than 75% of the estrogens in the plasma of normal men. The rest is synthesized in the testes. Gonadotropin secretion may be partially controlled by estrogen formation in the hypothalamus.
Antioxidants – Nutrients that combat ever-present free radicals created through oxidation in the body. Free radicals are believed to contribute to a number of health problems.
Arthred® – A patented form of hydrolyzed collagen protein (HCL), which forms the framework of human cartilage. The effectiveness of HCL in promoting healthy joints was demonstrated through $10 million in worldwide clinical trials.
ATP – Adenosine Triphosphate - a compound consisting of the nucleotide adenosine attached through its ribose group to three phosphoric acid molecules. It serves to store energy in muscles which is released when it is hydrolyzed to adenosine diphosphate.
Beta-carotene – A nutrient that is converted to Vitamin A by the body when needed. Contains antioxidant properties.
Bioperine – A patented thermogenic nutrient; increases the body’s efficiency in the uptake of nutrients.
Biotin (Vitamin B) – Essential for metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates.
Boron - A mineral that may play a role in maintaining strong bones, affecting calcium and magnesium metabolism and proper membrane function.
Calcium – A mineral that helps build and maintain strong bones and teeth, regulate heartbeat and muscle contractions, and ensure proper blood clotting. Adequate intake can help prevent or minimize osteoporosis.
Calories – Measurement of the potential of food to supply energy. Carbohydrates – The body’s principal source of energy. Simple carbohydrates come from sugars; complex carbohydrates come from starches and fiber. The body converts them to glucose, which is used to energize cells.
Carnitine – An amino acid essential for the breakdown of fat into energy. Carnitine may improve the utilization of fats for energy and can be beneficial in conditions associated with impaired fat breakdown and energy production. Carnitine may be beneficial in heart disease, enhancing physical performance, Alzhiemers disease, diabetes, liver disease, and protection against drug toxicity.
Cholesterol – Substance manufactured by the liver and other organs and consumed via animal fat. High-fat diets increase the amount made. It is believed that high levels lead to collection of cholesterol in the arteries, possibly leading to serious health risks.
Choline – A nutrient that helps prevent the accumulation of fat in the liver; aids in the detoxification of metabolic wastes and toxins.
Chromium – Mineral important in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats; helps build lean muscle tissue and regulate blood sugar levels.
CLA – (Conjugated linoleic acid) is a naturally occurring nutrient which scientists have discovered exerts a positive effect on protein and fat metabolism.
Coenzyme Q 10 – Vital to energy production at the cellular level; used for endurance improvement. Supplementation may decrease fatigue, muscle weakness and obesity. Also recognized for its strong antioxidant properties.
Copper – Mineral important in the formation of red blood cells; keeps bones, blood vessels, nerves and the immune system healthy.
Creatine monohydrate – Maximizes the body’s level of stored creatine phosphate; results in increased peak athletic performance and shortened muscle recovery time.
DHEA –Dehydroepiandrosterone - is a hormone produced by the adrenal gland. Primary function is to produce estrogen and testosterone.
Dietary fiber – Consists of both soluble (dissolves in water) and insoluble (does not dissolve in water) fiber. Diets high in dietary fiber and low in fat may have a protective effect against many chronic illnesses, including heart disease and some cancers, and may reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
Ephedrine – A sympathetic nerve stimulant resembling adrenaline, its effect on the unstriped muscular fibres is remarkable. It acts promptly in relieving swellings of the mucous membrane. It has valuable antispasmodic properties, acts on the air passages and is of benefit in asthma and hay fever; it is also employed for rheumatism; a 5 to 10 per cent solution has mydriatic properties, prophylactically used for low blood pressure in influenza, pneumonia, etc. Used in tablet form for oral or hypodermic administration and in ampuls for hypodermic, intramuscular and intravenous use. It can advantageously be used in solution with liquid paraffin, either alone or in conjunction with methol camphor and oil of thyme. Dose, 1/2 to 1 grain. Synonyms include Ephedra, and Ma Huang.
Fats – Provide essential fatty acids that cannot be produced by the body. They transport fat-soluble vitamins and regulate blood cholesterol levels. Provide energy when the body’s carbohydrate level is depleted. Provide protection to vital organs. While fats are essential to the body, many people consume much more than necessary to remain healthy.
Folic acid – Vitamin important in the synthesis of DNA, tissue growth and the production of red blood cells.
Functional food – Food or food ingredient that has been shown to affect specific functions or systems in the body. Functional foods play an important role in disease prevention.
Gamma-linolenic acid – Nutrient that increases the rate at which the body burns fat for energy; anti-inflammatory properties and other healthful benefits.
Ginseng – An herb (Korean - Panax Ginseng) (Siberian - Eleutherococcus senticosus) (American - panax quinqefolium),. The most costly root, ginseng is a low-growing, shade-loving perennial herb of the Araliaceae family. It is cultivated in China, Japan, Korea and Russia and can be taken in capsule form or as a tea. The United States can also cultivate this root.
Glucosamine – Glucosamine sulfate and n-acetyl glucosamine occur widely in the exoskeleton of arthropods and crustaceans as their biopolymer, chitin. Glucosamine is also a basic constituent of cartilage. Glucosamine is a natural sugar produced by the body and found in certain foods. Glucosamine stimulates the production of glycosaminoglycans and proteoglycans, two essential building blocks of cartilage. In most cases, the joints produce sufficient Glucosamine to keep the cartilage in good repair, but if they fail to do so, it dries out, degenerates, cracks, and may even completely wear away. Left unprotected, the joints then become swollen, stiff, inflamed, tender, and painful–the condition known as osteoarthritis. Advocates believe that by taking artificially synthesized Glucosamine sulfate supplements, osteoarthritis sufferers can “jump start” the natural production of Glucosamine by their own bodies.