Here you’ll find common nutrition terms and definitions. These appear frequently throughout this website and across nutritional media.
Acid / Alkaline (pH of the body) – the degree of acidity or alkalinity, which is regulated by several of the Fundamental Homeostatic Controls. Because all biochemical processes are dependent upon a specific, narrow pH range, the acid / alkaline balance is very important in deciding the presence of health or disease.
Aerobic – Chemical processes in the body that require oxygen. Example: Long-distance running is an aerobic exercise. (see Anaerobic).
Alleles – Different versions of the same gene are called alleles. For example, the gene for eye colour has an allele for blue eye colour and an allele for brown eye colour. For any gene, a person may have the same two alleles or two different ones. Alleles may be either dominant or recessive. A dominant allele is always expressed, even if the individual only has one copy of it. For example, the allele for brown eyes is dominant. You only need one copy of it to have brown eyes. Two copies will still give you brown eyes. A recessive allele is only expressed if the individual has two copies of it and does not have the dominant allele of that gene. For example, the allele for blue eyes is recessive. You need two copies of this allele to have blue eyes.
Allergy – Hypersensitivity to substances including (but not limited to) environmental and foods. Some symptoms produced by allergy are sneezing, rashes, itching, fatigue, and depression.
Anabolic – The building up in the body into more complex substances from simpler ones. Part of the Lipo-Oxidative Control System involving the balance of anabolic/catabolic processes in the body. Anabolic processes are anaerobic (not requiring oxygen) and involve increased levels of sterols relative to fatty acids, resulting in decreased cell membrane permeability. (see Anaerobic and LipoOxidative)
Anaerobic – Chemical processes in the body that do not require oxygen. Example: Sprinting and weight-lifting are anaerobic exercises. Anaerobic processes are also anabolic in nature. (see Aerobic and Anabolic)
Asthma – Condition characterised by sudden, recurring attacks of coughing, chest constriction, laboured breathing, lung congestion and wheezing. Asthma involves over-reactivity by the parasympathetic vagus nerve.
Autonomic Nervous System – Communications system from the brain to the organs, glands and every cell in the body, considered the master regulator of metabolism. The ANS consists of two divisions – Sympathetic and Parasympathetic – whose opposing, yet complementary (push/pull) interplay, results in metabolic regulation. Example: Sympathetic speeds the heart rate, Parasympathetic slows it. Together, these opposing influences regulate the heart rate.
Beta Oxidation – See Oxidation.
Biochemical – Processes and chemicals in living organisms.
Biochemical Individuality – Inherited patterns of chemical processes in human metabolism that are unique to each person.
Blood Type – Refers to the various ABO blood types (O, A, B, AB); their role in the Healthexcel System is as one of the factors in determining which foods to avoid, due to their blood type specific lectin content.
Candida – A yeast infection which inhibits efficient digestion and assimilation, and if chronic, exhausts the immune system, thereby contributing to any degenerative process.
CarboOxidative – Fundamental Control System concerned with cellular conversion of nutrients to energy. Metabolic Type®s in this system are Fast Oxidisers, Mixed Oxidisers and Slow Oxidisers. (see Oxidation)
Carbo Type – Metabolic Type® (Sympathetic or Slow Oxidiser) that does well on relatively small amounts of protein and fat foods compared to carbohydrates.
Catabolic – The breaking down in the body of more complex substances into simpler ones. Part of the Lipo-Oxidative Control System involving the balance of anabolic / catabolic processes in the body. Catabolic processes are aerobic ( using oxygen ) and involve increased levels of fatty acids relative to sterols, resulting in increased cell membrane permeability. ( see Aerobic and Lipo-Oxidative)
Citric Acid Cycle – See Oxidation.
Constitutional Type – Concerns constitutional (hot, cold, dry, etc.) qualities of the body that relate to similar constitutional qualities of foods and herbs.
Cortisol – Cortisol is often called the “stress hormone”. Cortisol is one of the steroid hormones and is made in the adrenal glands. Most cells within the body have cortisol receptors. Secretion of the hormone is controlled by the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal gland, a combination glands often referred to as the HPA axis. Cortisol can help control blood sugar levels, regulate metabolism, help reduce inflammation, and assist with memory formulation, has a controlling effect on salt and water balance and helps control blood pressure. In women, cortisol also supports the developing foetus during pregnancy. All of these functions make cortisol a crucial hormone to protect overall health and well-being.
Cortisol Awakening Response – an increase between 38% and 75% in cortisol levels peaking 30–45 minutes after awakening in the morning in some people. While its purpose is uncertain, it may be linked to the hippocampus’ preparation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) in order to face anticipated stress
Dominant System – The Fundamental Control System that is responsible for how foods and nutrients behave in the body. Nutrients behave differently when different systems are dominant, even to the point that the same food in different Metabolic Type®s can have opposite biochemical effects. For example, potassium alkalinises in Autonomic Dominant Metabolic Type®, but potassium acidifies in Oxidative Dominant Metabolic Type®. “The Dominance Factor” explains why what works for one person can actually worsen another person with the same condition.
DNA Test – The test uses qualitative genotyping (see genotyping) to detect select clinically relevant variants (see variants) in the genomic (see genomic) DNA of adults from saliva for the purpose of reporting and interpreting genetic health risks. It is not intended to diagnose any disease. Your ethnicity may affect the relevance of each report and how your genetic health risk results are interpreted.
Environmental Pollutants Profile – Quantitative measurement of select metabolites (see metabolites) that can help define an individual’s toxic burden and provide valuable information for a targeted nutritional and detoxification intervention.
Electrolytes – Mineral salts in the body’s fluids that conduct electricity. The balance of electrolytes in body fluids is important to ensure that vital substances (nutrients, enzymes, toxins, hormones, etc.) are effectively transported to where they need to go.
Electrolyte Insufficiency – Not enough electrolytes in the body’s fluids.
Electrolyte Stress – Too dense a ratio of mineral salts in the body’s fluids.
Endocrine Type – One of the four primary energy-producing endocrine glands (pituitary, thyroid, adrenals, gonads) that play a major role in body structure and determine how and where fat accumulates on the body.
Enzymes – Complex substances in plants and animals that can cause changes in other substances. Enzymes function only within a very narrow range of pH. (see Acid / Alkaline)
Fatty Acids – A group of acids occurring in natural fats.
FHC – Abbreviation for “Fundamental Homeostatic Control Systems”
Fundamental Homeostatic Controls – Regulatory systems that direct the thousands of biochemical reactions that take place daily within the body and are the basis for one’s Metabolic Type®.
Gag (reflex) – To choke, or the urge felt in the throat to vomit.
Gastritis – an inflammation of the protective lining of the stomach.
Genomic – The study of genes and their functions, and related techniques. The main difference between genomics and genetics is that genetics scrutinises the functioning and composition of the single gene where as genomics addresses all genes and their inter relationships in order to identify their combined influence on the growth and development of the organism.
Genotype – genotype (genotyping) consists of all the nucleic acids (see nucleic acids) present in a DNA molecule that code for a particular trait.
Glycaemic Index – All carbohydrates – fruits, vegetables, grains – are converted to glucose in the body. Carbohydrates are categorised according to the speed at which they hit the bloodstream in the form of glucose and they are ranked accordingly in what is known as the Glycaemic Index.
Glycolysis – see Oxidation.
Gut Repair – Provide the nutrients necessary to help restore your gut lining.
Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis – Laboratory analysis of a sample of hair to determine the levels of toxic heavy metals, nutritional minerals, and essential trace elements in a person’s body. Used as a screening test by Healthexcel for tracking heavy metal mobilisation from the body.
Healthexcel System of Metabolic Typing® – Process of evaluating the interrelationship of the body’s Fundamental Homeostatic Controls for the creation, maintenance and control of energy and the determination of unique, individual nutritional requirements.
Homeostatic – The tendency of a system, especially the physiological system of higher animals, (such as the internal environment of the human body) to maintain internal stability, due to the coordinated response of its parts to any situation or stimulus that disturbs its normal condition or function.
H.Pylori Infection – H. pylori is a common type of bacteria that grows in the digestive tract and has a tendency to attack the stomach lining. Infection can irritate your stomach, causing inflammation or gastritis (see gastritis). H. pylori infection is a strong risk factor for certain types of stomach cancer.
Incontinence – Urinating or defecating involuntarily.
Intermittent Fasting – An eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and normal eating.
Ketogenic Diet – The aim is to send the body into a state of ‘ketosis’ (see ketosis) by using a very strict low-carb diet. This umbrella term can include diets such as the Atkins diet , Dukan diet and LCHF (low carb, high fat) diets such as the banting diet, although the ratios of fat, protein and carbs and other specific features of each diet (e.g. ‘phases’) can vary.
Ketones – A type of chemical that your liver produces when it breaks down fats. Your body uses ketones for energy typically during fasting, long periods of exercise, or when you don’t have as many carbohydrates.
Ketosis – Is a natural state the body finds itself in when it is using fat as its main fuel. This occurs when following a very low carb, ketogenic diet, and often during intermittent fasting too.
Krebs Cycle – see Oxidation.
Lectins – Protein fractions found in many foods that have an affinity for certain blood types and whose presence in significant numbers can cause digestive, allergic and other immune problems.
LipoOxidative (Anabolic / Catabolic) – One of the Fundamental Control Systems concerning fatty acid / sterol (mostly unsaturated fat) balance. Catabolic processes are aerobic (requiring oxygen). Anabolic processes are anaerobic (not requiring oxygen). Catabolic (the breaking down in the body of more complex substances into simpler ones). Anabolic (the building up in the body into more complex substances from simpler ones). This Control System concerns the balance of anabolic/catabolic processes and regulates membrane permeability.
Macro-Nutrients – Proteins, fats and carbohydrates in the diet. The macro-nutrient ratio at each meal is critical for efficient energy production and good health. The ideal ratio varies between Metabolic Type®s as well as from meal to meal.
Metabolism – Sum total of all physiological and biochemical changes that take place in the body and all energy and material transformations that occur in living cells, utilising food, air, water and light.
Metabolites – Any substance involved in metabolism (either as a product of metabolism or as necessary for metabolism).
Metabolic Type® – Inherited strengths, weaknesses and patterns in metabolism that define metabolic individuality and unique requirements for nutrition.
Mixed Type – Metabolic Type® (Balanced or Mixed) that does best on a mixture of the appropriate foods for both the Protein Types and Carbo Types.
NeuroEndocrine – The interrelationship of the Autonomic Nervous System and the Endocrine System.
Neurotransmitter – Also called chemical transmitter or chemical messenger, any of a group of chemical agents released by neurons (nerve cells) to stimulate neighbouring neurons or muscle or gland cells, thus allowing impulses to be passed from one cell to the next throughout the nervous system.
Nucleic acids – are macromolecules that store genetic information and enable protein production. Nucleic acids include DNA and RNA. These molecules are composed of long strands of nucleotides. Nucleotides are composed of a nitrogenous base, a five-carbon sugar, and a phosphate group. Are essential for every form of life present on the earth. They are present in all organisms from small viruses and bacteria to large and complex animals like humans and whales.
Organic Acids Test – A test of the chemical compounds excreted in the urine of mammals that are products of metabolism. Organic acids are organic compounds that are acidic. Organic acids are substances in which carbon and hydrogen are always present but which may also contain the elements of oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, and phosphorus as well. Provides a comprehensive metabolic snapshot of overall health with 76 markers. It provides an accurate evaluation of intestinal yeast and bacteria. Abnormally high levels of these microorganisms can cause or worsen behaviour disorders, hyperactivity, movement disorders, fatigue and immune function. Many people with chronic illnesses and neurological disorders often excrete several abnormal organic acids in their urine. The cause of these high levels could include oral antibiotic use, high sugar diets, immune deficiencies, acquired infections, as well as genetic factors. Also includes markers for vitamin and mineral levels, oxidative stress, neurotransmitter levels, and oxalates (see oxalates), which are highly correlated with many chronic illnesses.
Oxalates – Formed from oxalic acid which is present in a number of foods. High levels can be found in foods like spinach, beetroot and nuts. It is not unusual for plants to contain substances that are inhospitable to humans. It is most likely part of a self-defence mechanism, designed to protect their existence.
Oxidation – Intracellular processes that convert nutrients to energy. Oxidation involves the interplay of 3 intracellular processes: Glycolysis, Beta Oxidation and the Krebs or Citric Acid Cycle. Glycolysis concerns metabolism of carbohydrates. Beta Oxidation is involved in fat metabolism. And Citric Acid Cycle is the final step of energy conversion involving products produced from Glycolysis and Beta Oxidation. These 3 processes can be thought of as providing the recipe for energy production in the cells of the body.
Oxidative – Referring to the process of intracellular conversion of nutrients to energy.
Parasympathetic – Repairing and rebuilding (“rest and digest”) side of the autonomic nervous system.
pH – see Acid/Alkaline
Phenotype – The outward appearance, or phenotype, is the result of interactions of proteins being created by the DNA.
Physiological – The functions/life processes of living things.
Prostaglandin(s) – Derived from fatty acids. Found everywhere in the body and play a role in every metabolic activity.
Protein Type – Metabolic Type® (Parasympathetic or Fast Oxidiser) that does well on high protein, high fat, low carbohydrate diet.
SIBO Breath Test – A simple, non-invasive test, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, (SIBO). After a 24 hours preparatory diet, the lactulose (or glucose or fructose) test substrate is swallowed. Lactulose is not absorbed and therefore acts as a food source for bacteria, if present, in the small intestine. The bacteria ferment the testing substance and produce hydrogen and/or methane. There is some beneficial bacteria in your small intestine (sometimes called the small bowel), most of your gut bacteria is meant to be located in your large intestine and colon. This is where they help break down food, make vitamins, and eliminate waste. When the “healthy” bacteria normally found in the large intestine and colon begin to colonise, grow in the small intestine, SIBO occurs. However, it can also be caused by an overgrowth of otherwise normal bacteria in the small intestine itself. This can be caused by high-carb diets, nerve and muscle damage from diabetes or certain autoimmune conditions, Hashimoto’s (Thyroid disease), physical obstructions such as diverticula, scarring from surgeries or Crohn’s disease, and from medications such as antibiotics, acid-blocking drugs, and steroids. The excess bacteria then feed off the undigested food in your small intestine. They particularly love to feed on foods such as sugar, simple and complex carbohydrates, starches, and alcohol. This might not be a huge issue if food is moving through your system at the ideal rate. However, if you have an under-active thyroid, as is the case with hypothyroidism (low thyroid gland function), your body processes, including digestion, slow down. This often causes constipation. When you are constipated and food lingers in your intestines, it ferments and becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Foods that are fermenting in your gut produce hydrogen as a byproduct. Hydrogen can feed single-celled organisms in your small intestine called archaea, which then produce methane as a byproduct. When you have SIBO, you have excess levels of hydrogen or methane, or both in your digestive system.
SNP – Single Nucleotide Polymorphism is substitution of a single nucleotide at a specific position in the genome that is present in a sufficiently large fraction of the population (e.g. 1% or more). For example, at a specific base position in the human genome, the C (cytosine) nucleotide may appear in most individuals, but in a minority of individuals, the position is occupied by an A (adenine). This means that there is a SNP at this specific position, and the two possible nucleotide variations – C or A – are said to be the alleles (see alleles) for this specific position.
Stool Test – used to detect the presence of blood or other digestive system abnormalities, such as colon or gastric cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, haemorrhoids, anal fissures or infections. Also include a range of markers that indicate normal bacteria or probiotic levels, digestive health and immune system.
Stress Hormone Test – eg. DUTCH, dried urine is comprehensive assessment of sex hormones (oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone) and adrenal gland hormones (cortisol and DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone)) and their metabolites. Urine hormone testing measures free hormone levels only, because bound hormones are not metabolically active and thus are not broken down by the liver. Urine hormone testing allows you to get a picture of the active hormones in your body, not the bound and inactive hormones. Shows how your body is detoxifying oestrogen. Complete adrenal gland picture and also melatonin (your sleep hormone) level.
Sympathetic – “Fight or flight” (stressor) side of the autonomic nervous system.
Variants – Refers to a specific region of the genome which differs between two genomes or having a different sequence.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies – A lack of one or more vitamins or minerals that the body needs for health.
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