This glossary is only for the Primer and is not complete for our entire forum.
Please PM me if you would like me to add other terms. I would like this to be as comprehensive, yet accessible, as possible.
A: adenine, a nucleotide. Always bonds with T (thymine)
Abstract: a summary of a scientific paper, always under the title, before the body of the paper
Aβ: another way of typing the abbreviation for amyloid, also known as beta-amyloid. the β symbol is the Greek letter for "beta"
AD: Alzheimer’s disease
Amino Acid: a building block of proteins. The human body can build 20 from the DNA coding in our cells.
Amyloid: also known as beta-amyloid or Aβ or Abeta. A protein that accumulates in the brain of those with Alzheimers.
Antioxidant: a molecule that reduces oxidative stress
Apolipoprotein-B: a measurement of the number of LDL particles in the blood. See LDL-P.
Apnea/Apnoea: decreased or periods of no breathing. See Sleep apnea/apnoea
Atherosclerosis: thickening of the walls of arteries by accumulation of plaques made up of white blood cells, fatty and fibrous tissue
Atom: building block of all matter. See periodic table and co-factor. Examples are carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, zinc, magnesium, selenium etc
ATP: the end product of mitochondrial processing of glucose or ketones to make energy for the cells to use
Axon: part of a neurone
BBB: see blood brain barrier. A complex structure that separates the brain and its fluids from the rest of the body and which allows only certain molecules through
Beta-Oxidation: the process of burning fats to release energy in the form of ATP.
BDNF: brain derived neurotrophic factor - made by the body during exercise, promotes growth and function of brain cells
Bio-identical HRT: HRT made in a laboratory to be exactly the same as the molecules made by our bodies
Biomarkers: blood tests and other measurements such as weight, sleep (things that can be measured)
Blood brain barrier: see BBB. A complex structure that separates the brain and its fluids from the rest of the body and which allows only certain molecules through.
C: cytosine, a nucleotide. Always bonds with G
CAD: coronary artery disease, which is caused by atherosclerosis. CAD causes damage to the heart, which is called ischaemic heart disease
Carbohydrate: one of three main ways in which molecules can bind together to form compounds the body can use. The other main ones are proteins and lipids (often called fats)
Cardio: pertaining to the heart
Cell: tiny little blocks making up our organs and bodies. They have a cell wall on the outside and cytoplasm inside. The latter contains the nucleus where the DNA lives, and other little structures. One of these is the many mitochondria in each cell.
Cell wall: The membrane around each cwll. Mainly made of lipids. The membranes have receptors on the surface which bind with proteins and switch functions on and off.
CHF: congestive heart failure, often caused by ischaemic heart disease
Cholesterol: a sterol made by animals (see zoosterol)
Circadian rhythm: the body clock
Citric Acid cycle: a chemical cycle that occurs in the mitochondria - end-product is ATP which is used by the cells for energy.
Complex carbohydrate: a carbohydrate made up of more than two monosaccharides. Usually found in veggies, fruit, grains.
Co-factor: an atom that is necessary for a chemical reaction to occur in the body. Some critical co-factors are zinc, magnesium.
Cortisol: a hormone released during stress, especially chronic stress
CRP: a marker of inflammation in the body. A more accurate measure is hsCRP.
CVA: cerebrovascular accident ie stroke.
CVD: cardiovascular disease - A general term covering both coronary artery disease/ischaemic heart disease and strokes
Dendrite: part of a neurone
DHA: a type of omega 3 fatty acid
Disaccharide: a pair of two monosaccharides. Sucrose is a glucose molecule plus a fructose molecule.
DNA: the code in our cells which is used to make proteins. Made up of nucleotides A, T, C, G
eGFR: a measure of kidney function
Endocrine organ: organs that produce hormones - examples are ovaries, testes, thyroid, adrenals, pancreas, pituitary, parathyroid and pineal glands.
Endogenous: made by the body itself. See exogenous.
EPA: a type of omega 3 fatty acid
Epigenetics: the process whereby genes can switch on or off depending on the environmental factors
Estradiol or 17- β-estradiol: an estrogen/oestrogen molecule made by the body endogenously, or taken exogenously (see exogenous and endogenous)
Estrogen: also called Oestrogen. A female hormone made by our body. One subtype is 17- β-estradiol.
Exogenous: medication or supplements that are taken ie not made inside the body but swallowed or put on the skin. See endogenous.
Fatty acid: a subgroup of lipids. There are three types - saturated (see SFA), polyunsaturated (see PUFA, includes omega 3 fatty acids and omega 6 fatty acids) and monounsaturated (see MUFA).
Fatty liver: Also called non-alcoholic steatosis or NASH. Due accumulation of fat in the liver. The fat comes from excess dietary carbohydrates. Fat in the liver directly worsens insulin resistance.
Ferritin: a measure of iron stores in the body
Free radical: an electrically charged, chemically active atom or molecule that causes oxidative stress. A subgroup of free radicals is ROS or reactive oxygen species.
Fructose: a monosaccharide. Fructose and glucose makes up sucrose (table sugar)
G: guanine, a nucleotide. Always bonds with cytosine
Galactose: a monosaccharide. Galactose and glucose make up lactose.
GGT: a liver enzyme. Goes up with excess alcohol and fatty liver/NASH.
Gluconeogenesis: the synthesis of glucose from protein, lactate (made in the muscles during exercise - called the Cori cycle) and the glycerol portion of triglycerides.
Glucose: a monosaccharide. Used by the body for many purposes.
Glycaemic: pertaining to glucose in the blood
Glycaemic control: how well the level of glucose in the blood is controlled, specific to each person
Glycogen: a storage form of glucose, stored in the liver.
HbA1c: a 3 month average measure of the level of the glucose in the blood.
HDL: a type of cholesterol in a lipid panel.
Heterozygous for Apoe4: one copy of the apoe4 gene, the second copy may be E2 or E3 – often abbreviated 3/4 or 2/4
Hippocampus: a part of the brain where memories are stored. Shrinks in AD.
Hormone: a molecule produced by an endocrine organ, has effects on other parts of the body distant from that organ itself - eg insulin produced by the pancreas has effects on many other organs such as the brain, gut etc.
Homocysteine: a molecule involved in methylation in the body.
Homozygous for Apoe4 : two copies of the apoe4 gene – often abbreviated 4/4
HRT: hormone replacement therapy, medication that replaces the body's natural waning hormones
hsCRP: see CRP
Hypothalamus: part of the brain that regulates many basic functions such as body temperature, hunger, thirst and is the master controller of endocrine organs such as thyroid, adrenals, ovaries, testes etc.
IHD: ischaemic heart disease - caused by coronary artery atherosclerosis/disease, causing angina and heart attacks
Incretin: released by the small bowel after eating, helps the body process glucose by increasing insulin and other ways.
Inflammation: a complicated response of the body to anything that might injure or damage cells. This response includes white blood cells, various molecules called inflammatory mediators that can either kill bacteria and/or harm normal cells, and changed blood flow.
Insulin: the hormone released by the pancreas in response to eating glucose
Insulin resistance: (IR): when our insulin stays raised for too long, our cells become resistant to insulin's effects and we need higher levels of insulin for the cells to process glucose
IR: see insulin resistance
Ischaemic (spelled ischemic in the USA): means not enough blood, causing damage to the tissue. Blood flow is often blocked due to atherosclerosis
Keto-adapted: when one's body is adapted to burning fat for energy rather than glucose for energy
Ketone: short form of the word "ketone body". There are three types - betahydroxybutyrate which can be measured in the blood, acetone which can be measured in the breath and acetoacetate.
Ketosis: the state where one is burning far for fuel rather than glucose for fuel.
Ketoacidosis: a disease state that happens in out of control type 1 insulin dependent diabetes. Does not happen in healthy people.
Krebs cycle: see TCA cycle and citric acid cycle. a chemical cycle happening in the mitochondria that makes ATP for energy.
Lactose: a disaccharide made up of galacatose and glucose.
LCHF: low carb, high fat diet; also called low carb, healthy fat diet. usually this is less than 50 grams carbohydrates a day, and may be as low as 20 grams.
LDL: a particle in the blood that carries lipids
LDL-P: a measurement of the number of LDL particles in the blood. See apolipoprotein-B
Lipids: one of the main kinds of molecules making up living organisms - other kinds are proteins, carbohydrates and nucleic acids. The subtypes of lipids are sterols, fatty acids, triglycerides and phospholipids.
Maltose: a disaccharide made up of glucose plus glucose.
Macronutrient: often abbreviated "macros". The percentage of the diet of carbohydrates/proteins/fats.
Melatonin: a hormone made by the pineal gland naturally, causes onset and maintenance of sleep
Methylation: a complex process involved in many vital processes of the body. If inefficient, homocysteine rises.
MI: myocardial infarction ie heart attack. Caused by CVD, specifically the subgroup of CAD.
Micronutrient: nutrients needed in small quantities to keep cells healthy - examples are vitamins and minerals.
Mitochondria: little structures in the cell that make energy for all life processes. the mitochondria burn either glucose or ketones (or amino acids) to make ATP for energy
Molecule: a collection of atoms
Monosaccharide: the smallest carbohydrate molecule - there are three kinds: glucose, fructose and galactose
mTOR: a protein made in cells that facilitates cell growth but in excess it contributes to aging and cancer and may also contribute to AD
MUFA: monounsaturated fatty acid
NASH: non-alcoholic steatosis. Also called fatty liver. Due accumulation of fat in the liver. The fat comes from excess dietary carbohydrates. Fat in the liver directly worsens insulin resistance.
Neurone: a nerve cell
Neurotrophic: promotion of growth of nerve cells (neurone)
NMR: a test that measures the different kinds of lipid particles in the blood.
Nootropic: a molecule that acts as a cognitive enhancer
NSAID: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory - a drug that reduces inflammation
Nucleotide: a building block of DNA. There are four types - see A,C, G, T.
Observational trial: less rigorous information gathering than an RCT. Observing populations for correlations.
Oestrogen: also called Estrogen. A female hormone made by our body. One subtype is 17- β-oestradiol.
Omega 3 fatty acids: a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid
Omega 6 fatty acids : a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid
Oxidative stress: damage to cells by excessive molecules called free radicals. These are chemically reactive, electrically charged atoms or molecules. Oxidative stress is reduced by anti-oxidants
P4: progesterone molecules made by the body or made identically in a laboratory
Peri-menopause: the time between optimal female hormones and the cessation of menses and hormone production.
Periodic Table: a way of arranging atoms in order of increasing number of protons and hence weight
Phospholipid: a type of lipid. One type is phosphatidylcholine, used in as building blocks of cells membranes
Phyoto: of a plant
Phytochemical: molecules made by plants
Phystosterol: a sterol (kind of lipid) made by plants
Pineal gland: a structure in the brain, makes melatonin
Progestagin: an artificial progesterone
Progesterone: a female hormone made by the body. See P4
Post-prandial: after eating
Promethease: an online programme that can analyse raw data from 23andme.
Protein: one of the three major kinds of molecules in our bodies and our food.
Proton: a building block of atoms. The other two building blocks are neutrons and electrons
Prion: a non-living protein that can clone itself. Example is mad cow disease.
PubMed: a collection of all scientific papers, usually just the abstract, able to be accessed by anyone
PUFA: polyunsaturated fatty acid
RCT: randomized controlled trial, the best kind of scientific study
ROS: reactive oxygen species, a type of free radical that causes oxidative stress
RS: international numbering system of snps. Each individual snp is labelled rs and a number eg rs12345.
SAD: see Standard American Diet
Sarcopenia/sarcopaenia: low muscle mass
SFA: saturated fatty acid
Simple carbohydrate: mono or di-saccharide
Sleep apnoea/apnea: obstruction to breathing during sleep, causes less oxygen to get to the brain.
SNP: pronounced "snip". single nucleotide polymorphism. One single nucleotide difference in a gene causing an effect on the body's function.
Snpedia: an online encyclopaedia of snps.
Standard American Diet: see SAD. Rich in red meat, dairy products, processed and artificially sweetened foods, and salt, with minimal intake of fruits, vegetables, fish, legumes, and whole grains
Sterol: a subtype of lipids. Has a ring structure. See phytosterol, zoosterol and cholesterol
Sucrose: Sucrose is a glucose molecule plus a fructose molecule. Also called table sugar
Sugar: Sugar is a colloquial name for the disaccharide sucrose, which is a glucose molecule plus a fructose molecule.
Synapse: the connections of neurones, whereby information travels from one to another
T3: a thyroid hormone in the blood
T4: a thyroid hormone in the blood
TBI: traumatic brain injury - head injury
TC: total cholesterol - a blood test
TCA cycle: see Citric acid cycle and Krebs cycle. a chemical cycle happening in the mitochondria that makes ATP for energy.
T: thymine, a nucleotide. Always bonds with adenine.
Triglyceride: Also called TG's. A subtype of lipid,
TGs : Triglycerides
Tau: a protein that accumulates in the brain of those with Alzheimer's.
Triglyceride: a type of lipid - made up of three fatty acids and a glycerol backbone
TSH: a measure of thyroid function. Produced by the hypothalamus and inversely proportionate to the amount of thyroid hormone in the blood.
Vascular: pertaining to the blood vessels. usually colloquially referencing the arteries which take blood to the organs rather than the veins which return the blood to the heart.
Zoosterol: a sterol (kind of lipid) made by animals. Cholesterol is a zoosterol.