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Have you ever stumbled across an unfamiliar word when reading about vitamins and supplements? Health and wellness can be a complex adventure. Maybe a new product features ingredients you've never heard of. Or maybe you just need a reminder about a certain term. When a quick reference check is needed, visit our Natural Health Glossary for a brief definition (or a link to more detailed information in our Health Encyclopedia). Be sure to keep this helpful, easy-to-search resource one click away: bookmark it!

5-HTP (hydroxytryptophan): (hi-DROCK-see-TRIP-toe-fan) see 5-HTP encyclopedia entry


Acai: (ah-SIGH-ee) A palm tree from the Amazon rainforest that produces small purple berries packed with vitamins and minerals.

Acacia gum: (uh-KAY-shuh gum) A viscous substance from the spiny trees or shrubs of the genus Acacia, especially Acacia Senegal and Acacia Seyal

Acetylcholine: (uh-SEAT-ill-CO-lean) A choline-based compound used in the transmission of nerve impulses.

Acidophilus: (Ah-si-DAH-fill-us) see acidophilus encyclopedia entry

Adaptogen: (uh-DAP-toe-jin) A substance that helps normalize body functions in times of stress.

Adrenaline: (uh-DREN-uh-lin) The hormone that produces the "fight or flight" response, increasing heart rate and blood pressure. Also called epinephrine.

Agaricus: (uh-GAR-ick-us) A genus that is the large family of mushrooms, Agaricaceae, consisting of fungi with gills and brown spores, including the meadow mushroom and other edible mushrooms.

Alfalfa: (al-FAL-fuh) see alfalfa encyclopedia entry

Aloe: (AL-ow) see aloe encyclopedia entry

Alpha linolenic acid (LNA): (AL-fuh  lin-OH-len-ick  A-sid) An omega-3 fatty acid found in soybeans, nuts, canola oil and flaxseed oil.

Alpha lipoic acid: (AL-fuh  lip-OH-ick  A-sid) A vitamin-like substance with powerful antioxidant capabilities. see alpha lipoic acid encyclopedia entry

Alpha tocopherol: (AL-fuh  toe-COUGH-er-all) The most active form of vitamin E. Natural vitamin E is designated with a "D" (D-alpha tocopherol), while "DL" (DL-alpha tocopherol) represents the synthetic form.

American Ginseng: (American JIN-sing) see American ginseng encyclopedia entry

Amino acids: (uh-MEEN-oh) A group of nitrogen-containing compounds that serve as the basic building blocks of proteins. The amino acids that must be obtained from the diet are known as the essential amino acids.

Anabolic: (an-uh-BALL-ick) Describing a compound that allows the conversion of nutritive substance into living matter.

Anise: (ANN-us) An annual herb (Pimpinella anisum) of the carrot family with aromatic seeds.

Anthocyanidins: (an-though-SIGH-an-id-inz) A class of antioxidant plant pigments ranging in colors from red to blue.

Antibody: (ANT-ee-bod-ee) Proteins produced by the body to defend against foreign bodies or organisms.

Antioxidant: (an-tee-OX-sid-ent) A substance that inhibits oxidative or free-radical damage.

Aqueous humor (aqueous fluid): (ACHE-we-us humor) The clear, watery fluid that flows between the cornea and the lens of the eye, providing them with nutrients.

Arabinogalactan: (uh-RAB-uh-no-ga-LACK-ten) A non-digestible soluble dietary fiber (polysaccharide) commonly derived from the wood of the Western larch tree.

Arginine: (AR-je-neen) An amino acid, C6H14N4O2, obtained from the digestion of plant or animal protein.

Ascorbate: (uh-SCORE-bait) A compound or derivative of ascorbic acid.

Ascorbic: (uh-SCORE-bick) Describing a substance that prevents scurvy (from New Latin a + scorbutic—scurvy).

Ascorbic acid: (uh-SCORE-bick A-sid) The chemical name for vitamin C.

Astragalus: (uh-STRAW-gal-us) see astragalus encyclopedia entry

Astringent: (a-STRIN-jent) A substance that causes tissues to contract.

ATP (adenosine triphosphate): (uh-DEN-oh-sen  try-FOSS-fate) The phosphate compound that serves as the chief energy-storage material for all cells.

Avena Sativa: (UH-veen-uh SUH-teev-uh) A cereal grass and its edible grain; oats.

Ayurveda: (AH-yer-vee-duh) The traditional holistic-medicinal system from India based on ancient Hindu texts.

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Barberry: (BAR-bear-ee) see barberry encyclopedia entry

Barley Grass: (BAR-lee grass) see barley grass encyclopedia entry

Bearberry: (bearberry) see bearberry encyclopedia entry

Bee Pollen: (bee pollen) see bee pollen encyclopedia entry

Bee Propolis: (bee PROP-uh-liss) see bee propolis encyclopedia entry

Beriberi: (bear-ee-BEAR-ee) A disease caused by thiamin deficiency.

Beta-carotene: (BAY-ta –CARE-ah-teen) An antioxidant plant compound that can be converted by the body into vitamin A. see encyclodpedia entry

Beta cells: (BAY-ta  cells) Cells in the pancreas responsible for insulin production.

Bilberry: (BILL-bear-ee) see bilberry encyclopedia entry

Bioflavonoids: (BY-oh-FLAV-ah-noydz) See flavonoids.

Biotin: (BY-oh-tin) A B vitamin produced in the small intestine by beneficial bacteria. see biotin encyclopedia entry

Black Cohosh: (black CO-hosh) see black cohosh encyclopedia entry

Black Currant Seed Oil: (black CUR-rent seed oil) see black currant seed oil encyclopedia entry

Boron: (BORE-on) An essential trace mineral required for bone formation. see boron encyclopedia entry

Boswellia: (BOZ-well-EE-ah) see boswellia encyclopedia entry

Bran: (bran) The thin husk of grains such as rice, wheat, and oats. A rich source of soluble and insoluble fiber.

Brewer's Yeast: (Brewer’s yeast) see brewer's yeast encyclopedia entry

Bromelain: (BRO-ma-lane) see bromelain encyclopedia entry

Burdock: (BURR-dock) see burdock encyclopedia entry

Butcher's Broom: (Butcher’s broom) see butcher's broom encyclopedia entry

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Calcium: (CAL-see-um) see calcium encyclopedia entry

Capsaicin: (cap-SAY-uh-sin) The active "hot" compound found in cayenne and other peppers.

Carbonate: (CAR-buh-nate) A salt of carbonic acid.

Carbonic acid: (CAR-bon-ick  A-sid) An unstable liquid made by dissolving carbon dioxide in water, used to form carbonates.

Cardiotonic: (card-ee-oh-TON-ick) A substance that strengthens the heart muscle.

Carotenoid: (kuh-ROT-en-oyd) A family of plant pigments (including alpha carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, etc.), many of which exhibit antioxidant properties.

Cartilage: (CAR-ta-lidge) The smooth connective tissue that acts as a shock absorber between bone surfaces in joints.

Cascara Sagrada: (kuh-SCAR-uh  suh-GRAH-duh) see cascara sagrada encyclopedia entry

Catalyst: (CAT-ill-ist) A substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction but is not affected by that reaction.

Catechins: (CAT-a-kin) Antioxidant flavonoids found in green tea.

Cathartic: (kuh-THAR-tick) A substance that stimulates bowel movements.

Cat's Claw: (cat’s claw) see cat's claw encyclopedia entry

Cayenne: (KIE-ann) see cayenne encyclopedia entry

Cetyl Myristoleate: (SEAT-ill  my-WRIST-oh-lee-ate) see cetyl myristoleate encyclopedia entry

Chamomile: (CAM-oh-meal) see chamomile encyclopedia entry

Chaparral: (shap-uh-RAL) see chaparral encyclopedia entry

Charcoal: (charcoal) see charcoal encyclopedia entry

Chasteberry: (chasteberry) see chasteberry encyclopedia entry

Chelation: (key-LAY-shun) The bonding of minerals to amino acids or other carrier compounds to aid absorption by the body.

Chitosan: (KITE-oh-san) see chitosan encyclopedia entry

Chlorella: (kluh-REL-uh) see chlorella encyclopedia entry

Chondroitin: (con-DROY-tin) see chondroitin encyclopedia entry

Chromium: (CROW-me-um) see chromium encyclopedia entry

Citrate: (SI-trate) Any salt of citric acid.

Citric acid: (SI-trick  A-sid) A tribasic acid found in citrus fruits that acts as an intermediary in the tricarboxylic (Krebs’) cycle.

Citrus Bioflavonoids: (SI-tress BY-oh-FLAV-uh-noydz) see citrus bioflavonoids encyclopedia entry

Cod Liver Oil: (cod liver oil) see cod liver oil encyclopedia entry

Coenzyme: (coenzyme A) A nonprotein substance needed to complete an enzyme, usually a vitamin or mineral.

Coleus: (CO-lee-us) see coleus encyclopedia entry

Collagen: (KOLL-uh-jen) The protein that serves as the main component of connective tissue.

Colostrum: (co-LOSS-strum)

Copper: (copper) see copper encyclopedia entry

CoQ10: (co-Q-ten) see CoQ10 encyclopedia entry

Cranberry: (cranberry) see cranberry encyclopedia entry

Creatine: (CREE-ah-teen) see creatine encyclopedia entry

Cyanocobalamin: (SIGH-an-oh-co-BALL-uh-min) The form of vitamin B-12 used in supplements.

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