Medical Glossary

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP): the primary energy source in all cells that fuels essential biochemical reactions in the body

Advanced glycosylation end products (AGEs): Modified proteins created from the cross-linking of sugar and proteins.  The more AGEs in the body, the faster you age.  Excess blood sugar and free radicals exacerbate the production of AGEs

Aerobic exercise: Energy expenditure that facilitates enough oxygen transfer to muscles without a buildup of lactic acid.

Aerobic Capacity Analysis: Using a bicycle or treadmill with metabolic cart equipment to measure oxygen consumption during exercise (VO2 max).  This is the same equipment used to assess professional athletes and by NASA to evaluate their astronauts.  It provides critical information on your fitness level, the pumping ability of your heart and function of your lungs.

ALCAT Testing: a blood test panel that identifies an individual’s intolerance to commonly encountered foods, additives, environmental chemicals, and drugs, that can cause or contribute to health problems; such as, weight gain, migraines, gastrointestinal disorders, chronic fatigue, asthma, eczema, cardiovascular disease or autoimmune disease.

Anabolic: Pertaining to the buildup or growth phase of metabolism in which the body builds up new tissue for growth and repair.

Antioxidants: Agents produced naturally within the body, as well as taken in the form of vitamin and mineral supplements, that help to counteract the effects of free radicals on cells and help repair cellular damage.

Apo E genotype: Apolipoprotein E has three different forms or alleles, E2, E3, and E4.  Depending upon the particular configuration in an individual, it can be associated with increased risk of coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke or Alzheimer’s disease.  People with one copy of the e4 allele have an increased risk of developing type 2 Alzheimer disease, a familial late-onset form of the disease.  People who inherit two copies of the e4 allele have a still higher chance of developing type 2 Alzheimer disease. However, the relationship between APOE e4 and Alzheimer disease is not a simple direct one. APOE e4 is clearly neither necessary nor sufficient by itself to cause Alzheimer disease. It may modify the preclinical progression of the disease and accelerate the clinical onset of it in people who are already predisposed to develop Alzheimer disease.

Apolipoprotein E is also associated with several cardiovascular disorders. Most people with familial hypercholesterolemia, a condition that causes very high levels of cholesterol and an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, have two copies of the e2 allele. This allele seems to be one of several genetic factors that play a part in this disorder. Another version of apolipoprotein E, the e4 allele, is a risk factor for coronary artery disease.

Arachidonic acid: An essential fatty acid (EFA) found in fatty red meats, grain fed livestock, egg yolks and organ meats that is the immediate precursor of prostaglandins and pro-inflammatory eicosanoid hormones.

AspirinWorks Test: Millions of Americans are taking aspirin to help prevent heart attacks and strokes. But what is not generally known is that up to 25% of patients on aspirin therapy may not receive the benefit from its anti-clotting effects. The suboptimal response to aspirin is commonly known as “aspirin resistance”.  And because aspirin can cause stomach upset, ulcers, and even gastrointestinal bleeding, this question has become a significant medical concern. The AspirinWorks Test measures a urine metabolite of a substance, thromboxane, which is associated with the formation of blood clots. Aspirin is supposed to reduce the formation of this substance in the body and results in low levels of the metabolite detected in the urine.  High levels may mean that aspirin is not effective for decreasing your risk of a heart attack or stroke. See FDA recommendation and brochure

Bioidentical hormones: are replicas of the body’s own naturally occurring hormones created in a lab to have the exact same molecular structure, in contrast to the commonly prescribed synthetic hormones which the body cannot metabolize as effectively.

Biomarkers: Predictive biological indicators of disease or aging.

Biophysical250: Biophysical250 is the single most comprehensive health assessment available today. It measures 250 different biomarkers that may indicate the presence of diseases and conditions often before symptoms appear. Unlike standard physicals that measure only up to 40 biomarkers, Biophysical250 simultaneously assesses hundreds of biomarkers used by 12 different medical specialties.

Calorie: A unit of measuring energy.  The more calories a food has, the more energy producing value it has.  Protein and carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram.  Fats contain 9 calories per gram.

Carbohydrates: Various forms of sugar that, when converted to glucose, are a source of fuel for the body.

Catabolic: Pertaining to the breakdown phase of metabolism in which the body breaks down complex substances into simpler ones; or in term of aging, degenerates.

Cholesterol: A fatty, waxlike substance, necessary in small amounts for cell function.  It is the precursor to all steroid hormones (testosterone, progesterone, estrogen, pregnenelone) though harmful if too much is consumed or produced by the body.

Cognitive screening: The Cognitive Stability Index (CSI) is a comprehensive, computerized screening test battery and diagnostic tool.  It screens for subtle neurocognitive changes associated with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease over time and compares subsequent test performance of the individual to his/her original test performance.

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): An omega-3 essential fatty acid found in coldwater fish that helps reduce inflammation.

Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA): An omega-3 essential fatty acid found in coldwater fish and fish oil supplements; a precursor to anti-inflammatory eicosanoid hormones.

Enzymes: Proteins that serve as powerhouses of cells and are catalysts for every metabolic process in the body.

Essential fatty acids (EFAs): Omega-3 and omega-6 EFAs are fats that cannot be made in the body and therefore must come from the diet.

Estronex Test: the body metabolizes estrogens into several different metabolites that can impact cancer development. One metabolite, 2-hydroxyestrone (2-OHE1), tends to inhibit cancer growth. Another, 16-a-hydroxyestrone (16-a-OHE1), actually encourages tumor development. A woman’s “biochemical individuality” determines which of these metabolites predominates. An Estronex 2/16 ratios less than 2.0 indicates increasing long-term risk for breast, cervical, and other estrogen-sensitive cancers. Importantly, nutritional interventions can help raise Estronex 2/16 ratios and decrease long-term risk.

Fats: compounds composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms that serve as the primary stored fuel source for the body.  Elevated insulin levels interfere with the body’s ability to metabolize fats for energy and cause excess calories to be stored as body fat.

Free radicals: highly reactive, imbalanced molecules that are the byproducts of normal metabolism and are associated with the degenerative aging process.  Free radicals are also produced by exposure to tobacco, alcohol, environmental pollutants, heavy metals, chemical toxins, stress, radiation, strenuous exercise and a poor diet.

Glucose: The simplest form of sugar that circulates in the bloodstream and is used as fuel by cells.  Glucose is the primary fuel used by the brain and is stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen.

Glycation: The process of cross-linking in which sugar attaches to protein and causes loss of elasticity and decline in skin tone and other organ functions, contributing to degenerative diseases.

Glycemic index:a measure of how quickly carbohydrates are digested and absorbed into the circulation.  The higher the glycemic index, the faster the digestion of the carbohydrates which, in turn, produces a greater and faster rise in blood sugar and insulin levels.

Glycemic load is even more important in determining the blood sugar and insulin response to a meal.  Glycemic load is the glycemic index of a food multiplied by its carbohydrate content.  For example, the glycemic index for pasta and broccoli is very similar but the glycemic load for one cup of pasta is twenty times that of one cup of broccoli:

Glycogen: The form in which carbohydrates (glucose) are stored in the liver and muscles for future energy use.

HeartSmart IMTplus: utilizes carotid artery ultrasound to assess the presence and progression of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease at its earliest stages.  Intima-Media Thickness (IMT) of the artery wall is one of the major manifestations of atherosclerotic heart disease.  It is one of the most predictive tests available for calculating an individual’s likelihood of suffering a heart attack or stroke.  The IMT test is endorsed by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology as a proven technique for the early detection of atherosclerotic heart disease.

Hormones: Biological compounds, usually a peptide or steroid, produced by one tissue and conveyed through the bloodstream to another tissue to effect physiological change, such as growth or metabolism. See specific hormones.

Hydrogenated fats: Considered the unhealthiest fats, these contain an added hydrogen atom to make them solid at room temperature and increase the shelf life of the processed foods and commercially baked good in which they are contained.

Hypothalamus: A walnut-sized gland in the brain responsible for regulating body temperature, water balance, sugar and fat metabolism, and the release of hormones for other glands in the body.

Insulin resistance: A condition in which cells no longer respond well to insulin, usually due to chronically elevated insulin levels in response to a diet rich in easily digested carbohydrates.

Metabolic syndrome: A condition in which the body’s metabolism rate is altered due to insulin resistance.  Characteristics of the syndrome include: elevated triglycerides, decreased HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, high insulin levels with insulin resistance and obesity.? ?Monounsaturated fats:  Produced by plants, these are the healthiest fats, and tend to liquid at room temperature.

Osteopenia: is a condition of lower than normal bone mineral density but not low enough to be classified as osteoporosis. It is a precursor to osteoporosis.

Oxidative cell damage – a byproduct of the natural process of turning oxygen into needed energy in our bodies is the production of toxins called “free radicals”.  These molecules can damage cells and our genetic material (DNA).  They are counteracted by antioxidants.   Free radical or oxidative cell damage has been implicated in several age-associated diseases.  some researchers have suggested that it may be the central cause of the aging process itself.

Pituitary gland: The gland at the base of the brain that controls and regulates most endocrine (hormonal) functions in the body.  It is intimately connected with the hypothalamus.

PLAC test: measures lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2), a vascular-specific inflammatory enzyme implicated in the formation of rupture-prone plaque. The PLAC test is not a stand-alone test for predicting heart disease or stroke. The test provides supportive information when used with clinical evaluation and other tools for patient risk assessment. Individuals with an elevated PLAC test may be at a two to three times greater risk of having coronary heart disease. Individuals with an elevated PLAC test and elevated blood pressure have a nearly 7-fold increased risk of stroke when compared with patients having lower PLAC test results. It is the only test FDA approved to aid in the detection of both heart disease and stroke due to atherosclerosis. It has been incorporated into the cardiovascular screening and disease prevention program for National Football League retirees.

Polyunsaturated fats: From plant sources and are liquid at room temperature.

Premarin: A synthetic estrogen made from horse urine.  Human females function on three types of estrogen:  estriol (90%), estrone (3%) and estradiol (7%).  Premarin contains no estriol but has disproportionate amounts of estrone (75-80%) and estradiol plus three equine estrogens found exclusively in horses.  A woman’s body contains all the necessary enzymes and co-factors to metabolize and process estriol, estrone and estradiol in their naturally occuring proportions; but lacks any means to process the equine (horse) estrogens.  This may contribute to the unatural feelings and untoward side effects many women experience on Premarin.

Provera: A synthetic estrogen (Premarin) plus synthetic progesterone-like drug (progestin) compound that has been shown to mitigate the cardiovascular protection afforded by estrogen replacement; unlike natural bioidentical progesterone.  It is associated with a long list of unpleasant side effects, including weight gain, breakthrough bleeding, breast tenderness and depression.

Resting metabolic rate (RMR): The rate at which the body burns calories each day.  It tends to get slower with age.

Silent inflammation –  insidious inflammation that remains below the threshold of perceived pain, while reaking havoc in one’s body for years.  The latest research has linked silent inflammation to the causes of chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, type-II diabetes, autoimmune diseases and Alzheimer’s disease.  Silent inflammation involves the overproduction of inflammatory producing eicosanoid hormones, insulin and cortisol.  There are clinical tests that can determine one’s level of silent inflmmation.  Appropriate dietary changes, quality supplemets and lifestyle modifications can reduce silent inflammation and one’s risk for chronic disease.

Syndrome X: Another name for metabolic syndrome.

Telomere: Special functional complexes located at the ends of chromosomes that are involved in maintaining genetic stability and in regulation of cellular lifespan. As cells divide and we age, telomeres progressively shorten. Telomere length is influenced by cancer, cardiovascular disease and age-related diseases. Age-adjusted telomere length is the best method to date to assess biological age versus chronological age.

VAP Test: The VAP® (Vertical Auto Profile) Test is the most accurate and comprehensive cholesterol test available today, reporting 15 separate components of blood cholesterol as opposed to four in a standard test. This more comprehensive test can identify a far greater number of lipid abnormalities (the #1 risk factor of heart disease) than the standard test and is the only cholesterol test to identify markers for Metabolic Syndrome, a precursor for diabetes. Risks of both Heart Disease and Diabetes can be reduced with the right preventative treatments, which is why more accurate diagnosis is critical.

Vitamins: Organic substances essential to the nutrition of most animals and plants.  We produce some vitamins in our body but need to obtain some from our food.

VO2 Max: refers to maximal oxygen consumption during exercise, the best estimate of cardiovascular fitness.

Women’s Health Initiative: A study designed by the National Institutes of Health and its National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to determine the effects of synthetic hormone therapy on heart disease, osteoporosis, breast and colorectal cancer in post-menopausal women, 50 to 79 years of age.  Published in 2002, that study has been criticized for its flawed design. More about the Women’s Health Initiative.

Hormones:

Cortisol: Produced in the adrenal gland to help control stress by inhibiting the formation of eicosanoid hormones.  It is intended as a short term response to stress but under chronic or constant stress situations,  persistently elevated cortisol levels can lead to insulin resistance, nerve cell death and impaired immune system functioning.

DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone): the most abundant natural steroid hormone in the blood stream.  It is produced by the adrenal glands.  It improves immune system, protects against heart disease and diabetes, improves memory, and cognition. In postmenopausal women DHEA improves mood and coping. It lowers cholesterol, decreases fat, lowers the incidence of blood clots, diabetes and heart disease.

Eicosanoid hormones: Anti-inflammatory eicosanoids are produced from omega-3 fatty acids, found in wild salmon, sardines, mackerel and ultra refined fish oil supplements.  These omega-3 fatty acids are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).  Pro-inflammatory eicosanoids are derived from omega-6 fatty acids, found in refined vegetable oils, hydrogenated oils, and grain-fed meats.  The primary  omega-6 fatty acid is arachadonic acid (AA).   The ratio of AA to EPA in blood is an accurate measure of silent inflammation. High levels of insulin exacerbate AA production leading to increased silent inflammation.  Excess body fat independently generates increased inflammatory hormones.

Estrogen: The main female sex hormone of which there are 3 types:  estrone (3%), estradiol (90%) and estriol (7%).  Estrone is the estrogen of menopause and is associated with a number of undesirable side effects.  Estradiol is the most abundant estrogen during reproductive years and is important for your skin, hair, energy metabolism and overall well being.  Estriol is the weakest of the estrogens but may be protective against breast cancer.

Growth hormone – is a protein hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary gland that declines with age.  Its major role is in stimulating the growth of cartilage, muscle and bone.  Growth hormone also enhances protein absorption and utilization, and enhances fat metabolism.  Some of the areas affected by its age related decline include a loss of lean muscle, an increase in fat, increasing cholesterol, loss of aerobic capacity, a compromised immune system, thinning of the bones, poor sleep, poor mood, poor memory, low energy, loss of elasticity of the skin, anxious mood and an inability to cope.

Insulin: A hormone that is the primary regulator of fat, carbohydrate and protein metabolism.  It regulates the synthesis of glycogen, stimulates the storage of fats in fat depots in the liver and inhibits the release of that fat.

Melatonin: produced in the pineal gland in the brain, it is a potent antioxidant, acts as an antidepressant and plays a significant role in regulating sleep.

Progesterone: a female hormone produced in the ovaries, adrenal gland and placenta (during pregnancy).  Natural progesterone can act as a natural tranquilizer in the brain. It helps to normalize sleep.  Progesterone acts as a natural diuretic, lowers cholesterol and can reduce blood pressure.  It balances the effect of estrogen to protect against endometrial cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Pregnenolone: Considerd the grandmother of hormones, it exhibits potent anti-inflammatory properties, improves memory, cognitive function, and increases endurance.  It is the first steroid hormone produced from cholesterol and functions as precursor for all steroid hormones ( DHEA, testosterone, estrogen & progesterone).

Testosterone: A steroid hormone produced by the testes (men) and ovaries (women).  It is the anabolic signal for muscle and bone growth, it stimulates energy production and enhances sex drive.  It has a direct inflammation reducing effect.

Thyroid hormone: Produced in the thyroid gland, it controls cell growth and metabolism, improves heart and vascular health, renews energy, affects concentration, regulates body temperature and has an affect on cholesterol levels.

Telomerase: An enzyme that elongates telomeres by adding DNA base pairs to the end of the chromosome. It is generally inactive in human somatic cells leading to cellular aging. It is active in fetal cells, adult immune cells and highly active in tumor cells.

Omega-3-index: Measures the Omega-3 Index, a new measure of heart health and a better predictor of heart disease risk than cholesterol

Cardiopulmonary Exercise Stress Test (CPET): A physiologic technique that measures oxygen transport and utilization during an electrocardiographically monitored exercise test. This accurately detects sub-clinical heart disease in asymptomatic individuals as well as detecting cardiac dysfunction in both macrovascular and microvascular coronary artery disease.

Micronutrient Testing: Measures the ability of your cells to grow in a variety of nutrient deficient conditions. It is the best measure of actual functional intracellular nutrient deficiencies, rather than just the concentration in blood.

Osteoporosis: means “porous bones,” is a disease that causes bones to become fragile and more likely to fracture from a fall or even mild stresses like bending over or coughing.