Sports Nutrition Guide: Section 9 - Glossary!

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Section 9: Glossary

Acetylcholine.
A neurotransmitter that is critical for optimum nervous-system functioning.

Adaptive overload stress.
A training method in which the body must adjust to increasingly greater amounts of resistance.

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
A compound that, when broken down, produces the energy that enables the muscles and other organs to function.

Adipose tissue.
The anatomical fat found in between the skin and muscle.

Aerobic.
With oxygen.

Aerobic activity.
A low-intensity, high-endurance activity that requires oxygen for production of energy and continuous work perform over long distances or periods of time.

Aerobic endurance.
The ability to maintain aerobic muscle output over long periods of time.

Alpha-linolenic acid.
An essential fatty acid.

Amine.
A nitrogen-containing compound in which at least one hydrogen atom has been replaced with a hydrocarbon radical.

Ammonia.
A nitrogen containing metabolic waste product.

Anabolism.
The biochemical process in which different molecules combine to form larger, more complex molecules and tissue building.

Anaerobic.
Without oxygen.

Anaerobic activity.
A high-intensity, low-endurance activity that requires bursts of energy for power or speed.

Anemia.
A condition in which the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood is reduced. It is the most common symptom of iron deficiency.

Anticatabolic.
Describing a substance the prevents catabolism.

Antioxidant.
A nutrient that has been found to seek out and neutralize free radicals in the body and to stimulate the body to recover more quickly from free-radical damage.

Arachidonic acid.
A fatty acid that becomes essential when a linoleic-acid deficiency exists.

Arteriosclerosis.
Hardening of the arteries.

Assimilation.
Conversion into living tissue.

Atherosclerosis.
A degenerative illness that causes hardening of the arteries.

Beta oxidation.
The metabolic process in which fatty acids are used to regenerate adenosine-triphosphate molecules; an oxidative energy system.

Bile.
A substance secreted by the liver that is essential for the digestion and absorption of fats and for the assimilation of calcium.

Bioavailability.
The ability of an ingested nutrient to cross from the digestive tract into the bloodstream and then from the bloodstream into the cells in which it will be utilized.

Biological value (BV).
Both the biological efficiency of a protein and any of a number of methods used to measure a protein's biological efficiency.

Blood buffer.
A substance that helps maintain the ph balance in the blood.

Blood plasma.
The liquid part of the blood; the substance in the blood that carries the red blood cells.

Blood-brain barrier.
A semipermeable membrane that keeps the blood that is circulating in the brain away from the tissue fluids surrounding the brain cells.

Calorie.
A unit of measurement used to express the energy value of food. The technical definition for one calorie is the amount of heat required at a pressure of one atmosphere to raise the temperature of one gram of water one degree Celsius from 14.5 to 15.5 degrees Celsius. The unit used in nutritional work is the large calorie (Cal) or kilocalorie (kcal), which is the amount to raise 1 kilogram of water 1 degree Celsius, from 14.5 to 15.5 degrees Celsius. There is about 3,500 calories of energy in 1 pound of body fat. The conversion of calories to joules is made by multiplying calories by 4.184.

Cannibalization.
The breakdown of muscle tissue by the body for the purpose of obtaining amino acids for other metabolic purposes.

Capillary.
A tiny blood vessel through which nutrients and waste products travel between the bloodstream and the body's cells.

Carbohydrate drink.
A sports beverage designed to replenish the glycogen (energy) stores and provide energy substrates to exercising muscles.

Carbon dioxide.
A metabolic waste product from the breakdown of carbon based molecules.

Carcinogen.
A substance that is either proven or suspected to cause cancer in humans or laboratory animals.

Catabolism.
The biochemical process in which complex molecules are broken down for energy production, recycling of their components, or excretion.

Catecholamine.
One of the substances that function, primarily as neurotransmitters, in the sympathetic and central nervous systems. The substances include dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine.

Cell membrane.
The outer boundary of a cell. Also called the plasma membrane.

Cellular replication.
The process in which a cell is duplicated for the purpose of creating a new cell.

Cellular uptake.
Absorption by the cells.

Chromosome.
A unit, located within the cell nucleus that contains all of a person's genetic information, in the form of genes.

Coenzyme.
An enzyme cofactor.

Cofactor.
A substance that must be present for another substance to be able to perform a certain function.

Collagen.
A simple protein that is the chief component of connective tissue.

Complete protein.
A protein that contains the essential amino acids in amounts sufficient for the maintenance of normal growth rate and body weight.

Connective tissue.
Tissue that either supports other tissue or joins tissue to tissue, muscle to bone, or bone to bone. It includes cartilage, bone, tendons, ligaments, reticular tissue, areolar tissue, adipose tissue, blood, bone marrow, and lymph.

Contraction.
The development of tension within a muscle. The two kinds are isotonic, in which the muscle shortens as it becomes tense, and isometric, in which the muscle does not shorten as it becomes tense.

Cortisol.
A hormone secreted by the adrenal glands that stimulates catabolism.

Creatine phosphate.
A compound produced in the body, stored in the muscle fibers, and broken down by enzymes to quickly replenish the adenosine-triphosphate stores.

Creatinine.
A waste product of creatine metabolism.

Cross-link.
An undesirable bond between molecules that is induced by free radicals and results in deformed molecules that cannot function properly.

Cytoplasm.
The liquid between the cell membrane and nuclear membrane of a cell. Also called the cytosol.

Degenerative illness.
An illness that causes the body to deteriorate. Examples are cancer and arthritis.

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
The substance in the cell nucleus that contains the cell's genetic blueprint and determines the type of life form into which the cell will develop.

Diabetes.
Diabetes mellitus. A condition in which the body does not properly metabolize carbohydrates due to a lack of or resistance against insulin.

Digestive enzyme.
An enzyme that acts as catalysts for the breakdown of food components.

Di-peptide. Two amino acids linked together.

Disaccharide.
A simple carbohydrate composed of two sugar molecules.

Diuretic.
A substance that increases urination.

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
An omega-3 fatty acid.

Dopamine.
A catecholamine that often functions as a neurotransmitter.

Ectomorph.
The slim, linear body type.

Eicosanoid.
One of a group of substances that help regulate a wide diversity of physiological processes.

Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). An omega-3 fatty acid.

Electrolyte balance.
The ratio of chloride, potassium, sodium, and the other electrolytes in the body.

Emulsifier.
A substance that, during digestion, helps make fats soluble in aqueous mediums.

Endomorph.
The soft round body type, with tendency for excess body fat.

Endurance.
The ability to continue physical activity without undue discomfort.

Endurance sport.
A sport that requires the ability to perform for long periods of time at low intensities, such as marathon running and cross-country skiing.

Energy metabolism.
A series of chemical reactions that break down foodstuffs and thereby produce energy.

Energy supplement.
A supplement designed to enhance the mental or physical energy levels.

Energy system.
A sequence of metabolic reactions that produces energy.

Enteric coating.
A coating on tablets that delays digestion of the tablets until they pass from the stomach into the intestines.

Enzyme.
One of a group of protein catalysts that initiate or speed chemical reactions in the body.

Epinephrine.
A hormone secreted by the adrenal gland that prepares the body for the fight-or-flight reaction.

Essential nutrient.
A nutrient that the body cannot produce itself or that it cannot produce in sufficient amounts to maintain good health.

Excitatory neurotransmitter.
A neurotransmitter that acts as a stimulant to the brain or other parts of the nervous system.

Extracellular.
Outside the cell.

Fast-twitch muscle fibers.
Muscle fibers that contract quickly, providing short bursts of energy, and therefore are used when strength and power are needed.

Fat cell.
A cell that stores fatty acids for energy.

Fat soluble.
Capable of being dissolved in lipid and organic solvents.

Free radical.
One of the highly reactive molecules that are known to injure cell membranes, cause defects in the de-oxyribonucleic acid (DNA), and contribute to the aging process and a number of degenerative illnesses. Free radicals are byproducts of normal chemical reactions in the body that involve oxygen.

Free-form amino acids.
Amino acids that are in their free state, or single.

Fructose.
A simple carbohydrate that is a monosaccharide; also called levulose or fruit sugar.

Gluconeogenesis.
The metabolic process in which glucose is synthesized.

Glucose.
A simple carbohydrate that is a monosaccharide. Also called dextrose or grape sugar.

Glucose polymer.
A processed form of polysaccharides, or complex carbohydrates.

Glucose-alanine cycle.
An important biochemical process that occurs during exercise to produce energy. Glycogen is broken down to glucose and then to pyruvate, some of which is used directly for energy and the remainder of which is converted to alanine. The alanine is returned to the liver and stored as glucose, then once again broken down to glycogen and then to pyruvate.

Glycogen.
A complex carbohydrate that occurs only in animals; the form in which glucose is stored in the body.

Glycogen depletion.
The draining of the body's glycogen stores.

Glycogen replenishment.
The refilling of the body's glycogen stores.

Glycogen sparing.
The saving of glycogen by the body for other functions.

Glycogen-bound water.
The water that is stored in the muscles along with glycogen. About 3 grams of water must be stored with every 1 gram of glycogen.

Glycogenolysis.
The metabolic process in which glycogen is broken down.

Glycolysis.
The metabolic process in which glucose divided in half to pyruvate or lactic acid.

Glycolytic energy systems.
The energy systems that produce energy through glycolysis. They include nonoxidative glycolysis and oxidative glycolysis.

Glycoprotein.
A conjugated protein found in blood.

Glycosaminoglycans (gags).
Long chains of modified sugars that are the main component of proteoglycan.

Gram.
A measurement of weight equal to approximately one twenty-eighth of an ounce.

Hard gainer.
A person who has trouble gaining weight.

Hemoglobin.
The oxygen carrier in red blood cells.

Hemolytic anemia.
A condition in which the hemoglobin becomes separated from the red blood cells.

Hemorrhage.
Bleed excessively.

Hitting the wall.
The sensation felt by marathon runners when they deplete their body's glycogen stores and begin running primarily on stored body fat.

Homeostasis.
The tendency of the body to maintain an internal equilibrium.

Hyaluronic acid.
The principal glycosaminoglycan in proteoglycan.

Hydrogenation.
The process in which unsaturated fatty acids are saturated with hydrogen atoms to make them more solid.

Hydrolyzed protein.
A protein that has already been broken down, usually by enzymes, and is a mixture of free-form, di-peptide, and tri-peptide amino acids.

Hydrostatic weighing.
A method for determining body composition that involves weighing the body under water.

Hypertension. High blood pressure.

Hypoglycemia.
Low blood sugar levels.

Immediate energy systems.
The nonoxidative energy systems that supply immediate energy for bursts of power through the use of immediately available adenosine triphosphate and creatine phosphate.

Immunoglobulin.
A protein that functions as an antibody in the body's immune system.

Incomplete protein.
A protein that is usually deficient in one or more of the essential amino acids. Most plant proteins are incomplete.

Insulin resistance.
A condition in which the body is resistant against the effects of insulin.

Insulin-like growth factors (IGF).
Substances that promote growth in the muscles.

Intermediary.
A substance that plays a role in the middle of a biochemical process.

International unit (IU).
A measure of potency based on an accepted international standard. It is usually used with beta-carotene and vitamins A, D, and E. Because it is a measure of potency, not weight or volume, the number of milligrams in an IU varies, depending on the substance being measured.

Interstitial spaces.
The tiny spaces between tissues or organ parts.

Intracellular.
Inside the cell.

Involuntary muscle.
A muscle that acts independently of the will, like the smooth muscles of the digestive system.

Ketone.
An acidic substance produced during the incomplete metabolism of fatty acids.

Lactic acid.
A byproduct of glycolysis.

Lean body mass.
All of a body's tissues apart from the body fat-the bones, muscles, organs, blood, and water. Also called fat-free mass.

Limiting nutrient.
A nutrient that has the ability, through its absence or presence, to restrict the utilization of other nutrients or the functioning of the body.

Linoleic acid. An essential fatty acid.

Lipolysis.
The process in which lipids are broken down into their constituent fatty acids.

Lipoprotein.
A conjugated protein that transports cholesterol and fats in the blood.

Lipotropic agent.
A substance that prevents fatty buildup in the liver and helps the body metabolize fat more efficiently.

Lymphatic fluid.
A clear fluid derived from blood plasma that circulates throughout the body to nourish tissue cells and to return waste matter to the bloodstream.

Lymphatic system.
The system of vessels that carries the lymphatic fluid through the body.

Macronutrient.
One of the nutrients that are required daily in large amounts and that are thought of in quantities of ounces and grams. They include carbohydrates, protein, lipids, and water.

Macronutrient modulation.
The practice of varying the ratio of the macronutrients in the diet to meet specific metabolic needs to enhance performance. Also called macronutrient manipulation.

Malabsorption.
Incorrect absorption.

Medium-chain fatty acid.
A fatty acid with a chain of six to twelve carbon atoms.

Megadose.
An extremely large dose.

Mesomorph.
The muscular body type.

Metabolic booster.
A substance whose digestion causes the body to produce more than the normal amount of energy. Also called thermogenic aid.

Metabolic pathway.
A sequence of metabolic reactions.

Metabolic rate.
The body's total daily caloric expenditure.

Metabolic water.
The water that is produced in the body as a result of energy production.

Microgram.
A measurement of weight equal to one one-thousandth of a milligram.

Micronutrient.
One of the nutrients present in the diet and the body in small amounts. Micronutrients are measured in milligrams and micrograms. They include the vitamins and minerals.

Microtrauma.
Small but widespread tears in the muscle cells from training stress.

Milligram.
A measurement of weight equal to one one-thousandth of a gram.

Mitochondrion.
The organelle that produces the cellular energy required for metabolism.

Monosaccharide.
A simple carbohydrate composed of one sugar molecule, such as glucose and fructose.

Monounsaturated fatty acid.
A fatty acid that has one unsaturated carbon molecule.

Muscle fiber.
A long muscle cell.

Muscle mass.
Muscle tissue.

Muscle tissue.
Tissue that has the ability to contract, either voluntarily or involuntarily. It can be striated or smooth. The three kinds are skeletal muscle tissue, cardiac muscle tissue, and smooth muscle tissue.

Neurotransmitter.
A chemical substance that helps transmit nerve impulses.

Nonessential nutrient.
A nutrient that is not considered essential-that is, a nutrient that the body does make in sufficient amounts to maintain good health.

Nonoxidative energy systems.
The systems that supply energy for high-intensity, low-endurance activities lasting up to several minutes, such as powerlifting and sprinting. They include the immediate energy systems and nonoxidative glycolysis.

Nonoxidative glycolysis.
The metabolic process in which a glucose molecule is split in half to regenerate adenosine diphosphate back into adenosine triphosphate; a nonoxidative energy system that is the major contributor of energy during near-maximum efforts lasting up to about one and a half minutes.

Norepinephrine.
A hormone secreted by the adrenal glands for a number of purposes and also released by the sympathetic nerve endings as a neurotransmitter.

Nuclear membrane.
The membrane surrounding the cell nucleus.

Nucleus.
The control center of the cell where DNA is found.

Organelle.
One of the variety of components that make up a cell. The organelles include the cell membrane, nucleus, ribosome, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, lysosome, and mitochondrion.

Organic.
Biologically produced and containing carbon atoms as part of its structure.

Oxidation.
A chemical reaction in which an atom or molecule loses electrons or hydrogen atoms.

Oxidation-reduction reaction.
A chemical reaction in which one substance loses electrons or hydrogen atoms while, at the same time, another substance gains electrons or hydrogen atoms.

Peptide-bonded amino acids.
Amino acids that are linked together.

Polypeptide.
Four or more amino acids linked together.

Polysaccharide.
A complex carbohydrate.

Polyunsaturated fatty acid.
A fatty acid that has more than one unsaturated carbon molecule. Polyunsaturated fatty acids tend to be liquid at room temperature.

Precursor.
An intermediate substance in the body's production of another substance.

Protein supplement.
A supplement that supplies extra protein.

Pyruvate.
A compound that is produced during the glucose-alanine cycle. Some of the pyruvate that is produced is used directly for energy, while the remainder is converted back to alanine, which is eventually converted into glucose and used for energy.

Red blood cell.
The cell that carries the hemoglobin in blood.

Renal.
Pertaining to the kidneys.

Ribonucleic acid (RNA).
The substance that carries the coded genetic information from the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), in the cell nucleus, to the ribosomes, where the instructions are translated into the form of protein molecules.

Saturated fatty acid.
A fatty acid that has the maximum number of hydrogen atoms that it can hold, with no unsaturated carbon molecules. Saturated fatty acids tend to be solid at room temperature.

Short-chain fatty acid.
A fatty acid with a chain of four to five carbon atoms.

Skeletal muscle.
One of the muscles that work in conjunction with the skeletal system to create motion.

Skin-fold calipers.
The specialized calipers used to measure the thickness of skin folds.

Skin-fold measurement.
A method for determining body composition that involves measuring the thickness of selected folds of skin using special calipers.

Slow-twitch muscle fibers.
Muscle fibers that produce a steady, low-intensity, repetitive contraction and therefore are used when endurance is needed.

Sodium bicarbonate.
A bicarbonate that boosts performance in power sports.

Somatotropin.
Growth hormone.

Somatotype.
Body type, such as Ectomorphic, Mesomorphic, and Endomorphic.

Sports rehydration drink.
A drink that replaces water, glucose, and the electrolytes after exercising.

Sports nutrition supplement.
A dietary supplement with nutritive, health and ergogenic benefits.

Starch.
A complex carbohydrate that occurs only in plants, consisting of chains of glucose. Superoxide dismutase. An major antioxidant molecule that occurs in the human body.

Sustained-release tablet.
A tablet that releases its contents slowly and continuously over an extended period of time.

Synthesis.
Formation.

Thermogenesis.
The process by which the body generates heat from energy production.

Thermogenic response.
The rise in the metabolic rate. Also known as the thermogenic effect or specific dynamic action (SDA).

Transamination reaction.
The process in which an amino group is transferred from an amino acid to a molecule, usually to produce another amino acid.

Transmethylation.
The metabolic process in which an amino acid donates a methyl group to another compound.

Tri-peptide.
Three amino acids linked together.

Ultra-endurance event.
An event lasting longer than two hours.

Urea cycle.
The metabolic process in which ammonia is converted to the waste product urea, which is then excreted from the body.

Uric acid.
A metabolic waste product.

Vasodilator.
A substance that increases blood flow.

Very long chain fatty acid.
A fatty acid with a chain of twenty or more carbon atoms.

Voluntary muscle.
A muscle that responds to an act of the will.

Water soluble.
Capable of being dissolved in water.


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Notice and Disclaimer: This sports nutrition guide and related articles and seminar series are not intended for use as a substitute for consultation with a qualified medical practitioner. If you have symptoms of any illness or injury, it is essential that you see your doctor immediately for proper treatment.

This information is for education and entertainment purposes only. We strongly recommend that you consult a physician before beginning any exercise program and nutrition program. You should understand that participating in any exercise program can result in physical injury and you agree to do so at your risk.