A common intermediate containing coenzyme A playing a crucial role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
Adequate Intake. In case that sufficient scientific evidence is not available to set an EAR, a reference intake called Adequate Intake (AI) is used instead of an RDA .The AI is based on experimentally derived intake levels or approximations of observed mean nutrient intakes by a group of healthy people. Both, the RDA and the AI are to be used as the goal for the intake of an individual. However, there is much less certainty about the numerical AI value than about an RDA value. The setting of an AI is to be considered as an indication that substantial more research is required to be able to have assessed an EAR and to have an RDA calculated. See also DRIs .
A carotenoid found in carrots and certain other vegetables. Its provitamin A activity is weaker than that of beta-carotene. Studies have shown that several carotenoids other than beta-carotene are potent antioxidants that provide profound health benefits.
The building blocks from which proteins are made. Dietary amino acids are classified as essential or non-essential. Essential amino acids (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine) cannot be manufactured by the body and must be supplied in the diet. The non-essential amino acids are also essential for health, but can be synthesized in the body.
Vitamins with antioxidant capabilities that stabilize free radicals. Beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E are the best known examples.
A compound that protects other compounds or tissues from damage caused by oxygen or free radicals.
A water-soluble vitamin essential for the formation of collagen and fibrous tissue for normal intercellular matrices in teeth, bone, cartilage, connective tissue and skin, and for the structural integrity of capillary walls. It also aids in fighting bacterial infections. Ascorbic acid enhances iron absorption. It serves as an antioxidant and may help protect against certain cancers, cataracts and heart disease.
Adenosine triphosphate. The principal form of stored energy in the body. ATP is an energy reservoir and represents the major link between the energy-yielding (e.g. ?burning of food?) and the energy-demanding processes such as muscle work,
biosynthetic and transport processes.
A collective term for the water-soluble vitamin B substances (i.e. Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, Pyridoxine, Biotin, Folic acid and Cobalamin).
The most widely distributed carotenoid in nature and precursor of fat-soluble vitamin A found in plant foods. Beta-carotene has strong provitamin A activity. It is a stronger antioxidant than vitamin A.
Bioavailability is the rate and extent to which an active ingredient or therapeutic moiety is absorbed from a product and becomes available at the site of action.
A water-soluble member of the B-complex group of vitamins is also known as B8. Although there are eight different forms of biotin, only one, D-biotin, occurs naturally and has full vitamin activity. It is an essential coenzyme that assists in the making of fatty acids and in the burning of carbohydrates and fats for body heat and energy. Egg white contains a heat-labile protein, avidin, which combines very tightly with biotin, preventing its absorption and inducing biotin deficiency.
A trace element that may play a role in maintaining strong bones, affecting calcium and magnesium metabolism and proper membrane function. No RDA is established at the moment.
The body's most abundant essential mineral . Its primary function is to help build and maintain bones and teeth. Calcium is also important to heart health, nerves, muscles and skin. Calcium helps control blood acid-alkaline balance, plays a role in cell division, muscle growth and iron utilization, activates certain enzymes, and helps transport nutrients through cell membranes.
Any of various neutral compounds of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen as sugars, starches and celluloses. Most carbohydrates are formed by green plants by capturing the energy of sunlight and binding it into carbohydrates that they and all other organisms can then use for fuel. The simplest carbohydrates, called monosaccharides or simple sugars, have five or six carbons in a single ring (e.g. glucose ). Larger carbohydrates with two such rings in each molecule are called disaccharides (e.g. sucrose). And there are some forms of carbohydrates' such as glycogen, cellulose, and starches that have several (sometimes even hundreds) of the simple sugar molecules linked in a chain.
Yellow to red pigments that are widely distributed in plants. Of more than 600 carotenoids known to exist, about 50 can potentially yield vitamin A and are thus referred to as provitamin A carotenoids. Studies have shown that several carotenoids other than beta-carotene are potent antioxidants that provide profound health benefits.
Chloride is an essential negatively charged electrolyte in the extracellular fluid compartment and is needed for maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance and is furthermore a necessary component of the gastric juice in the stomach. Under normal circumstances, dietary deficiency of chloride does not occur. Chloride loss tends to parallel losses of sodium hence conditions associated with sodium depletion such as heavy persistent sweating, chronic diarrhea or vomiting and renal disease will also cause chloride loss. Dietary chloride comes almost entirely from sodium chloride (salt) and is thus found in processed foods as the major source.
The main form of vitamin D from animal origin.
Chromium is an essential trace element that potentiatesinsulin action and thus influences carbohydrate, lipid and protein metabolism.
Cobalamin (Vitamin B12) has a complex ring structure (corrin ring) to which cobalt is added in the center and belongs to the B-complex. Cobalamin is essential for the normal functioning of all body cells, especially those of bone marrow, gastrointestinal tract and nervous system. It is also necessary for the formation of red blood cells. It also prevents pernicious anemia and is necessary to a healthy nervous system. In addition, it is involved in synthesis of genetic material ( DNA ). It interacts with folic acid metabolism.
A trace element required for synthesis of cobalamin.
An organic cofactor required for the action of certain enzymes; often contains a vitamin as a component.
A pantothenic acid -containing coenzyme serving as an acyl group carrier in certain enzymatic reactions. Plays a key role in metabolism, particularly energy metabolism.
An inorganic ion or a coenzyme required for enzyme activity.
An insoluble fibrous protein that occurs in vertebrates as the chief constituent of connective tissue fibrils and in bones. Ascorbic acid is required for its synthesis.
Copper, an essential trace element, is widely distributed in biological tissues, where it occurs largely in the form of organic complexes, many of which are metalloproteins and function as enzymes. Copper enzymes are involved in a variety of metabolic reactions, such as the utilisation of oxygen during cell respiration and energy production. They are also involved in the synthesis of essential compounds, such as the complex proteins of connective tissues of the skeleton and blood vessels, and in a range of neuroactive compounds concerned in nervous tissue function. Copper is involved in iron incorporation into hemoglobin.
A lack or defect, a shortage of substances necessary to health. Lack of essential dietary elements such as vitamins can cause deficiency diseases such as scurvy, rickets etc.
Deoxyribonucleic acid, the genetic material of the cell residing in the nucleus that controls heredity and directs cellular processes.
Dietary Reference Intakes. The approach by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine of the United States to have defined Dietary Reference Intake (DRIs) represents a new paradigm for the nutritional community. The term DRIs is a collective name and refers to a set of at least four nutrient-based reference values whereby each of which has special use. The DRIs are quantitative estimates of nutrient intakes to be used for planning and assessing nutrient status of healthy people.
The reference values include:
EAR: Estimated Average Requirement
RDA: Recommended Dietary Allowance
AI: Adequate Intake
UL: Tolerable Upper Intake Level
Estimated Average Requirement. The EAR is the daily nutrient intake value that is estimated to meet the requirement in 50 % of the individuals in a life-stage and gender group defined by a specified indicator of adequacy. In deriving the EARs, contemporary concepts on the reduction of risk of chronic disease are among the factors considered. As a consequence, when the scientific database was available and convincing, the reference values are no longer based solely upon the avoidance of nutrient deficiencies.
The EAR is used as the basis in setting the RDA. If sufficient scientific evidence is NOT available to assess an EAR, no RDA will be set. The EAR may be used as one factor for assessing the adequacy of intakes of population groups and for planning adequate intakes by groups. See also DRIs.
A substance that separates into ions when fused or in solution, and thus becomes capable of conducting electricity; an ionic solute.
The capability of doing work; different forms of energy can be converted to other forms, but the total amount of energy remains the same. All processes that sustain life require energy. Carbohydrates, fats and proteins in food are the fuel needed to carry out all processes. The energy of food has to be transformed into a form that can easily be used in our body for nearly all energy-requiring processes. This form of stored energy is called ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Vitamins and minerals play a key role in transforming food energy into ATP.
A substance, mainly a protein, that causes a chemical reaction to go faster, but is not itself changed during the reaction. Enzymes accelerate reactions by a factor of at least a million and are a prerequisite for life. They often need vitamins and minerals as coenzymes and cofactors.
The main form of vitamin D from plant origin.
Necessary, of utmost importance. Vitamins and minerals are essential to humans, i.e. they are manufactured in the body in insufficient quantities or not at all and thus have to be supplied by external sources, such as the diet.
A chemical compound containing one or more fatty acids. Fat is one of the three main constituents of food (the others are protein and carbohydrate ) and an important energy source. It is also the principal form in which energy is stored in the body.
Fluoride is a trace element needed for maintenance of teeth (it prevents dental caries) and bone structure. The status of fluoride as an essential nutrient has been debated. The contradictory results did not justify a classification of fluoride as an essential element, according to accepted standards. Nevertheless, because of its valuable effects on dental health, fluoride is a beneficial element for humans.
Also known as vitamin B9 it belongs to the vitamin B-complex. Needed for normal growth and development, it has an essential role in the formation of heme (the iron containing protein in hemoglobin necessary for the formation of red blood cells ). Folic acid is essential during pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects in the developing fetus. May reduce the risk of heart disease. It interacts with cobalamin.
Unstable and highly reactive species that contain one or more unpaired electrons (electrons are usually paired). Free radicals are generated in the body through normal metabolic processes and via exposure to exogenous sources such as cigarette smoke, environmental pollutants and ultraviolet light. Most free radicals in the body contain oxygen. Free radicals can damage DNA, proteins, lipids and cell membranes. Increased amounts of free radicals are believed to be involved in extensive damage to the body, including aging cancer, heart disease and arthritis.
A herb; Ginkgo biloba has been used in Chinese medicine for 5000 years to address the health of the brain and respiratory tract. Modern clinical use focuses on ginkgo biloba?s positive effect on memory and mental function, on circulation and as an antioxidant. In traditional Chinese herbology, tea made from ginkgo seeds has been used, whereas in the 1950s researchers started to investigate the medical possibilities of ginkgo leaf extracts.
There are actually three different herbs commonly called ginseng: Asian or Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng), American ginseng (Panax quinqefolium) and Siberian 'ginseng' (Eleutherococcus senticosus). The latter herb is actually not ginseng at all, but Russian scientists believe that it functions identically. Panax ginseng root extracts have long been used in traditional Chinese medicine to restore and enhance well-being. Ginseng is widely available as OTC food supplement and modern therapeutic claims refer to vitality, immune function, cancer, cardiovascular disease and sexual function.
A simple carbohydrate consisting of 6 carbon atoms in a single ring structure.
A large polysaccharide consisting of chains of glucose residues. It constitutes the major carbohydrate reserve of animals, stored primarily in liver and muscle, and is synthesized and degraded for energy as demanded.
An iron containing substance/component of vertebrate red blood cells, functioning in oxygen transport from the lungs to the tissues where it is needed e.g. for burning food (i.e. for transforming food energy into ATP).
Natural remedies derived from whole plants as well as from plant roots, leaves, seeds, stems and other parts. Herbs are still the basis for Chinese medicine and are important constituents of many European natural remedies.
In vitro is Latin for "in water" and refers to biological testing which occurs outside a living organism, such as in a test tube.
In vivo is Latin which refers to biological testing which is performed in living organisms (animals or humans).
An essential trace element that is an integral part of the thyroid hormones, thyroxin and triodothyronine which have important metabolic roles in regulating growth, development and energy metabolism. The best known iodine deficiency symptom is goiter.
An atom or group of atoms that has acquired an electric charge through the gain or loss of an electron or electrons.
An essential trace element. Prevents anemia: as a constituent of hemoglobin, transports oxygen throughout the body. Virtually all of the oxygen used by cells in the life process are brought to the cells by the hemoglobin of red blood cells . Iron is a small but most vital component of the hemoglobin in 20,000 billion red blood cells, of which 115 million are formed every minute. It also facilitates the transfer of electrons in the respiratory chain and is thus important in ATP synthesis. The amount needed is higher in women of childbearing age.
A chemical compound characterized by the fact that it is insoluble in water. Both fat and cholesterol are members of the lipid family.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a key role in a wide range of fundamental cellular reactions. The chief function of magnesium is to activate certain enzymes, especially those related to carbohydrate metabolism but also synthesis of fatty acids and proteins. Another role is to maintain the electrical potential across nerve and muscle membranes. It is essential for proper heartbeat and nerve transmission. Magnesium controls many cellular functions. It is involved in protein formation, DNA production and function and in the storage and release of energy in ATP. Magnesium is closely related to calcium and phosphorus in body function. It is the fifth mineral in abundance within the body-behind calcium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium. Although about 70 percent of the body's magnesium is contained in the teeth and bones, its most important functions are carried out by the remainder which is present in the cells of the soft tissues and in the fluid surrounding those cells.
Manganese is an essential trace element to several critical enzymes necessary for energy production, bone and blood formation, nerve function and protein metabolism. It is involved in the metabolism of fats and glucose and in the production of cholesterol. It is also involved in the building and degrading of proteins and nucleic acid (DNA, RNA), biogenic amine metabolism, which involves the transmitting of nerve impulses and is also necessary for RNA chain initiation.
Microgram - a metric unit of measurement, l/1,000,000 of a gram.
Synonym for Vitamin K2, is synthesized by bacteria in the intestinal tract of humans and various animals.
The sum of all the chemical and physical changes that take place within the body and enable its continued growth and functioning.
Milligram - a metric unit of measurement, l/1000 of a gram.
An inorganic (i.e. neither animal nor plant) substance. Plays a vital role in regulating many body functions. They act as catalysts in nerve response, muscle contraction and the metabolism of nutrients in foods. They regulate electrolyte balance and hormonal production, and they strengthen skeletal structures. Examples are calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.
An essential trace element. It is a key component of at least three enzymes: xanthine oxidase, aldehyde oxidase and sulfite oxidase. These enzymes are involved in DNA and RNA metabolism and production of uric acid.
A formulation containing several vitamins or minerals resp.
The term niacin refers to both nicotinic acid and its amide derivative, nicotinamide (niacinamide) which both occur widely in nature. A coenzyme B-complex vitamin that assists in the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Essential for the health of the skin, tongue and digestive system.
Non-essential trace element. Nickel may function as cofactor or structural component in specific metalloenzymes in higher organisms, because such enzymes have been identified in bacteria, fungi, plants and invertebrates. It may have a function that involves a pathway using cobalamin and/or folic acid (both these vitamins affect signs of nickel deprivation in rats). Nickel may also interact with calcium as shown by in-vitro studies. Signs of deficiency have not been described for humans and no RDA is established at the moment.
A B-complex vitamin, constituent of coenzyme CoA . It plays a key role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats and is therefore important for the maintenance and repair of all cells and tissues. Another essential role of panothenic acid is its participation in the synthesis of fatty acids.
A chain of two or more amino acids covalently joined by 2 chemical bonds called peptide bonds.
Phosphorus is an essential mineral component of bone mineral. About 85% of the phosphorus in the adult body is found in bone. The second most abundant mineral in the body found in every living cell. It is involved in the proper functioning of both muscles and nerves and is a structural component of bones and teeth. It is needed for metabolic processes of all cells, to activate many other nutrients, and to form energy-storage and energy-releasing compounds. The phosphorus content of the body is approximately one percent of total body weight. Phosphorus combines with fats to form phospholipids which are components of cell membranes.
An essential electrolyte involved in the balance of fluid within the body. Our bodies contain more than twice as much potassium as sodium. About 98 percent of total body potassium is inside our cells. Only small amounts are present in plasma and interstitial fluid, but are of great physiological importance. Potassium is the principal cation (positively charged ion) of the fluid within cells. Potassium is important in controlling the activity of the heart, muscles, nervous system and just about every cell in the body. Potassium regulates the water balance and acid-base balance in the blood and tissues and is important in maintaining normal blood pressure.
A macromolecule composed of one or more polypeptide chains, each with a characteristic sequence of amino acids linked by peptide bonds. Proteins are the major source of building material for muscles, blood, skin, hair, nails and the internal organs. Some specialized proteins function as enzymes.
A precursor of vitamin A. Carotenoids whose vitamin A activity occurs only upon conversion to retinol within the body.
The term vitamin B6 is used to cover a group of compounds that are metabolically interchangeable, namely pyridoxol (the alcohol), pyridoxal (the aldehyde) and pyridoxamine (the amine). Pyridoxine plays a role as a coenzyme in the breakdown and utilization of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It facilitates the release of glycogen for energy from the liver and muscles. It also participates in the utilization of energy in the brain and nervous tissue and is essential for the regulation of the central nervous system.
Recommended Dietary Allowance. The first RDAs were published in 1943 by the National Research Council of the United States with the "objective to provide standards to serve as a goal for good nutrition". The RDAs were primarily recommendations thought to be adequate to meet the lowest continuing intake level to maintain adequate nutrition and to avoid nutrient deficiency (in case of vitamins the respective deficiencies with their known clinical signs). Naturally, the first edition of the RDAs has been up-dated several times, as new scientific data on nutrient requirements became available (10th edition was published in 1989 in the USA). Also in most of the other countries scientific expert groups have been set up in order to develop recommendations for nutrient intake. Over the recent years, attempts to harmonise the concepts of assessing scientific RDAs were in progress. Especially over the recent years, there emerged new research data providing an increased understanding of nutrient requirement and of food. Contemporary research studies address topics ranging from investigating the potential of nutrients in the prevention of classic nutritional deficiency diseases, but also to the reduction of risk of chronic diseases such as osteoporosis, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. In addition, research has progressed in other areas as well and it has been demonstrated that besides physiological factors such as gender, age, body size and composition and health status (pregnancy, lactation, diabetes, asthma, chronic infections) other factors may have to be considered when assessing nutrient requirements. Such factors may be related to life style (smoking, alcohol abuse, dieting), occupational factors, environmental conditions (ambient temperature, altitude, UV light exposure, exposure to bio-hazardous compounds) or to genetic/biological variations..
The RDA is the daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirement of nearly all (97 - 98 %) individuals in the life-stage and gender group. It is important to recognize that the RDA applies to individuals
and not to groups and that it is the goal for dietary intake by the individual. The EAR serves as the basis to calculate a RDA. If the standard deviation of the EAR is available, the RDA = EAR + 2 SDEAR or if data are insufficient to calculate a SD RDA = 1.2 x EAR. See also DRIs.
A measure of vitamin A activity used in statements of dietary standards. One RE equals 1m g of retinol or 6m g of beta-carotene.
Any of the hemoglobin-containing cells that carry oxygen to the tissues and are responsible for the red color of blood.
One of the two principal forms of vitamin A. Often used as synonym for vitamin A.
A B-complex vitamin that acts as a coenzyme that activates the breakdown and utilization of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It is essential for cellular oxidation and necessary for healthy skin and eyes.
Ribonucleic acid, the genetic material in the cell that regulates protein production.
Selenium is an essential trace element found in the soil in its inorganic form. Plants and microorganisms convert selenium to naturally organic forms, the only true nutritional source for humans. Selenium is involved primarily in enzymes that are antioxidants. Three selenium-containing enzymes are antioxidant peroxidases and a fourth selenium-containing enzyme is involved in thyroid hormone production. The prostate contains a selenium-containing protein and semen contains relatively large amounts of selenium. It may lower the risk of certain types of cancers.
A non-essential trace element. Tissues such as arteries, tendons, skin, connective tissue, cornea and sclera (white of the eye) contain relatively large amounts of silicon. Collagen, the protein glue that holds us together, contains silicon. While ascorbic acid functions as a catalyst in the formation of collagen, silicon is actually a structural part of collagen. Silicon containing substances are found in all cartilage and in the material binding cells together. Silicon may be needed for proper bone structure and growth. No RDA is established at the moment.
An essential electrolyte that our bodies regulate and conserve. Excess sodium retention increases the fluid volume (edema) and low sodium leads to less fluid and relative dehydration. The adult body averages a total content of over 100 grams of sodium. A small amount of sodium does get into cell interiors, but the major location of sodium is in the fluid immediately surrounding the cells, where it is the major cation (positively charged ion). The role of sodium in the extracellular fluid is maintaining osmotic equilibrium (the proper difference in ions dissolved in the fluids inside and outside the cell) and extracellular fluid volume. Additionally sodium is important in the regulation of acid-base balance, membrane potential of cells and it is involved in active transport processes across cell membranes.
A water-soluble vitamin from the B-complex also known as aneurine or antiberiberi factor. Thiamin acts as a coenzyme necessary for the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose, which is burned in the body for energy. It is essential for the functioning of the nervous system and muscles including the heart muscle.
A non-essential trace element. Animal studies with rats found that tin deficiency lead to poor growth, decreased food efficiency, depressed response to sound and changes in mineral concentrations in various organs. Nutritional requirements, if they exist, are very low and easily met by the levels naturally occurring in food, water and air. The evidence for requirements and essentiality is weak. No RDA is established at the moment.
An inorganic chemical element required by an organism in only trace amounts. Nutritionists prefer to call minerals either minerals or trace minerals/elements depending on the amount needed by the body. Examples are iron, copper, zinc etc.
Tolerable Upper Intake Level. The UL is the highest level of nutrient intake that is unlikely to pose any risk of adverse health effects to almost all individuals in the general population. See also DRIs
Non-essential trace element. Animal studies have reported depressed growth and impaired reproductive function with diets poor in vanadium. Nutritional requirements in humans, if they exist, are thought to be very low. The evidence for requirements and essentiality is weak. No RDA is established at the moment.
Vitamins are organic components essential in small amounts for normal physiologic and metabolic functioning of the body. Vitamins cannot be synthesized by humans and have to be supplied by the diet. Vitamins are natural components of food. By absence they can cause specific deficiency syndromes (e.g. scurvy, rickets). Vitamins regulate metabolic processes but do not provide energy or serve as building units.
A fat-soluble vitamin. It occurs in two principal forms in nature retinol, which is found only in animal sources, and certain carotenoids (provitamins), which are found only in plant sources. Plays an important part in the growth, differentiation and repair of body tissue, protects epithelial tissue, helps maintain the skin. It is also necessary for normal growth and formation of bones and teeth. Important component in the visual process of the eye, essential for night vision.
Vitamin D is the general name given to a group of fat-soluble compounds that are essential for maintaining the mineral balance in the body. Regulates the amount of calcium and phosphorus in the blood by improving their absorption and utilization. Necessary for normal growth and formation of bones and teeth. See also Ergocalciferol (D2) and Cholecalciferol (D3).
The term vitamin E covers eight fat-soluble compounds found in nature. Alpha-tocopherol is the most common and biologically the most active of these naturally occurring forms of vitamin E. As an antioxidant, it helps protect cell membranes, lipoproteins, fats and vitamin A from free radical attacks. Helps protect red blood cells and may help protect against heart disease, cataracts and certain cancers.
An essential trace element. The functions of zinc are enzymatic. There are more than 100 enzymes known to require zinc for their functions. These enzymes play roles in energy metabolism, protein synthesis, collagen formation, alcohol detoxification and sexual maturation. Zinc is also needed to get rid of lactic acid that builds up in working muscles. Zinc is involved in the health of the immune system, assists vitamin A utilization and is involved in the formation of bone and teeth. In the cell nuclei, zinc DNA proteins, so called "zinc-fingers" are observed.