Health Dictionary

adrenergic stimulation - click to expand

Adrenergic nerve cells utilize epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine (noradrenaline), or a similar substance as a neurotransmitter. 

Agave Nectar (also called agave syrup) is a sweetener commercially produced in Mexico and South Africa from several species of agave, including the Blue Agave (Agave tequilana), Salmiana Agave (Agave salmiana), Green Agave, Grey Agave, Thorny Agave, and Rainbow Agave. Agave nectar is sweeter than honey, though less viscous. Health Risks of Agave Nectar.

Agroecology is the application of ecological principles to the production of food, fuel, fiber, and pharmaceuticals. The term encompasses a broad range of approaches, and is considered a science, a movement, and a practice. Agroecologists study a variety of agroecosystems, and the field of agroecology is not associated with any one particular method of farming, whether it be organic, conventional, intensive or extensive. Agroecology is not defined by certain management practices, such as the use of natural enemies in place of insecticides, or polyculture in place of monoculture. 

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Additionally, agroecologists do not unanimously oppose technology or inputs in agriculture but instead assess how, when, and if technology can be used in conjunction with natural, social and human assets. Agroecologists study these four properties through an interdisciplinary lens, using natural sciences to understand elements of agroecosystems such as soil properties and plant-insect interactions, as well as using social sciences to understand the effects of farming practices on rural communities, economic constraints to developing new production methods, or cultural factors determining farming practices.

Allergic reactions are severe adverse reactions that occur when the body's immune system overreacts to a particular allergen. These reactions may be caused by food, insect stings and medications. In Canada, the nine priority food allergens are peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, milk, eggs, seafood (fish, crustaceans and shellfish), soy, wheat and sulphites (a food additive). 

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What are the symptoms of an allergic reaction?

When someone comes in contact with an allergen, the symptoms of a reaction may develop quickly and rapidly progress from mild to severe. The most severe form of an allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis. Symptoms can include breathing difficulties, a drop in blood pressure or shock, which may result in loss of consciousness and even death. A person experiencing an allergic reaction may have any of the following symptoms:

  • Flushed face, hives or a rash, red and itchy skin
  • Swelling of the eyes, face, lips, throat and tongue
  • Trouble breathing, speaking or swallowing
  • Anxiety, distress, faintness, paleness, sense of doom, weakness
  • Cramps, diarrhea, vomiting
  • A drop in blood pressure, rapid heart beat, loss of consciousness

Amino Acids are critical to life, and have many functions in metabolism. One particularly important function is to serve as the building blocks of proteins, which are linear chains of amino acids. Amino acids can be linked together in varying sequences to form a vast variety of proteins. Twenty-two amino acids are naturally incorporated into polypeptides and are called proteinogenic or standard amino acids. Of these, 20 are encoded by the universal genetic code. Eight standard amino acids are called essential for humans because they cannot be created from other compounds by the human body, and so must be taken in as food. The key elements of an amino acid are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen.

In humans, non-protein amino acids also have important roles as metabolic intermediates, such as in the biosynthesis of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid. Many amino acids are used to synthesize other molecules, for example:

  • Tryptophan is a precursor of the neurotransmitter serotonin.
  • Tyrosine is a precursor of the neurotransmitter dopamine.
  • Glycine is a precursor of porphyrins such as heme.
  • Arginine is a precursor of nitric oxide.
  • Ornithine and S-adenosylmethionine are precursors of polyamines.
  • Aspartate, glycine, and glutamine are precursors of nucleotides.
  • Phenylalanine is a precursor of various phenylpropanoids, which are important in plant metabolism.

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    Anaemia is the most common of blood disorders. It is the decrease in the number of red blood cells which produce hemoglobin that carries oxygen from the lungs to all the tissues of the body. it can also include a decrease in the oxygen-binding ability of hemoglobin molecules due to deformity or a numerical lack in development. All human cells depend on oxygen for survival. A lack in the number or function of hemoglobin leads to hypoxia (lack of oxygen) in organs.  There are three main classes of anaemia: excessive blood loss either through acute hemorrhage or chronic low-volume loss, excessive blood cell destruction (hemolysis), or a deficiency in red blood cell production.

    Anemia goes undetermined in many people, and symptoms can be minor or vague. The signs and symptoms can be related to the anemia itself, or the underlying cause.

    Most commonly, people with anemia report non-specific symptoms of a feeling of weakness, or fatigue, general malaise and sometimes poor concentration. They may also report dyspnea (shortness of breath) on exertion. In very severe anemia, the body may compensate for the lack of oxygen-carrying capability of the blood by increasing cardiac output. The patient may have symptoms related to this, such as palpitations, angina (if preexisting heart disease is present), intermittent claudication (tired or aching in the lower leg that occurs when walking and is relieved by rest and may also involve the feet, thighs, buttocks and arms) of the legs, and symptoms of heart failure.

    On examination, the signs exhibited may include pallor (pale skin, mucosal linings and nail beds) but this is not a reliable sign. There may be signs of specific causes of anemia, e.g., koilonychia (abnormally thin nails that become flat or concave in shape) in iron deficiency, jaundice (when anemia results from abnormal break down of red blood cells in hemolytic anemia), bone deformities (found in thalassaemia major) or leg ulcers (seen in Sickle-cell disease).

    In severe anemia, there may be signs of a hyperdynamic circulation: a fast heart rate (tachycardia), flow murmurs, and cardiac enlargement. There may be signs of heart failure.

    Pica, the consumption of non-food based items such as dirt, paper, wax, grass, ice, and hair, may be a symptom of iron deficiency, although it occurs often in those who have normal levels of hemoglobin.

    Chronic anemia may result in behavioral disturbances in children as a direct result of impaired neurological development in infants, and reduced scholastic performance in children of school age.

    Restless legs syndrome is more common in those with iron-deficiency anemia.

    Less common symptoms may include swelling of the legs or arms, chronic heartburn, vague bruises, vomiting, increased sweating, and blood in stool.

    Treatment for iron deficiency Vitamin C, folic acid and B12 aid in the absorption of iron. Iron absorption is negatively influenced by low nutrient, high calorie and high sugar refined foods and drinks. Damage to the intestines by gluten, in the case of gluten-intolerant individuals, affects the proper absorption of iron.  

    What foods provide iron?
    There are two forms of dietary iron: heme and nonheme. Heme iron is derived from hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to cells. Heme iron is found in animal foods that originally contained hemoglobin, such as red meats, fish, and poultry. Iron in plant foods such as lentils, beans, molasses, spinach, raisins, soybeans and tofu is arranged in a chemical structure called nonheme iron. This is the form of iron added to iron-enriched and iron-fortified foods. Heme iron is absorbed better than nonheme iron, but most dietary iron is nonheme iron.

    Anaerobic exercise is intense enough to trigger lactic acid formation. It is used by athletes in non-endurance sports to promote strength, speed and power and by body builders to build muscle mass. Muscle energy systems trained using anaerobic exercise develop differently compared to aerobic exercise, leading to greater performance in short duration, high intensity activities.

    Ankylosing Spondylitis is a form of spondyloarthritis, a chronic, inflammatory arthritis and autoimmune disease. It mainly affects joints in the spine and the sacroiliac joint in the pelvis, and can cause eventual fusion of the spine. 


    Antibody also known as an immunoglobulin, is a large Y-shaped protein used by the immune system to identify and neutralize foreign objects like bacteria and viruses. The antibody recognizes a unique part of the foreign target, termed an antigen. Each tip of the "Y" of an antibody contains a paratope (a structure analogous to a lock) that is specific for one particular epitope (that is equivalent to a key) on an antigen, allowing these two structures to bind together with precision. Using this binding mechanism, an antibody can tag a microbe or an infected cell for attack by other parts of the immune system, or can neutralize its target directly (for example, by blocking a part of a microbe that is essential for its invasion and survival). The production of antibodies is the main function of the humoral immune system or body fluids.

    Antigen a foreign substance which, when introduced into the body, stimulates the production of an antibody.

    Antihistamine also called a histamine antagonist, is a pharmaceutical drug that inhibits action of histamine by blocking it from attaching to histamine receptors. H1 antihistamines are used to treat symptoms of allergy, such as runny nose and watery eyes. Allergies are caused by a body's excessive type I hypersensitivity response to allergens, such as pollen. An allergic reaction, which if severe can lead to anaphylaxis, results in excessive release of histamines and other mediators by the body. Other uses of H1 antihistamines alleviate symptoms of local inflammation that result from various conditions, such as insect stings, even if there is no allergic reaction. Other common antihistamines include the H2 antagonists (cimetidine), which are widely used for the treatment of acid reflux and stomach ulcers, because they decrease gastric acid production.

    Histamines produce increased vascular permeability, causing fluid to escape from capillaries into the tissues, which leads to the classic symptoms of an allergic reaction – a runny nose and watery eyes.

    Antihistamines suppress the histamine-induced wheal (swelling) and vasodilation (flare) response by blocking the binding of histamine to its receptors on nerves, vascular smooth muscle, glandular cells, endothelium, and mast cells. They effectively exert competitive antagonism of histamine for H1-receptors. Itching and sneezing are suppressed by antihistamine blockade of H1-receptors on nasal sensory nerves. Antihistamines are commonly used for relief of allergies caused by intolerances of proteins.


    An antioxidant is a molecule capable of inhibiting the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons from a substance to an oxidizing agent. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals. In turn, these radicals can start chain reactions. When the chain reaction occurs in a cell, it can cause damage or death. Antioxidants terminate these chain reactions by removing free radical intermediates, and inhibit other oxidation reactions. They do this by being oxidized themselves, so antioxidants are often reducing agents such as thiols, ascorbic acid or polyphenols.

    Although oxidation reactions are crucial for life, they can also be damaging; hence, plants and animals maintain complex systems of multiple types of antioxidants, such as glutathione, vitamin C, and vitamin E as well as enzymes such as catalase, superoxide dismutase and various peroxidases. Low levels of antioxidants, or inhibition of the antioxidant enzymes, cause oxidative stress and may damage or kill cells.

    As oxidative stress appears to be an important part of many human diseases, the use of antioxidants in pharmacology is intensively studied, particularly as treatments for stroke and neurodegenerative diseases. However, it is unknown whether oxidative stress is the cause or the consequence of disease.

    Antioxidants are widely used as ingredients in dietary supplements and have been investigated for the prevention of diseases such as cancer, coronary heart disease and even altitude sickness. Although initial studies suggested that antioxidant supplements might promote health, later large clinical trials did not detect any benefit and suggested instead that excess supplementation is harmful. 

    Antioxidants are classified into two broad divisions, depending on whether they are soluble in water (hydrophilic) or in lipids (hydrophobic). In general, water-soluble antioxidants react with oxidants in the cell cytosol and the blood plasma, while lipid-soluble antioxidants protect cell membranes from lipid peroxidation. These compounds may be synthesized in the body or obtained from the diet.

    Oxidative stress is thought to contribute to the development of a wide range of diseases including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, the pathologies caused by diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and neurodegeneration in motor neuron diseases. In many of these cases, it is unclear if oxidants trigger the disease, or if they are produced as a secondary consequence of the disease and from general tissue damage; One case in which this link is particularly well-understood is the role of oxidative stress in cardiovascular disease. Here, low density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation appears to trigger the process of atherogenesis, which results in atherosclerosis, and finally cardiovascular disease.

    The brain is uniquely vulnerable to oxidative injury, due to its high metabolic rate and elevated levels of polyunsaturated lipids, the target of lipid peroxidation. Consequently, antioxidants are commonly used as medications to treat various forms of brain injury.   Antioxidants are also being investigated as possible treatments for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and as a way to prevent noise-induced hearing loss. Targeted antioxidants may lead to better medicinal effects.

    Disease prevention 
    People who eat fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of heart disease and some neurological diseases, and there is evidence that some types of vegetables, and fruits in general, protect against some cancers. Since fruits and vegetables happen to be good sources of antioxidants, this suggested that antioxidants might prevent some types of diseases. Health benefits come from the other substances in fruits and vegetables combined with the antioxidants, for example: flavonoids and polyphenolics. Research demonstrates that eating fresh fruits, vegetables and other plant super foods is effective in the prevention and treatment of disease and that antioxidant supplements have little or harmful effects on health and disease.

    Measurement of antioxidants is not a straightforward process, as this is a diverse group of compounds with different reactivities to different reactive oxygen species. In food science, the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) has become the current industry standard for assessing antioxidant strength of whole foods, juices and food additives. 

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    Antioxidants are found in varying amounts in foods such as vegetables, fruits, grain cereals, eggs, meat, legumes and nuts. Some antioxidants such as lycopene and ascorbic acid can be destroyed by long-term storage or prolonged cooking. Other antioxidant compounds are more stable, such as the polyphenolic antioxidants in foods such as whole-wheat cereals and tea. The effects of cooking and food processing are complex, as these processes can also increase the bioavailability of antioxidants, such as some carotenoids in vegetables. In general, processed foods contain fewer antioxidants than fresh and uncooked foods, since the preparation processes may expose the food to oxygen.

    Excellent Whole Food Sources of Antioxidants: Fresh fruits, berries and vegetables, vegetable oils, olive oil, tea, chocolate, coffee, wine, whole grains, cereals, nuts, seeds, beans, eggs, cinnamon and oregano.

    Antiretroviral drugs  are medications for the treatment of infection by retroviruses, primarily HIV. When several such drugs, typically three or four, are taken in combination, the approach is known as Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy, or HAART. The American National Institutes of Health and other organizations recommend offering antiretroviral treatment to all patients with AIDS. Because of the complexity of selecting and following a regimen, the severity of the side-effects and the importance of compliance to prevent viral resistance, such organizations emphasize the importance of involving patients in therapy choices, and recommend analyzing the risks and the potential benefits to patients with low viral loads.
    There are different classes of antiretroviral drugs that act on different stages of the HIV life-cycle.

    Apnea is a term for suspension of external breathing. Humans cannot store much oxygen in the body. Prolonged apnea leads to severe lack of oxygen in the blood circulation. Permanent brain damage can occur after as little as three minutes and death will inevitably ensue after a few more minutes unless ventilation is restored. However, under special circumstances such as hypothermia, hyperbaric oxygenation, apneic oxygenation, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, much longer periods of apnea may be tolerated without severe consequences.

    Untrained humans cannot sustain voluntary apnea for more than one or two minutes. The reason for the time limit of voluntary apnea is that the rate of breathing and the volume of each breath are tightly regulated to maintain constant values of CO2 tension and pH of the blood. In apnea, CO2 is not removed through the lungs and accumulates in the blood.

    Arthritis is a form of joint disorder that involves inflammation of one or more joints. There are over 100 different forms of arthritis. The most common form, osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease) is a result of trauma to the joint, infection of the joint, or age. Other arthritis forms are rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and related autoimmune diseases. Septic arthritis is caused by joint infection.

    The major complaint by individuals who have arthritis is joint pain. Pain is often a constant and may be localized to the joint affected. The pain from arthritis occurs due to inflammation that occurs around the joint, damage to the joint from disease, daily wear and tear of joint, muscle strains caused by forceful movements against stiff, painful joints and fatigue.

    Artificial Sweeteners/ Natural Sweeteners Health Coach does not recommend artificial sweeteners and basically regards these sweeteners as another stress in the body. There are many natural, healthy choices: agave nectar, barley malt syrup, maple syrup, honey, stevia, molasses, date sugar, brown rice syrup, evaporated white grape juice and whole or raw cane sugar (sucanat).

    Aspartame name change: amino sweet, and now labeled natural

    Asthma is a common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and bronchospasm. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Asthma is clinically classified according to the frequency of symptoms, forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), and peak expiratory flow rate. Asthma may also be classified as atopic (extrinsic) or non-atopic (intrinsic).

    Asthma is caused by environmental and genetic factors. These factors influence how severe asthma is and how well it responds to medication. The interaction is complex and not fully understood.

    Studying the prevalence of asthma and related diseases such as eczema and hay fever have yielded important clues about some key risk factors. The strongest risk factor for developing asthma is a history of atopic disease, this increases one's risk of hay fever by up to 5x and the risk of asthma by 3-4x. In children between the ages of 3-14, a positive skin test for allergies and an increase in immunoglobulin E increases the chance of having asthma. In adults, the more allergens one reacts positively to in a skin test, the higher the odds of having asthma.

    Because much allergic asthma is associated with sensitivity to indoor allergens and because Western styles of housing favor greater exposure to indoor allergens, much attention has focused on increased exposure to these allergens in infancy and early childhood as a primary cause of the rise in asthma. Primary prevention studies aimed at the aggressive reduction of airborne allergens in a home with infants have shown mixed findings. Strict reduction of dust mite allergens, for example, reduces the risk of allergic sensitization to dust mites, and modestly reduces the risk of developing asthma up until the age of 8 years old. However, studies also showed that the effects of exposure to cat and dog allergens worked in the converse fashion; exposure during the first year of life was found to reduce the risk of allergic sensitization and of developing asthma later in life. Causes: evironmental allergens, pollution, toxins, antibiotics, caesarian section, atopic disease, genetic and poor immune system health.

    Astragalus is a large genus of about 3,000 species of herbs and small shrubs, belonging to the legume family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. The genus is native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Common names include milk-vetch (most species), locoweed (in western US, some species) and goat's-thorn. Some pale-flowered vetches are similar in appearance, but vetches are more vine-like.

    Astragalus is useful for anemia and blood disorder, helps to stimulate the body’s natural production of interferon, helps to promote the effects of other herbs and helps to improve digestion, is helpful for young adults for energy production and respiratory endurance, helps to stimulate immune response, may help to normalize blood pressure, used by some herbalists as a tea to help prevent and treat arrhythmia, protects the heart against oxidative and free radical damage, used for asthma, fever, infections, diabetes, edema, nephritis, night sweats, ulcers, prolapse of digestive organs, kidney problems, and slow healing skin eruption. Astragalus can be used as an antibacterial, is helpful to patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment, is used to treat infections of the mucous membranes of the body, especially the urinary and respiratory tracts and helps the body to cope with stress, aids the body in the production of T-cells to fight cancer.

    Ayurveda or Ayurvedic medicine is a system of traditional medicine native to India.  Ayurveda is grounded in the physics of the five elements: Prithvi-earth/ Jala-water/ Agni-fire/ Vaayu-air/ Akasha-ether, all of which compose the universe including the human body. Plasma, blood, flesh, fat, bone, marrow and semen and female reproductive tissue are the 7 primary constituent elements of the body. Ayuveda stresses the balance of 3 elemental energies: Vata-air,space,wind/ Pittha-fire,water,bile/ Kapha-water,earth,phlegm. When these are in balance the body will function optimally. Ayurveda deals with healthful living during the span of life and during the various phases and focuses on a healthy metabolism and digestion, yoga, meditation and massage to address the body, mind and spirit/consciousness.
    The criteria for diagnosis takes into account:
        body measurements
        diet suitability
        psychic strength
        digestive capacity
        physical fitness

    In addition, Deepak Chopra identifies five influential criteria for diagnosis:

        origin of the disease
        prodrominal (precursory) symptoms
        typical symptoms of the fully developed disease
        observing the effect of therapeutic procedures
        the pathological process

    Ayurvedic practitioners approach diagnosis by using all five senses. Hearing is used to observe the condition of breathing and speech. The study of the vital pressure points or marma is of special importance.



    is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines. Among the most important topics are five unifying principles that can be said to be the fundamental axioms of modern biology:

       1. Cells are the basic unit of life
       2. New species and inherited traits are the product of evolution
       3. Genes are the basic unit of heredity
      4. An organism regulates its internal environment to maintain a stable and constant condition
       5. Living organisms consume and transform energy.

    Subdisciplines of biology are recognized on the basis of the scale at which organisms are studied and the methods used to study them: biochemistry examines the rudimentary chemistry of life; molecular biology studies the complex interactions of systems of biological molecules; cellular biology examines the basic building block of all life, the cell; physiology examines the physical and chemical functions of the tissues, organs, and organ systems of an organism; and ecology examines how various organisms interact and associate with their environment.

    Blood Plasma is the pale-yellow liquid component of blood that normally holds the blood cells in whole blood in suspension. It makes up about 55% of the body's total blood volume. It is the intravascular fluid part of extracellular fluid (all body fluid outside of cells). It is mostly water (up to 95% by volume), and contains dissolved proteins (6-8%) i.e. albumins, globulins, and fibrinogen, glucose, clotting factors, electrolytes, hormones, and carbon dioxide. Plasma also serves as the protein reserve of the human body. It plays a vital role in an intravascular osmotic effect that keeps electrolytes in balanced form and protects the body from infection and other blood disorders.

    The Bohr effect  is a physiological phenomenon involving haemoglobin's oxygen binding affinity and its inverse relationship both to acidity and to the concentration of carbon dioxide. An increase in blood CO2 concentration, which leads to a decrease in blood pH, will result in haemoglobin proteins releasing their load of oxygen. Conversely, a decrease in carbon dioxide provokes an increase in pH, which results in hemoglobin picking up more oxygen. Since carbon dioxide reacts with water to form carbonic acid, an increase in CO2 results in a decrease in blood pH.

    The Bohr effect enables the body to adapt to changing conditions and makes it possible to supply extra oxygen to tissues that need it the most. For example, when muscles are undergoing strenuous activity, they require large amounts of oxygen to conduct cellular respiration, which generates CO2 (and therefore HCO3− and H+) as byproducts. These waste products lower the pH of the blood, which increases oxygen delivery to the active muscles. Carbon dioxide is not the only molecule that can trigger the Bohr effect. If muscle cells aren't receiving enough oxygen for cellular respiration, they resort to lactic acid fermentation, which releases lactic acid as a byproduct. This increases the acidity of the blood even more than CO2 alone, which reflects the cells' even greater need for oxygen. In fact, under anaerobic conditions, muscles generate lactic acid so quickly that pH of the blood passing through the muscles will drop to around 7.2, which causes haemoglobin to begin releasing 10% more oxygen.

    Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursae (joint capsule) of synovial fluid in the body. The bursae rest at the points where muscles and tendons slide across bone. Healthy bursae create a smooth, almost frictionless functional gliding surface making normal movement painless. When bursitis occurs, however, movement relying upon the inflamed bursa becomes difficult and painful. Movement of tendons and muscles over the inflamed bursa aggravates its inflammation, perpetuating the problem. Bursitis is commonly caused by repetitive movement and excessive pressure, or by injury. Elbows and knees are the most commonly affected. Inflammation of the bursae might also be caused by other inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. 

    Bursitis symptoms vary from local joint pain and stiffness, to burning pain that surrounds the joint around the inflamed bursa. In this condition, the pain usually is worse during and after activity, and then the bursa and the surrounding joint become stiff the next day in the morning. Bursae that are not infected can be treated with rest, ice, elevation, physiotherapy, anti-inflammatory drugs and pain medication. Since bursitis is caused by increased friction from the adjacent structures, a compression bandage is contraindicated because compression would create more friction on movement (passive and active). Advanced massage therapy techniques can also be employed to help with the inflammatory process of bursitis.


    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    The Physiology Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome  
    At the base of the palm is a tight canal or “tunnel” through which tendons and nerves must pass on their way from the forearm to the hand and fingers. The nerve that passes through this narrow tunnel to reach the hand is called the Median Nerve. This narrow passage between the forearm and hand is what is known as the Carpal Tunnel.

    The Carpal Tunnel is normally quite snug and there is just barely enough room in it for the tendons and nerves that have to pass through it. If anything takes up extra room in the canal, things become too tight and the nerve in the canal becomes constricted or pinched.

    This pinching of the nerve (a medical condition referred to officially as Nerve Entrapment) causes numbness and tingling in the area of the hand that the nerve travels to. The condition that results when the Median Nerve is being pinched in The Carpal Tunnel is commonly referred to as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or CTS.

    In actuality, the condition and its accompanying symptoms can be brought on by either a decrease in the size of the carpal tunnel OR an enlarging of the tissues inside the tunnel.

    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is linked with occupations that require repeated use of the hands, such as typing on a computer keyboard or doing assembly work.

    How Did I Get Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
    The most common cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is inflammation of the tendons in the tunnel which can normally be attributed to repetitive use of the hand and/or wrist. It is the muscles of the cervical, thoracic, arm and forearm that are primarily responsible for the stress of the tendons and treatment of the muscle directly benefit the carpal tendons (tendons attach muscle to bone).

    Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs) can happen to anyone whose work calls for long periods of steady hand movement, from musicians & dental hygienists to meat cutters & cashiers. RSIs tend to come with work that demands repeated grasping, turning and twisting; they are especially likely if the work requires repeated twisting or involves repetitive vibration, as in hammering nails or operating a power tool. Stressful hand, arm and neck positions — whether from working at a desk, long-distance driving or waiting on tables — only aggravate the potential for damage.

    A number of sports can bring on repetitive stress injuries: Rowing, golf, tennis, downhill skiing, archery, competitive shooting and rock climbing are just a sampling of activities that stress the hand and wrist joints. Injuries and ailments that cause swelling or compression of soft tissue on nerves, such as sprains, leukemia, and rheumatoid arthritis, can lead to stress injuries.

    Diabetes, thyroid problems, and other systemic disorders are also associated with discomfort from stressed nerves, as is the fluid accumulation that sometimes accompanies pregnancy. Some authorities believe that a pyridoxine (vitamin B6) deficiency can also induce the symptoms.

    Fluid retention, a major contributor to CTS & RSI symptoms naturally occur with the usage of contraceptive pills. Post Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) also causes fluid retention as do many other medical conditions, all of which can result in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms.

    What Are The Symptoms Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

    One of the first symptoms of CTS is gradual numbness in the areas supplied by the median nerve. This is quickly followed by pain where the nerve gives sensation in the hand. The hand may begin to feel like it's "asleep," especially in the early morning hours after a night's rest.

    Pain may spread up the arm to the shoulder and even to the side of the neck. If the condition progresses, the thenar muscles of the thumb can weaken and atrophy, causing the hand to be clumsy when picking up a glass or cup. If the pressure keeps building in the carpal tunnel, the thenar muscles may actually begin to shrink (atrophy).

    Touching the pad of the thumb to the tips of the other fingers becomes difficult, making it hard to grasp items such as a steering wheel, newspaper, or telephone.

        Symptoms In Summary

        • A tingling or numb feeling in the hand and/or fingers (the thumb, index and second fingers)

        • Shooting pains in the wrist or forearm, and sometimes extending to the shoulder, neck and chest, or foot;

        • Difficulty clenching the fist or grasping small objects;

    For many unfortunate sufferers, CTS has a pattern of flaring up through the night thereby making sleep difficult. CTS symptoms can also be expected to arise frequently while performing the activity that is the cause of the condition in the first place.

    The Diagnosis Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
    Your description of the symptoms and the physical examination are the most important parts in the diagnosis of CTS. Commonly, patients will complain first of waking in the middle of the night with pain and a feeling that the whole hand is asleep.

    Careful investigation usually shows that the little finger is unaffected. This can be a key piece of information to make the diagnosis. If you awaken with your hand asleep, pinch your little finger to see if it is numb also, and be sure to tell your doctor if it is or is not. Other complaints include numbness while using the hand for gripping activities, such as sweeping, hammering, or driving.

    If your symptoms started after a traumatic wrist injury, X-rays may be needed to check for a fractured bone.

    If more information is needed to make the diagnosis, electrical studies of the nerves in the wrist may be requested by your doctor. Several tests are available to see how well the median nerve is functioning, including the nerve conduction velocity (NCV) test. This test measures how fast nerve impulses move through the nerve.

    Treatments For Relieving Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    Conservative Treatment
    Activities that are causing your symptoms need to be changed or stopped if at all possible. Avoid repetitive hand motions, heavy grasping, holding onto vibrating tools, and positioning or working with your wrist bent down and out. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to help you quit. Lose weight if you are overweight. Reduce your caffeine intake.

    • Wrist Brace
    A wrist brace will sometimes decrease the symptoms in the early stages of CTS. A brace keeps the wrist in a resting position (not bent back nor bent down too far). When the wrist is in this position, the carpal tunnel is as big as it can be--so the nerve has as much room as possible inside the carpal tunnel. A brace can be especially helpful for easing the numbness and pain felt at night and can keep your hand from curling under as you sleep. The wrist brace can also be worn during the day to calm symptoms and rest the tissues in the carpal tunnel.

    • Medication
    Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) may also help control the swelling and reduce symptoms of CTS. Common over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin are sometimes recommended. In some studies, high doses of Vitamin B-6 have been shown to help in decreasing CTS symptoms.

    Another attractive option for many sufferers, especially those who prefer to not ingest medication orally, is the application of an appropriate and effective topical anti-inflammatory. Penetrex™ was specifically designed to reduce underlying inflammation and does so by taking advantage of proven effective ingredients including Arnica, Choline and Pyridoxine & Vitamin B6.

    • Physical Therapy
    Your doctor may suggest that you work with a physical or occupational therapist. The main focus of treatment is to reduce or eliminate the cause of pressure in the carpal tunnel. Your therapist may check your workstation and the way you do your work tasks. Suggestions may be given about the use of healthy body alignment and wrist positions, helpful exercises, and tips on how to prevent future problems.
    Massage Therapy addresses the muscle strain involved with the carpal tendon strain.

    • Surgical Treatment
    If all attempts to control your symptoms fail, surgery may be suggested to reduce the pressure on the median nerve. Several different surgical procedures have been designed to relieve pressure on the median nerve. By releasing the pressure on the nerve, the blood supply to the nerve improves, and most people get relief of their symptoms.

    However, if the nerve pressure has been going on a long time, the nerve may have thickened and scarred to the point that recovery after surgery is much slower.

    The most common procedure is an open-incision technique, but some surgeons are using a newer procedure called endoscopic carpal tunnel release. Using a smaller incision and a fiber-optic TV camera, the doctor is able to see inside the carpal tunnel and release the transverse carpal ligament.

    A cataract is a clouding that develops in the crystalline lens of the eye or in its envelope, varying in degree from slight to complete opacity and obstructing the passage of light. Early in the development of age-related cataract the power of the lens may be increased, causing near-sightedness (myopia), and the gradual yellowing and opacification of the lens may reduce the perception of blue colours. Cataracts typically progress slowly to cause vision loss and are potentially blinding if untreated.

    A chemical substance is a form of matter that has constant chemical composition and characteristic properties. It can not be separated into components by physical separation methods, without breaking chemical bonds. According to this definition a chemical substance can either be a pure chemical element or a pure chemical compound. But, there are exceptions to this definition; a pure substance can also be defined as a form of matter that has both definite composition and distinct properties. Generally, chemical substances exist as a solid, liquid, gas, or plasma and may change between these phases of matter with changes in temperature or pressure. Chemical reactions convert one chemical substance into another.

    Chemotherapy in the most simple sense, is the treatment of an ailment by chemicals especially by killing micro-organisms or cancerous cells. In popular usage, it refers to antineoplastic drugs used to treat cancer or the combination of these drugs into a cytotoxic standardized treatment regimen. In its non-oncological use, the term may also refer to antibiotics (antibacterial chemotherapy). In that sense, the first modern chemotherapeutic agent was arsphenamine, an arsenic compound discovered in 1909 and used to treat syphilis. This was later followed by sulfonamides (sulfa drugs) and penicillin.

    Most commonly, chemotherapy acts by killing cells that divide rapidly, one of the main properties of most cancer cells. This means that it also harms cells that divide rapidly under normal circumstances: cells in the bone marrow, digestive tract and hair follicles; this results in the most common side effects of chemotherapy : myelosuppression (decreased production of blood cells, hence also immunosuppression), mucositis (inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract), and alopecia (hair loss).

    Other uses of cytostatic chemotherapy agents are the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, dermatomyositis, polymyositis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and the suppression of transplant rejections.

    Newer anticancer drugs act directly against abnormal proteins in cancer cells; this is termed targeted therapy.

    Cholinergic nerve cells utilize acetylcholine as a neurotransmitter. The parasympathetic nervous system, which uses acetylcholine almost exclusively to send its messages, is said to be almost entirely cholinergic. Neuromuscular junctions, preganglionic neurons of the sympathetic nervous system, the basal forebrain, and brain stem complexes are also cholinergic. In addition, the receptor for the merocrine sweat glands are also cholinergic, since acetylcholine is released from postganglionic sympathetic neurons.

    Chondroitin Sulphite is a sulfated glycosaminoglycan (GAG) composed of a chain of alternating sugars (N-acetylgalactosamine and glucuronic acid). It is usually found attached to proteins as part of a proteoglycan. A chondroitin chain can have over 100 individual sugars, each of which can be sulfated in variable positions and quantities. Chondroitin sulfate is an important structural component of cartilage and provides much of its resistance to compression. Along with glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate has become a widely used dietary supplement for treatment of osteoarthritis.

    Complement System
    The complement system helps or “complements” the ability of antibodies and phagocytic cells to clear pathogens from an organism. It is part of the immune system called the innate immune system that is not adaptable and does not change over the course of an individual's lifetime. However, it can be recruited and brought into action by the adaptive immune system.

    The complement system consists of a number of small proteins found in the blood, generally synthesized by the liver, and normally circulating as inactive precursors (pro-proteins). When stimulated by one of several triggers, proteases in the system cleave specific proteins to release cytokines and initiate an amplifying cascade of further cleavages. The end-result of this activation cascade is massive amplification of the response and activation of the cell-killing membrane attack complex. Over 25 proteins and protein fragments make up the complement system, including serum proteins, serosal proteins, and cell membrane receptors. They account for about 5% of the globulin fraction of blood serum.

    C-Reactive Protein (CRP) is a protein found in the blood, the levels of which rise in response to inflammation (i.e. C-reactive protein is an acute-phase protein). Its physiological role is to bind to phosphocholine expressed on the surface of dead or dying cells (and some types of bacteria) in order to activate the complement system via the C1Q complex.

    CRP is synthesized by the liver in response to factors released by fat cells. CRP is a member of the class of acute-phase reactants, as its levels rise dramatically during inflammatory processes occurring in the body. This increment is due to a rise in the plasma concentration of IL-6, which is produced predominantly by macrophages as well as adipocytes. CRP binds to phosphocholine on microbes. It is thought to assist in complement binding to foreign and damaged cells and enhances phagocytosis by macrophages. It is also believed to play another important role in innate immunity, as an early defense system against infections.


    is defined as the excessive loss of body fluid. In physiological terms, it entails a deficiency of fluid within an organism. There are three types of dehydration: hypotonic or hyponatremic (primarily a loss of electrolytes, sodium in particular), hypertonic or hypernatremic (primarily a loss of water), and isotonic or isonatremic (equal loss of water and electrolytes). In humans, the most commonly seen type of dehydration by far is isotonic (isonatraemic) dehydration. Physiologically, dehydration, despite the name, does not simply mean loss of water, as water and solutes (mainly sodium) are usually lost in roughly equal quantities to how they exist in blood plasma. In hypotonic dehydration, intravascular water shifts to the extravascular space, exaggerating intravascular volume depletion for a given amount of total body water loss. Neurological complications can occur in hypotonic and hypertonic states. The former can lead to seizures, while the latter can lead to osmotic cerebral edema upon rapid rehydration.

    Signs and symptoms of dehydration may include headaches similar to what is experienced during a hangover, muscle cramps (especially leg cramps), a sudden episode of visual snow, decreased blood pressure (hypotension), and dizziness or fainting when standing up due to orthostatic hypotension. Untreated dehydration generally results in delirium, unconsciousness, swelling of the tongue and, in extreme cases, death.

    Dehydration symptoms generally become noticeable after 2% of one's normal water volume has been lost. Initially, one experiences thirst and discomfort, possibly along with loss of appetite and dry skin. This can be followed by constipation. Athletes may suffer a loss of performance of up to 30% and experience flushing, low endurance, rapid heart rates, elevated body temperatures, and rapid onset of fatigue.

    Symptoms of mild dehydration include thirst, decreased urine volume, abnormally dark urine, unexplained tiredness, irritability, lack of tears when crying, headache, dry mouth, dizziness when standing due to orthostatic hypotension, and in some cases can cause insomnia. Other possible symptoms include cloudy urine and stinging during urination. Blood tests may show hyperalbuminemia. Mild dehydration also has been shown to negatively impact people’s moods. Dehydration is associated with confusion, fatigue, and negative moods. In moderate to severe dehydration, there may be no urine output at all. Other symptoms in these states include lethargy or extreme sleepiness, seizures, sunken fontanel (babies), fainting, and sunken eyes.

    The symptoms become increasingly severe with greater water loss. One's heart and respiration rates begin to increase to compensate for decreased plasma volume and blood pressure, while body temperature may rise because of decreased sweating. At around 5% to 6% water loss, one may become groggy or sleepy, experience headaches or nausea, and may feel tingling in one's limbs (paresthesia). With 10% to 15% fluid loss, muscles may become spastic, skin may shrivel and wrinkle (decreased skin turgor), vision may dim, urination will be greatly reduced and may become painful, and delirium may begin. Losses greater than 15% are usually fatal.

    In people over age 50, the body’s thirst sensation diminishes and continues diminishing with age. Many senior citizens suffer symptoms of dehydration. Dehydration along with hyperthermia results in old people dying during extreme hot weather.

    Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract can lead to dehydration in various ways. Often, dehydration becomes the major problem in an otherwise self-limited illness. Fluid loss may even be severe enough to become life-threatening.

    Diabetes Mellitus
    Often simply referred to as diabetes—is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced. This high blood sugar produces the classical symptoms of polyuria (frequent urination), polydipsia (increased thirst) and polyphagia (increased hunger).

    There are three main types of diabetes:

    •  Type 1 diabetes: results from the body's failure to produce insulin, and presently requires the person to inject insulin. (Also referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, IDDM for short, and juvenile diabetes.)
    • Type 2 diabetes: results from insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to use insulin properly, sometimes combined with an absolute insulin deficiency. (Formerly referred to as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, NIDDM for short, and adult-onset diabetes.)
    • Gestational diabetes: is when pregnant women, who have never had diabetes before, have a high blood glucose level during pregnancy. It may precede development of type 2 DM.

    Other forms of diabetes mellitus include congenital diabetes, which is due to genetic defects of insulin secretion, cystic fibrosis-related diabetes, steroid diabetes induced by high doses of glucocorticoids, and several forms of monogenic diabetes.

    DNA Transcription
    Transcription is the process of creating a complementary RNA copy of a sequence of DNA. Both RNA and DNA are nucleic acids, which use base pairs of nucleotides as a complementary language that can be converted back and forth from DNA to RNA by the action of the correct enzymes. Transcription is the first step leading to gene expression. The stretch of DNA transcribed into an RNA molecule is called a transcription unit and encodes at least one gene. If the gene transcribed encodes a protein, the result of transcription is messenger RNA (mRNA), which will then be used to create that protein via the process of translation. Alternatively, the transcribed gene may encode for either ribosomal RNA (rRNA) or transfer RNA (tRNA), other components of the protein-assembly process, or other ribozymes.



    Elbow: Golf and Tennis Elbow  relates to the inflammatory condition of the elbow including tendons, ligaments and joint tissues caused by repetitive strain or injury. In a tennis related strain, the lateral or outside area of the elbow is indicated; the opposite, internal or inside of the elbow is involved in a golf related strain or injury.


    An electrolyte is any substance containing free ions that make the substance electrically conductive. The most typical electrolyte is an ionic solution. Commonly, electrolytes are solutions of acids, bases or salts. Electrolyte solutions are normally formed when a salt is placed into a solvent such as water and the individual components dissociate due to the thermodynamic interactions between solvent and solute molecules, in a process called solvation. In Physiology, , the primary ions of electrolytes are sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), calcium (Ca2+), magnesium (Mg2+), chloride (Cl-), hydrogen phosphate (HPO42-), and hydrogen carbonate (HCO3-). The electric charge symbols of plus (+) and minus (-) indicate that the substance in question is ionic in nature and has an imbalanced distribution of electrons. All known higher lifeforms require a subtle and complex electrolyte balance between the intracellular and extracellular milieu. In particular, the maintenance of precise osmotic gradients of electrolytes is important. Such gradients affect and regulate the hydration of the body as well as blood pH, and are critical for nerve and muscle function. Both muscle tissue and neurons are considered electric tissues of the body. Muscles and neurons are activated by electrolyte activity between the extracellular fluid or interstitial fluid, and intracellular fluid. Electrolytes may enter or leave the cell membrane through specialized protein structures embedded in the plasma membrane called ion channels. For example, muscle contraction is dependent upon the presence of calcium (Ca2+), sodium (Na+), and potassium (K+). Without sufficient levels of these key electrolytes, muscle weakness or severe muscle contractions may occur.

    An enterotype is a classification of living organisms based on its bacteriological ecosystem in the human intestinal microbiome. The discovery of three human enterotypes was announced in the April 2011 issue of Nature by Peer Bork and his associates.

    Enzymes are proteins that catalyze (increase or decrease the rates of) chemical reactions. In enzymatic reactions, the molecules at the beginning of the process are called substrates, and they are converted into different molecules, called the products. Almost all processes in a biological cell need enzymes to occur at significant rates. Enzymes are known to catalyze about 4,000 biochemical reactions and serve a wide variety of functions inside living organisms. They are indispensable for signal transduction and cell regulation, generate muscle contraction. Other enzymes in the cell membrane are ion pumps involved in active transport of oxygen, water and nutrients. Viruses can also contain enzymes for infecting cells.

    An important function of enzymes is in the digestive system. Enzymes such as amylase, cellulase and protease break down large molecules (starch, plant fibre or proteins, respectively) into smaller ones, so they can be absorbed by the intestines.

    Since the tight control of enzyme activity is essential for homeostasis, any malfunction (mutation, overproduction, underproduction or deletion) of a single critical enzyme can lead to a genetic disease. The importance of enzymes is shown by the fact that a lethal illness can be caused by the malfunction of just one type of enzyme out of the thousands of types present in our bodies.

    Essential Fatty Acids are fatty acids that humans and other animals must ingest because the body requires them for good health but cannot synthesize them.

    Essential Fatty Acids   are super healthy fats that control blood clotting, build cell membranes and aid cellular function, are building blocks of DNA, reduce bad cholesterol, blood pressure, the risk of cardiovascular disease, liver cancer, depression and dementia. There are two main types of essential fatty acids: Omega 3 is  Alphalinolenic acid, Omega 6 is Linolenic acid. Originally they were called vitamin F. Essential fatty acids reduce and prevent inflammation, arthritis, psoriasis, heart attacks and asthma. The best natural food sources include: fish (especially cold water fatty fish such as salmon, herring, anchovies, sardines, cod, mackerel, tuna and trout), shellfish, seafood, flax seed, hemp oil, grape seed oil, coconut oil, avocado, chia, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, leafy green vegetables, walnuts, algae, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds and cold water fish oil supplements.

    The recommended ratio is 2 to 1 Omega 6 to Omega 3. The current North American ratio is 10 - 20 Omega 6 to 1 Omega 3. Too much Omega 6 and too little Omega 3 causes blood clots, constricts arteries, increases the risk of heart attack, cancer, weight gain, increased blood sugar and insulin levels and aggravates inflammation, arthritis and psoriasis.

    If you are taking a supplement, the recommended dose is 500 mg/ day or 1- 3 g EPA/DHA. Make sure it is a dependable supply that is mercury-free, pharmaceutical grade, molecularily distilled and check the expiry date! Store in refrigerator.

    Omega 3 essential fatty acid reduces prostate tumour growth and the risk of breast cancer. It is made of three components: Alpha-linolenic Acid (ALA), Eicosapentalnoic Acid (EPA), and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA). A 3 to 2 ratio of EPA to DHA is recommended.

    Essential Nutrient
    An essential nutrient is a nutrient required for normal body functioning that either cannot be synthesized by the body at all, or cannot be synthesized in amounts adequate for good health (e.g. niacin, choline), and thus must be obtained from a dietary source. Essential nutrients are also defined by the collective physiological evidence for their importance in the diet.
    Some categories of essential nutrients include vitamins, dietary minerals, essential fatty acids, and essential amino acids. Water and oxygen are also essential for human health and life, as oxygen cannot be synthesized by the body, and water, while a biochemical reaction product of metabolism, is not created in sufficient amounts. Both are necessary as biochemical reactants in some processes, and water is used in various ways such as a solvent, carrier, and coolant.


    is a necessary and important part of a healthy diet. Dietary fiber is the indigestible portion of plant foods. There are two types of fiber: Soluble fiber and Insoluble fiber. The recommended consumption ratio is 75% insoluble to 25% soluble in our diet. Fiber changes the nature of the gastrointestinal tract and how other nutrients and chemicals are absorbed. Both types of fiber reduce appetite to help control weight, lower blood pressure and cholesterol to reduce the risk of heart disease and improve the absorption of nutrients from our food. A whole food, natural diet that is high in fiber also reduces the risk of gastrointestinal disorders and eases constipation, inflammatory bowel disease including irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, hemorrhoids, Crohn's disease and diverticulitis.

    Soluble fiber (prebiotic) changes in the body by dissolving in water but it resists digestion and absorption in the small intestine with complete or partial fermentation in the large intestine. Soluble fiber  regulates glucose absorption and stabilizes blood sugar levels by acting on the release of insulin by the pancreas and the breakdown of glycogen by the liver to prevent diabetes.  As well as reducing blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, soluble fiber suppresses liver cholesterol synthesis. The fermentation of soluble fiber by friendly bacterial flora in the large intestine creates short-chain fatty acids which lower colon pH (raises acidity level); protects the colon from the formation of colonic polyps, increases mineral absorption, stimulates T helper cells, antibodies, leukocytes and cytokines. Short-chain fatty acids formed from soluble fiber also aid lymphatic mechanisms for immune protection, improved colon tissue barrier and inhibits inflammation and adhesions in the large intestine. The best sources of soluble fiber can be found in flax seeds, chia seeds, oranges, apples, carrots, whole oats and oat bran, psyllium seed husks, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, peas, whole grains and cereals.

    Insoluble fiber absorbs water but does not change in the body; it is metabolically inert. Insoluble fiber softens stools, shortens the transit of food through the digestive system and facilitates ease and regularity, alleviates constipation, balances intestinal pH, stimulates friendly bacterial flora and the fermentation process in the large intestine, produces short-chain fatty acids and reduces the risk of colon cancer. The best sources of insoluble fiber can be found in flax seed, dark leafy vegetables, brown rice, fresh fruit with peels, potatoes with skins, vegetables and whole grains.

    A daily 2000 calorie diet should have a minimum of 25-35 grams of fiber (for children add 5g to their age to determine daily requirements), with a ratio of 75% insoluble to 25% soluble. The North American average is 12-18g. Calories measure available energy from food to be used immediately or converted for short term storage as sugar or long term storage as fat. Energy is extracted from food only when the chemical structure of food is changed and fiber is required for this process. The body does not absorb energy from insoluble fiber (0 calories). There is approximately 2-4 calories in 1 gram of soluble fiber. When you are reading a food label look for a minimum of 3 grams of fiber.

    Flavonoids from the Latin word flavus meaning yellow, also collectively known as Vitamin P and citrin, are a class of plant secondary metabolites or yellow pigments having a structure similar to that of flavones. They can be classified into:


    The three flavonoid classes above are all ketone-containing compounds, and as such, are flavonoids and flavonols. This class was the first to be termed bioflavonoids.
    In vitro studies of flavonoids have displayed anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-cancer activities.
    Flavonoids (both flavonols and flavanols) are most commonly known for their antioxidant activity. The antioxidant abilities of flavonoids are stronger than those of vitamin C and E. The beneficial effects of fruits, vegetables, tea, and red wine have sometimes been attributed to flavonoid compounds.
    The increase in antioxidant capacity of blood seen after the consumption of flavonoid-rich foods is not caused directly by flavonoids themselves, but most likely is due to increased uric acid levels that result from metabolism of flavonoids. Physiological processing of unwanted flavonoid compounds induces so-called Phase II enzymes that also help to eliminate mutagens and carcinogens, and therefore may be of value in cancer prevention. Flavonoids could also induce mechanisms that may kill cancer cells and inhibit tumor invasion. In preliminary studies, UCLA cancer researchers have proposed that smokers who ate foods containing certain flavonoids such as catechins found in strawberries and green and black teas; kaempferol from brussel sprouts and apples; and quercetin from beans, onions (especially red onions) and apples, may have reduced risk of obtaining breast and lung cancer, and asthma. Other excellent food sources include citrus fruit, berries, tea (especially white and green), cocoa, red wine, buckwheat, gingo biloba, seabuckthorn, parsley and pulses.



    A gallstone is a crystalline concretion formed within the gallbladder by accretion of bile components. These calculi are formed in the gallbladder, but may pass distally into other parts of the biliary tract such as the cystic duct, common bile duct, pancreatic duct. Presence of gallstones in the gallbladder may lead to acute cholecystitis, an inflammatory condition characterized by retention of bile in the gallbladder and often secondary infection by intestinal microorganisms. Presence of gallstones in other parts of the biliary tract can cause obstruction of the bile ducts, which can lead to serious conditions, can be life-threatening, and are therefore considered to be medical emergencies.

    Gallstone risk factors include overweight, age near or above 40, female, and pre-menopausal. A lack of melatonin could significantly contribute to gallbladder stones, as melatonin both inhibits cholesterol secretion from the gallbladder, enhances the conversion of cholesterol to bile, and is an antioxidant, capable of reducing oxidative stress to the gallbladder. Low-fiber, high-cholesterol diets and diets high in starchy foods have been suggested as contributing to gallstone formation. Other nutritional factors that may increase risk of gallstones include rapid weight loss, constipation, eating fewer meals per day, a deficiency of essential fatty acids, and low intakes of the nutrients folate, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin C.


    Gamma Globulin
    Gamma globulins are a class of globulins. The most significant gamma globulins are immunoglobulins ("Igs"), more commonly known as antibodies, although some Igs are not gamma globulins, and some gamma globulins are not Igs.

    A gene is a unit of heredity in a living organism. It is a name given to some stretches of DNA and RNA that code for a type of protein or for an RNA chain that has a function in the organism. Living things depend on genes, as they specify all proteins and functional RNA chains. Genes hold the information to build and maintain an organism's cells and pass genetic traits to offspring.

    In modern molecular biology and genetics, the genome is the entirety of an organism's hereditary information. It is encoded either in DNA or, for many types of virus, in RNA. The genome includes both the genes and the non-coding sequences of the DNA/RNA.

    Glaucoma is an eye disorder in which the optic nerve suffers damage, permanently damaging vision in the affected eye(s) and progressing to complete blindness if untreated. It is often, but not always, associated with increased pressure of the fluid in the eye. Glaucoma can be divided roughly into two main categories, "open angle" and "closed angle" glaucoma. Closed angle glaucoma can appear suddenly and is often painful; visual loss can progress quickly but the discomfort often leads patients to seek medical attention before permanent damage occurs. Open angle, chronic glaucoma tends to progress at a slower rate and the patient may not notice that they have lost vision until the disease has progressed significantly.

    Glucosamine is an amino sugar and a prominent precursor in the biochemical synthesis of glycosylated proteins and lipids. Oral glucosamine is marketed as a treatment of osteoarthritis. Commonly sold forms of glucosamine are glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride. Glucosamine is often sold in combination with other supplements such as chondroitin sulfate and methylsulfonylmethane. Beyond recommended dosage, the researchers found that glucosamine kills pancreatic cells, increasing the risk of developing diabetes. Adverse effects, which are usually mild and infrequent, include stomach upset, constipation, diarrhea, headache and rash.

    Glutathione is an antioxidant, preventing damage to important cellular components caused by reactive oxygen species such as free radicals and peroxides. Glutathione is not an essential nutrient (meaning it does not have to be obtained via food), since it can be synthesized in the body from the amino acids L-cysteine, L-glutamic acid, and glycine.

    Glutathione has multiple functions:
    • It is the major endogenous antioxidant produced by the cells, participating directly in the neutralization of free radicals and reactive oxygen compounds, as well as maintaining exogenous antioxidants such as vitamins C and E in their reduced (active) forms.
    • Regulation of the nitric oxide cycle, which is critical for life but can be problematic if unregulated
    • Through direct conjugation, it detoxifies many xenobiotics (foreign compounds) and carcinogens, both organic and inorganic. This includes heavy metals such as mercury, lead, and arsenic.
    • It is essential for the immune system to exert its full potential:  modulating antigen presentation to lymphocytes, thereby influencing cytokine production and type of response (cellular or humoral) that develops, enhancing proliferation of lymphocytes, thereby increasing magnitude of response, enhancing killing activity of cytotoxic T cells and NK cells, and regulating apoptosis, thereby maintaining control of the immune response.
    • It plays a fundamental role in numerous metabolic and biochemical reactions such as DNA synthesis and repair, protein synthesis, prostaglandin synthesis, amino acid transport, and enzyme activation. Thus, every system in the body can be affected by the state of the glutathione system, especially the immune system, the nervous system, the gastrointestinal system and the lungs.


    Glyconutrients are plant carbohydrates (monosaccharides). There are over 200 carbohydrates or sugars but only 8 are essential to bodily function. These are:
        * xylose
        * fucose
        * galactose
        * glucose
        * mannose
        * N-acetylglucosamine
        * N-acetylgalactosamine
        * N-acetylneuraminic acid (a sialic acid).

    These 8 essential glyconutrients combine with other molecules like proteins and lipids, to form glycoforms or glycoconjugates which coat cell surfaces. When they combine with protein molecules, they form glycoproteins that coat the surface of every cell with a nucleus in the human body. When glyconutrients bind with lipids (fats) they form glycolipids which also adhere to the cell surface. Glyconutrients are the key to effective cellular communication and proper cell function.

    Food sources: fruits and vegetables, aloe vera, kelp, shitake, psyllium seed, chondroitin sulphite, beer yeast, egg and whey.

    is characterized by recurrent attacks of acute inflammatory arthritis—a red, tender, hot, swollen joint. The metatarsal-phalangeal joint at the base of the big toe is the most commonly affected. However, it may also present itself as tophi, kidney stones, or urate nephropathy. It is caused by elevated levels of uric acid in the blood which crystallize and are deposited in joints, tendons, and surrounding tissues. Dietary causes  include a strong association with the consumption of alcohol, fructose-sweetened drinks, meat, and seafood. Other triggers include physical trauma and surgery. The consumption of coffee, vitamin C and dairy products as well as physical fitness appear to decrease the risk. This is believed to be partly due to their effect in reducing insulin resistance. Gout frequently occurs in combination with other medical problems. Metabolic syndrome, a combination of abdominal obesity, hypertension, insulin resistance and abnormal lipid levels occurs in nearly 75% of cases.


    Health is the level of functional or metabolic efficiency of a living organism. Metabolism is the set of life-sustaining chemical transformations within the cells of living organisms. The three main purposes of metabolism are the conversion of food/fuel to energy to run cellular processes, the conversion of food/fuel to building blocks for proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, and some carbohydrates, and the elimination of nitrogenous wastes. These enzyme-catalyzed reactions allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments.

    In humans, health is the ability of individuals or communities to adapt and self-manage when facing physical, mental, or social challenges.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) defined health in its broader sense in its 1948 constitution as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

    Histamine is an organic nitrogen compound involved in local immune responses as well as regulating physiological function in the gut and acting as a neurotransmitter. Histamine triggers the inflammatory response. As part of an immune response to foreign pathogens, histamine is produced by basophils and by mast cells found in nearby connective tissues. Histamine increases the permeability of the capillaries to white blood cells and some proteins, to allow them to engage pathogens in the infected tissues.

    Histology is the study of the microscopic anatomy of cells and tissues of plants and animals.

    Homeopathy in which practitioners treat patients using highly diluted preparations that are believed to cause healthy people to exhibit symptoms that are similar to those exhibited by the patient. The basic principle of homeopathy, known as the "law of similars", is "let like be cured by like."

    A hormone is a chemical released by a cell or a gland in one part of the body that sends out messages that affect cells in other parts of the organism. Only a small amount of hormone is required to alter cell metabolism. In essence, it is a chemical messenger that transports a signal from one cell to another.
    Endocrine hormone molecules are secreted (released) directly into the bloodstream, whereas exocrine hormones are secreted directly into a duct, and, from the duct, they flow either into the bloodstream or from cell to cell by diffusion.

    Recently it has been found that a variety of exogenous modern chemical compounds have hormone-like effects on both humans and wildlife. Their interference with the synthesis, secretion, transport, binding, action, or elimination of natural hormones in the body can change the homeostasis, reproduction, development, and/or behavior the same as endogenous produced hormones.

    Hormone cells are typically of a specialized cell type, residing within a particular endocrine gland, such as thyroid gland, ovaries, and testes.

    Hormones have the following effects on the body:
        stimulation or inhibition of growth
        mood swings
        induction or suppression of apoptosis (programmed cell death)
        activation or inhibition of the immune system
        regulation of metabolism
        preparation of the body for mating, fighting, fleeing, and other activity
        preparation of the body for a new phase of life, such as puberty,
    parenting, and menopause
        control of the reproductive cycle
        hunger cravings

    A hormone may also regulate the production and release of other hormones. Hormone signals control the internal environment of the body through homeostasis.


    Immune System: Innate and Adaptive
    The immune system’s main role is to protect the body from infection. The system is divided into two major branches: the innate immune system and the adaptive immune system. The innate immune system is nonspecific as to the type of organism it fights and is ready to be mobilized upon the first signs of infection. The adaptive immune system launches attacks specific to the invading pathogen and requires some time to tailor its custom-made response. The adaptive system “remembers” antigens it has encountered and reacts more quickly and efficiently the next time that antigen is found, yet more slowly than the innate system.

    Innate Immunity
    The innate immunity system is what we are born with and it is nonspecific; all antigens are attacked pretty much equally. It is genetically based and we pass it on to our offspring.

    Surface Barriers or Mucosal Immunity
       1. The first and, arguably, most important barrier is the skin. The skin cannot be penetrated by most organisms unless it already has an opening, such as a nick, scratch, or cut.
       2. Mechanically, pathogens are expelled from the lungs by ciliary action as the tiny hairs move in an upward motion; coughing and sneezing abruptly eject both living and nonliving things from the respiratory system; the flushing action of tears, saliva, and urine also force out pathogens, as does the sloughing off of skin.
       3. Sticky mucus in respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts traps many microorganisms.
       4. Acid pH (< 7.0) of skin secretions inhibits bacterial growth. Hair follicles secrete sebum that contains lactic acid and fatty acids both of which inhibit the growth of some pathogenic bacteria and fungi. Areas of the skin not covered with hair, such as the palms and soles of the feet, are most susceptible to fungal infections. Think athlete's foot.
       5. Saliva, tears, nasal secretions, and perspiration contain lysozyme, an enzyme that destroys Gram positive bacterial cell walls causing cell lysis. Vaginal secretions are also slightly acidic (after the onset of menses). Spermine and zinc in semen destroy some pathogens. Lactoperoxidase is a powerful enzyme found in mother's milk.
       6. The stomach is a formidable obstacle insofar as its mucosa secrete hydrochloric acid (0.9 < pH < 3.0, very acidic) and protein-digesting enzymes that kill many pathogens. The stomach can even destroy drugs and other chemicals.

    Normal flora are the microbes, mostly bacteria, that live in and on the body with, usually, no harmful effects to us. We have about 1013 cells in our bodies and 1014 bacteria, most of which live in the large intestine. There are 103–104 microbes per cm2 on the skin (Staphylococcus aureus, Staph. epidermidis, diphtheroids, streptococci, Candida, etc.). Various bacteria live in the nose and mouth. Lactobacilli live in the stomach and small intestine. The upper intestine has about 104 bacteria per gram; the large bowel has 1011 per gram, of which 95–99% are anaerobes (An anaerobe is a microorganism that can live without oxygen, while an aerobe requires oxygen.) or bacteroides. The urogenitary tract is lightly colonized by various bacteria and diphtheroids. After puberty, the vagina is colonized by Lactobacillus aerophilus that ferment glycogen to maintain an acid pH.

    Normal flora fill almost all of the available ecological niches in the body and produce bacteriocidins, defensins, cationic proteins, and lactoferrin all of which work to destroy other bacteria that compete for their niche in the body.

    The resident bacteria can become problematic when they invade spaces in which they were not meant to be. As examples: (a) staphylococcus living on the skin can gain entry to the body through small cuts/nicks. (b) Some antibiotics, in particular clindamycin, kill some of the bacteria in our intestinal tract. This causes an overgrowth of Clostridium difficile, which results in pseudomembranous colitis, a rather painful condition wherein the inner lining of the intestine cracks and bleeds.

    A phagocyte is a cell that attracts (by chemotaxis), adheres to, engulfs, and ingests foreign bodies. Promonocytes are made in the bone marrow, after which they are released into the blood and called circulating monocytes, which eventually mature into macrophages (meaning "big eaters").

    Some macrophages are concentrated in the lungs, liver (Kupffer cells), lining of the lymph nodes and spleen, brain microglia, kidney mesoangial cells, synovial A cells, and osteoclasts. They are long-lived, depend on mitochondria for energy, and are best at attacking dead cells and pathogens capable of living within cells. Once a macrophage phagocytizes a cell, it places some of its proteins, called epitopes, on its surface—much like a fighter plane displaying its hits. These surface markers serve as an alarm to other immune cells that then infer the form of the invader. All cells that do this are called antigen presenting cells (APCs).

    The non-fixed or wandering macrophages roam the blood vessels and can even leave them to go to an infection site where they destroy dead tissue and pathogens. Emigration by squeezing through the capillary walls to the tissue is called diapedesis or extravasation. The presence of histamines at the infection site attract the cells to their source.

    Natural killer cells move in the blood and lymph to lyse (cause to burst) cancer cells and virus-infected body cells. They are large granular lymphocytes that attach to the glycoproteins on the surfaces of infected cells and kill them.

    Polymorphonuclear neutrophils, also called polys for short, are phagocytes that have no mitochondria and get their energy from stored glycogen. They are nondividing, short-lived (half-life of 6–8 hours, 1–4 day lifespan), and have a segmented nucleus.  They constitute 50–75% of all leukocytes. The neutrophils provide the major defense against pyogenic (pus-forming) bacteria and are the first on the scene to fight infection. They are followed by the wandering macrophages about three to four hours later.

    The complement system is a major triggered enzyme plasma system. It coats microbes with molecules that make them more susceptible to engulfment by phagocytes. Vascular permeability mediators increase the permeability of the capillaries to allow more plasma and complement fluid to flow to the site of infection. They also encourage polys to adhere to the walls of capillaries (margination) from which they can squeeze through in a matter of minutes to arrive at a damaged area. Once phagocytes do their job, they die and their "corpses," pockets of damaged tissue, and fluid form pus.

    Eosinophils are attracted to cells coated with complement C3B, where they release major basic protein (MBP), cationic protein, perforins, and oxygen metabolites, all of which work together to burn holes in cells and helminths (worms). About 13% of the WBCs are eosinophils. Their lifespan is about 8–12 days. Neutrophils, eosinophils, and macrophages are all phagocytes.

    Dendritic cells are covered with a maze of membranous processes that look like nerve cell dendrites. Most of them are highly efficient antigen presenting cells. There are four basic types: Langerhans cells, interstitial dendritic cells, interdigitating dendritic cells, and circulating dendritic cells. Our major concern will be Langerhans cells, which are found in the epidermis and mucous membranes, especially in the anal, vaginal, and oral cavities. These cells make a point of attracting antigen and efficiently presenting it to T helper cells for their activation. (This accounts, in part, for the transmission of HIV via sexual contact.)

    Each of the cells in the innate immune system bind to antigen using pattern-recognition receptors. These receptors are encoded in the germ line of each person. This immunity is passed from generation to generation. Over the course of human development these receptors for pathogen-associated molecular patterns have evolved via natural selection to be specific to certain characteristics of broad classes of infectious organisms. There are several hundred of these receptors and they recognize patterns of bacterial lipopolysaccharide, peptidoglycan, bacterial DNA, dsRNA, and other substances. Clearly, they are set to target both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria.

    Adaptive or Acquired Immunity
    Lymphocytes come in two major types: B cells and T cells. The peripheral blood contains 20–50% of circulating lymphocytes; the rest move in the lymph system. Roughly 80% of them are T cells, 15% B cells and remainder are null or undifferentiated cells. Lymphocytes constitute 20–40% of the body's WBCs. Their total mass is about the same as that of the brain or liver.
    B cells are produced in the stem cells of the bone marrow; they produce antibody and oversee humoral immunity. T cells are nonantibody-producing lymphocytes which are also produced in the bone marrow but sensitized in the thymus and constitute the basis of cell-mediated immunity. The production of these cells is diagrammed below.

    Parts of the immune system are changeable and can adapt to better attack the invading antigen. There are two fundamental adaptive mechanisms: cell-mediated immunity and humoral immunity.

    Cell-mediated immunity
    Macrophages engulf antigens, process them internally, then display parts of them on their surface together with some of their own proteins. This sensitizes the T cells to recognize these antigens. All cells are coated with various substances. CD stands for cluster of differentiation and there are more than one hundred and sixty clusters, each of which is a different chemical molecule that coats the surface. CD8+ is read "CD8 positive." Every T and B cell has about 105 = 100,000 molecules on its surface. B cells are coated with CD21, CD35, CD40, and CD45 in addition to other non-CD molecules. T cells have CD2, CD3, CD4, CD28, CD45R, and other non-CD molecules on their surfaces.

    The large number of molecules on the surfaces of lymphocytes allows huge variability in the forms of the receptors. They are produced with random configurations on their surfaces. There are some 1018 different structurally different receptors. Essentially, an antigen may find a near-perfect fit with a very small number of lymphocytes, perhaps as few as one.

    T cells are primed in the thymus, where they undergo two selection processes. The first positive selection process weeds out only those T cells with the correct set of receptors that can recognize the MHC molecules responsible for self-recognition. Then a negative selection process begins whereby T cells that can recognize MHC molecules complexed with foreign peptides are allowed to pass out of the thymus.

    Cytotoxic or killer T cells (CD8+) do their work by releasing lymphotoxins, which cause cell lysis. Helper T cells (CD4+) serve as managers, directing the immune response. They secrete chemicals called lymphokines that stimulate cytotoxic T cells and B cells to grow and divide, attract neutrophils, and enhance the ability of macrophages to engulf and destroy microbes. Suppressor T cells inhibit the production of cytotoxic T cells once they are unneeded, lest they cause more damage than necessary. Memory T cells are programmed to recognize and respond to a pathogen once it has invaded and been repelled.

    Humoral immunity

    (immune cells in lymph fluid and blood)
    An immunocompetent but as yet immature B-lymphocyte is stimulated to maturity when an antigen binds to its surface receptors and there is a T helper cell nearby (to release a cytokine). This sensitizes or primes the B cell and it undergoes clonal selection, which means it reproduces asexually by mitosis. Most of the family of clones become plasma cells. These cells, after an initial lag, produce highly specific antibodies at a rate of as many as 2000 molecules per second for four to five days. The other B cells become long-lived memory cells.

    Antibodies, also called immunoglobulins or Igs (with molecular weights of 150–900 Md), constitute the gamma globulin part of the blood proteins. They are soluble proteins secreted by the plasma offspring (clones) of primed B cells. The antibodies inactivate antigens by, (a) complement fixation (proteins attach to antigen surface and cause holes to form, i.e., cell lysis), (b) neutralization (binding to specific sites to prevent attachment—this is the same as taking their parking space), (c) agglutination (clumping), (d) precipitation (forcing insolubility and settling out of solution), and other more arcane methods.

    Constituents of gamma globulin are: IgG-76%, IgA-15%, IgM-8%, IgD-1%, and IgE-0.002% (responsible for autoimmune responses, such as allergies and diseases like arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and systemic lupus erythematosus). IgG is the only antibody that can cross the placental barrier to the fetus and it is responsible for the 3 to 6 month immune protection of newborns that is conferred by the mother.

    IgM is the dominant antibody produced in primary immune responses, while IgG dominates in secondary immune responses. IgM is physically much larger than the other immunoglobulins.

    Notice the many degrees of flexibility of the antibody molecule. This freedom of movement allows it to more easily conform to the nooks and crannies on an antigen. The upper part or Fab (antigen binding) portion of the antibody molecule (physically and not necessarily chemically) attaches to specific proteins (called epitopes) on the antigen. Thus antibody recognizes the epitope and not the entire antigen. The Fc region is crystallizable and is responsible for effector functions, i.e., the end to which immune cells can attach.

    In the ABO blood typing system, when an A antigen is present (in a person of blood type A), the body produces an anti-B antibody, and similarly for a B antigen. The blood of someone of type AB, has both antigens, hence has neither antibody. Thus that person can be transfused with any type of blood, since there is no antibody to attack foreign blood antigens. A person of blood type O has neither antigen but both antibodies and cannot receive AB, A, or B type blood, but they can donate blood for use by anybody. If someone with blood type A received blood of type B, the body's anti-B antibodies would attack the new blood cells and death would be imminent.

    All of these of these mechanisms hinge on the attachment of antigen and cell receptors. Since there are many, many receptor shapes available, WBCs seek to optimize the degree of confluence between the two receptors. The number of these "best fit" receptors may be quite small, even as few as a single cell. This attests to the specificity of the interaction. Nevertheless, cells can bind to receptors whose fit is less than optimal when required. This is referred to as cross-reactivity. Cross-reactivity has its limits. There are many receptors to which virions cannot possibly bind. Very few viruses can bind to skin cells.

    The design of immunizing vaccines hinges on the specificity and cross-reactivity of these bonds. The more specific the bond, the more effective and long-lived the vaccine. The smallpox vaccine, which is made from the vaccinia virus that causes cowpox, is a very good match for the smallpox receptors. Hence, that vaccine is 100% effective and provides immunity for about 20 years. Vaccines for cholera have a relatively poor fit so they do not protect against all forms of the disease and protect for less than a year.

    The goal of all vaccines is promote a primary immune reaction so that when the organism is again exposed to the antigen, a much stronger secondary immune response will be elicited. Any subsequent immune response to an antigen is called a secondary response and it has

             1. a shorter lag time,

             2. more rapid buildup,
             3. a higher overall level of response,
             4. a more specific or better "fit" to the invading antigen,
             5. utilizes IgG instead of the large multipurpose antibody IgM.


    Immunity can be either natural or artificial, innate or acquired=adaptive, and either active or passive.

         - Active natural (contact with infection): develops slowly, is long term, and antigen specific.

        - Active artificial (immunization): develops slowly, lasts for several years, and is specific to the antigen for which the immunization was given.
         - Passive natural (transplacental = mother to child): develops immediately, is temporary, and affects all antigens to which the mother has immunity.
         - Passive artificial (injection of gamma globulin): develops immediately, is temporary, and affects all antigens to which the donor has immunity.

    Interferon are proteins made and released by host cells in response to the presence of pathogens—such as viruses, bacteria, or parasites—or tumor cells. They allow communication between cells to trigger the protective defenses of the immune system that eradicate pathogens or tumors.

    Inflammation is part of the complex biological response of vascular tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants. Inflammation is a protective attempt by the organism to remove the injurious stimuli and to initiate the healing process. Inflammation is not a synonym for infection, even in cases where inflammation is caused by infection. Although infection is caused by a microorganism, inflammation is one of the responses of the organism to the pathogen.

    Without inflammation, wounds and infections would never heal. Similarly, progressive destruction of the tissue would compromise the survival of the organism. However, chronic inflammation can also lead to a host of diseases, such as allergies, asthma, atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis,  auto immune diseases, inflammatory bowel diseases, and even cancer. It is for that reason that inflammation is normally closely regulated by the body.

    Inflammation can be classified as either acute or chronic. Acute inflammation is the initial response of the body to harmful stimuli and is achieved by the increased movement of plasma and leukocytes (especially granulocytes) from the blood into the injured tissues. A cascade of biochemical events propagates and matures the inflammatory response, involving the local vascular system, the immune system, and various cells within the injured tissue. Prolonged inflammation, known as chronic inflammation, leads to a progressive shift in the type of cells present at the site of inflammation and is characterized by simultaneous destruction and healing of the tissue from the inflammatory process.

    The Cardinal signs of Inflammation:
    The traditional names for signs of inflammation come from Latin:

        * Dolor (pain)
        * Calor (heat)
        * Rubor (redness)
        * Tumor (swelling)
        * Functio laesa (loss of function)

    C-reactive protein and systemic inflammation
    click image to enlarge

    Iron Deficiency is one of the most commonly known forms of nutritional deficiencies. In the human body, iron is present in all cells and has several vital functions:
    as a carrier of oxygen to the tissues from the lungs in the form of hemoglobin
    as a transport medium for electrons within the cells in the form of cytochromes 
    as an integral part of enzyme reactions in various tissues
    Too little iron can interfere with these vital functions and lead to morbidity and death.

    The direct consequence of iron deficiency is iron deficiency anemia. Groups that are most prone to developing this disease are children and pre-menopausal women.

    Total body iron averages approximately 3.8 g in men and 2.3 g in women. In blood plasma, iron is carried tightly bound to the protein transferrin. There are several mechanisms that control human iron metabolism and safeguard against iron deficiency. The main regulatory mechanism is situated in the gastrointestinal tract. When loss of iron is not sufficiently compensated by adequate intake of iron from the diet, a state of iron deficiency develops over time. When this state is uncorrected, it leads to iron deficiency anemia. 

    chronic bleeding (hemoglobin contains iron)
    excessive menstrual bleeding
    non-menstrual bleeding
    bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract (ulcers, hemorrhoids, etc.)
    rarely, laryngological bleeding or from the respiratory tract
    inadequate intake (special diets low in dietary iron)
    substances (in diet or drugs) interfering with iron absorption
    malabsorption syndromes (a state arising from abnormality in absorption of food nutrients across the gastrointestinal tract)
    fever where it is adaptive to control bacterial infection
    blood donation 

    hair loss
    pica: is a medical disorder characterized by an appetite for substances largely non-nutritive: metal, clay, coal, sand, dirt, soil, feces, chalk, pens and pencils, paper, batteries, spoons, toothbrushes, soap, mucus, ash, gum, etc. or an abnormal appetite for food ingredients: flour, raw potato, raw rice, starch, ice cubes, salt, which continues for more than a month.
    brittle or grooved nails
    Plummer-Vinson syndrome: painful atrophy of the mucous membrane covering the tongue, the pharynx and the oesophagus
    Impaired immune function
    Pagophagia: a form of the disorder pica involving the compulsive consumption of ice or iced drinks
    Restless Leg Syndrome

    Possible Blood Test Results
    A full blood count would likely reveal microcytic anemia: anemia characterized by small red blood cells
    Low serum ferritin (Serum ferritin can be elevated in inflammatory conditions and so a normal serum ferritin may not always exclude iron deficiency)   
    Low serum iron
    High TIBC (total iron binding capacity)

    It is also possible that the fecal occult blood test might be positive, if iron deficiency is the result of gastrointestinal bleeding.


    Before any treatment is commenced there should be definitive diagnosis of the underlying cause for iron deficiency, particularly in older patients who are most susceptible to colorectal cancer and the gastrointestinal bleeding it often causes. In adults, 60% of patients with iron deficiency anemia may have underlying gastrointestinal disorders leading to chronic blood loss. It is likely that the cause of the iron deficiency will need treatment as well.

    Mild iron deficiency can be prevented or corrected by eating iron-rich foods. Because iron is a requirement for most plants and animals, a wide range of foods provide iron. Good sources of dietary iron include red meat, poultry, lentils, beans, leafy vegetables, pistachios, tofu, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, fortified bread, and fortified breakfast cereals. Iron in low amounts is found in molasses and farina.

    Iron from different foods is absorbed and processed differently by the body; for instance, iron in meat (heme iron source) is more easily broken down and absorbed than iron in grains and vegetables ("non-heme" iron source), but heme/hemoglobin from red meat has effects which may increase the likelihood of colorectal cancer. Minerals and chemicals in one type of food may inhibit absorption of iron from another type of food eaten at the same time. For example, oxalates and phytic acid form insoluble complexes which bind iron in the intestines before it can be absorbed.
    Because iron from plant sources is less easily absorbed than the heme-bound iron of animal sources, vegetarians and vegans should have a somewhat higher total daily iron intake than those who eat meat, fish or poultry. Legumes and dark-green leafy vegetables like broccoli, kale and oriental greens are especially good sources of iron for vegetarians and vegans. However, spinach and Swiss chard contain oxalates which bind iron making it almost entirely unavailable for absorption. Iron from nonheme sources is more readily absorbed if consumed with foods that contain either heme-bound iron or vitamin C.

    Iron is needed for bacterial growth making its bioavailability an important factor in controlling infection and iron supplements can increase the risk of infection. A moderate iron deficiency, in contrast, can provide protection against acute infection.


    is a state of elevated levels of ketone bodies in the body. Ketone bodies are formed by ketogenesis when the liver glycogen stores are depleted.  When gycogen stores are not available in the cells, fat (triacylglycerol) is cleaved to give 3 fatty acid chains and 1 glycerol molecule in a process called lipolysis. Most of the body is able to use fatty acids as an alternative source of energy in a process called beta-oxidation. One of the products of beta-oxidation is acetyl-CoA, which can be further used in the Krebs cycle. During prolonged fasting or starvation, acetyl-CoA in the liver is used to produce ketone bodies instead, leading to a state of ketosis.

    During starvation or a long physical training session, the body starts using fatty acids instead of glucose. The brain cannot use long-chain fatty acids for energy because they are completely albumin-bound and cannot cross the blood-brain barrier. Not all medium-chain fatty acids are bound to albumin. The unbound medium-chain fatty acids are soluble in the blood and can cross the blood-brain barrier. The ketone bodies produced in the liver can also cross the blood-brain barrier. In the brain, these ketone bodies are then incorporated into acetyl-CoA and used in the citric acid cycle.

    Prolonged excess of ketone bodies can overwhelm normal compensatory mechanisms, leading to acidosis if blood pH falls below 7.35. If the diet is changed from a highly glycemic diet to a diet that does not provide sufficient carbohydrate to replenish glycogen stores, the body goes through a set of stages to enter ketosis. During the initial stages of this process, blood glucose levels are maintained through gluconeogenesis, and the adult brain does not burn ketones; however, the brain makes immediate use of ketones for lipid synthesis in the brain. After about 48 hours of this process, the brain starts burning ketones in order to more directly use the energy from the fat stores that are being depended upon, and to reserve the glucose only for its absolute needs, thus avoiding the depletion of the body's protein store in the muscles.

    Ketogenic The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control (refractory) epilepsy in children. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is particularly important in fuelling brain function. However, if there is very little carbohydrate in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood, a state known as ketosis, leads to a reduction in the frequency of epileptic seizures.

    Most dietary fat is made of molecules called long-chain triglycerides (LCTs). However, medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) - made from fatty acids with shorter carbon chains than LCTs - are more ketogenic. A variant of the classic diet known as the MCT ketogenic diet uses a form of coconut oil, which is rich in MCTs, to provide around half the calories. As less overall fat is needed in this variant of the diet, a greater proportion of carbohydrate and protein can be consumed, allowing a greater variety of food choices.

    Kidney Stones are solid concretions or crystal aggregations formed in the kidneys from dietary minerals in the urine. Kidney stones typically leave the body by passage in the urine stream, but can cause obstruction of the ureter if large enough (2-3 mm). Kidney stones often result from a combination of factors (compounded complications), rather than a single, well-defined cause. Stones are more common in people whose diet is very high in animal protein or vitamin C or who do not consume enough water or calcium. Some studies suggest that people who take supplemental calcium have a higher risk of developing kidney stones. Unlike supplemental calcium, high intakes of dietary calcium do not appear to cause kidney stones and may actually protect against their development. There is some evidence that water fluoridation may increase the risk of kidney stone formation.  



    Langerhan Cells
    are dendritic cells of the epidermis. They are also normally present in lymph nodes and other organs. In skin infections , the local Langerhans cells take up and process microbial antigens to become fully-functional antigen-presenting cells. tissue are active in the capture, uptake and processing of antigens. Once dendritic cells arrive in secondary lymphoid tissue, however, they lose these properties while gaining the capacity to interact with naive T-cells. 

    Lymph is a part of the interstitial fluid, the fluid which lies in the spaces between all body tissues. Interstitial fluid becomes lymph when it enters a lymph capillary. The lymph then travels to at least one lymph node before emptying ultimately into the right or the left subclavian vein, where it mixes back with blood. Lymph returns protein and excess interstitial fluid to the circulation. Lymph picks up bacteria and brings them to lymph nodes to be destroyed. Metastatic cancer cells can also be transported via lymph. Lymph also transports fats from the digestive system. Lymph has a composition comparable to that of blood plasma, but it may differ slightly. Lymph contains white blood cells. In particular, the lymph that leaves a lymph node is richer in lymphocytes. Likewise, the lymph formed in the digestive system called chyle is rich in triglycerides (fat), and looks milky white. Blood supplies nutrients and important metabolites to the cells of a tissue and collects back the waste products they produce, which requires exchange of respective constituents between the blood and tissue cells. However, this exchange is not direct but instead is effected through an intermediary called interstitial fluid or tissue fluid that the blood forms. Interstitial fluid (ISF) is the fluid that occupies the spaces between the cells and constitutes their immediate environment. As the blood and the surrounding cells continually add and remove substances from the ISF, its composition continually changes. Water and solutes can freely pass between the ISF and blood via diffusion across capillary walls and thus both are in dynamic equilibrium with each other.

    Intersticial fluid forms at the arterial (coming from the heart) end of capillaries because of the higher pressure of blood compared to veins, and most of it returns to its venous ends and venules; the rest (1%) enters the lymph capillaries as lymph. Thus, lymph when formed is a watery clear liquid with the same composition as the ISF. However, as it flows through the lymph nodes it comes in contact with blood, and tends to accumulate more cells (particularly, lymphocytes) and proteins.

    The two primary lymph systems are the thymus gland and the bone marrow, where the immune cells form or mature. The secondary lymph system is made up of encapsulated and unencapsulated diffuse lymphoid tissue. The encapsulated tissue includes the spleen and the lymph nodes. The unencapsulated tissue includes the gut-associated lymphoid tissues and the tonsils.

    Tubular vessels transport lymph back to the blood, ultimately replacing the volume lost during the formation of the interstitial fluid. These channels are the lymphatic channels, or simply lymphatics.

    Unlike the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system is not closed and has no central pump. Lymph transport, therefore, is slow and sporadic. Lymph movement occurs despite low pressure due to peristalsis (propulsion of the lymph due to alternate contraction and relaxation of smooth muscle), valves, and compression during contraction of adjacent skeletal muscle and arterial pulsation.

    Lymph that enters the lymph vessels from the interstitial space usually does not flow backwards along the vessels because of the presence of valves. If excessive hydrostatic pressure develops within the lymph vessels, though, some fluid can leak back into the interstitial space and contribute to formation of edema.


    Macular Degeneration

    Age related macular degeneration is a medical condition which usually affects older adults that results in a loss of vision in the center of the visual field (the macula) because of damage to the retina. It occurs in “dry” and “wet” forms. Macular degeneration can make it difficult or impossible to read or recognize faces, although enough peripheral vision remains to allow other activities of daily life. 

    Metagenomics is the study of metagenomes, genetic material recovered directly from environmental samples. Traditional microbiology and microbial genome sequencing rely upon cultivated clonal cultures. This relatively new field of genetic research enables studies of organisms that are not easily cultured in a laboratory as well as studies of organisms in their natural environment.

    A microorganism or microbe is an organism that is unicellular or lives in a colony of cellular organisms. The study of microorganisms is called microbiology. Microorganisms are very diverse; they include bacteria, fungi, archaea (a single-celled microorganism), and protists; microscopic plants (green algae); and animals such as plankton and the planarian. Some microbiologists also include viruses, but others consider these as non-living.


    Naturopathy or Naturopathic Medicine is a form of alternative medicine based on a belief in vitalism, a special energy called vital energy or vital force which guides bodily processes such as metabolism, reproduction, growth, and adaptation. Naturopathic philosophy favors a holistic approach, and, like conventional medicine seeks to find the least invasive measures necessary for symptom improvement or resolution, thus encouraging minimal use of surgery and unnecessary drugs. Naturopathic medicine is defined by principles rather than by methods or modalities. Above all, it honors the body’s innate wisdom to heal. Naturopathic practitioners are split into two groups, traditional naturopaths and naturopathic physicians. Naturopathic physicians employ the principles of naturopathy within the context of conventional medical practices. 

    Neurology is the medical study of the human nervous system. The nervous system encompasses the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and muscles. It can be affected by debilitating diseases, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. The specialist doctors who treat patients suffering from these diseases and disorders are called neurologists. Related but distinct fields of medicine include psychiatry, which deals with diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the mind, and neurosurgery, which involves the surgical treatment of disorders of the nervous system.

    Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. Traditionally, neuroscience has been seen as a branch of biology. However, it is currently an interdisciplinary science that collaborates with other fields such as chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics, medicine, philosophy, physics, and psychology. The term neurobiology is usually used interchangeably with the term neuroscience, although the former refers specifically to the biology of the nervous system, whereas the latter refers to the entire science of the nervous system.


    Omega 3 see Essential Fatty Acid

    Osteoarthritis also known as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease, is a group of mechanical abnormalities involving degradation of joints, including articular cartilage and subchondral bone. Symptoms may include joint pain, tenderness, stiffness, locking of the joint, and sometimes an effusion (the presense of intra-articular fluid). A variety of causes: developmental, metabolic, and mechanical—may initiate processes leading to loss of cartilage. When bone surfaces become less well protected by cartilage, bone may be exposed and damaged. As a result of decreased movement secondary to pain, regional muscles may atrophy, and ligaments may become more lax. Treatment generally involves a combination of exercise, lifestyle modification, and analgesics. If pain becomes debilitating, joint replacement surgery may be used to improve the quality of life. 

    Osteoporosis is a disease of bones that leads to an increased risk of fracture. In osteoporosis the bone mineral density is reduced, bone microarchitecture is deteriorating, and the amount and variety of proteins in bone is altered. Osteoporosis risks can be reduced with lifestyle changes and sometimes medication; in people with osteoporosis, treatment may involve both. Lifestyle change includes diet and exercise, and preventing falls. Medication includes calcium, vitamin D, and bisphosphonates. Fall-prevention advice includes exercise to tone deambulatory muscles, proprioception-improvement exercises; equilibrium therapies may be included.



    A pathogen, infectious agent, or germ is a microbe or microorganism such as a virus, bacterium, prion, or fungus that causes disease.  The body contains many natural orders of defense against some of the common pathogens in the form of the human immune system and by some "helpful" bacteria present in the human body's normal flora. However, if the immune system or "good" bacteria is damaged in any way (such as by chemotherapy, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), or antibiotics being taken to kill other pathogens), pathogenic bacteria that were being held at bay can proliferate and cause harm to the host. Many germs may attack at greater strength depending on their temperature. For example, a warm germ is more likely to hibernate, whereas a cold germ is the hungriest.

    Permaculture is an approach to designing human settlements and agricultural systems that are modeled on the relationships found in natural ecologies.

    Permaculture is sustainable land use design. This is based on ecological and biological principles, often using patterns that occur in nature to maximise effect and minimise work. Permaculture aims to create stable, productive systems that provide for human needs, harmoniously integrating the land with its inhabitants. The ecological processes of plants, animals, their nutrient cycles, climatic factors and weather cycles are all part of the picture. Inhabitants’ needs are provided for using proven technologies for food, energy, shelter and infrastructure. Elements in a system are viewed in relationship to other elements, where the outputs of one element become the inputs of another. Within a Permaculture system, work is minimized, wastes become resources, productivity and yields increase, and environments are restored. Permaculture principles can be applied to any environment, at any scale from dense urban settlements to individual homes, from farms to entire regions.

    Phagocytosis In cell biology, phagocytosis is the process by which a cell engulfs a solid particle, such as bacteria, to form an internal vesicleIn the immune system, phagocytosis is a major mechanism used to remove pathogens and cell debris.

    Physiology is the science of the natural function of living systems. This includes how organisms, organ systems, organs, cells, and bio-molecules carry out the chemical or physical functions that exist in a living system.
    Human physiology is the science of the mechanical, physical, and biochemical functions of humans, their organs, and the cells of which they are composed. Physiology is closely related to anatomy; anatomy is the study of form, and physiology is the study of function. Due to the frequent connection between form and function, physiology and anatomy are intrinsically linked and are studied in tandem as part of a medical curriculum.

    are scientists who study the whole organism and cellular function in humans, animals or plants.

    Plantar Fasciitis is a painful inflammatory process of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous band of connective tissue originating on the bottom surface of the calcaneus (heel bone) and extending along the sole of the foot towards the five toes. It is commonly associated with long periods of weight bearing. Among non-athletic populations, it is associated with a high body mass index. The pain is usually felt on the underside of the heel and is often most intense with the first steps of the day. Another symptom is that the sufferer has difficulty bending the foot so that the toes are brought toward the shin (decreased dorsiflexion of the ankle). A symptom commonly recognized among sufferers of plantar fasciitis is increased probability of knee pains, especially among runners. Treatment options for plantar fasciitis include rest, massage therapy, stretching, weight loss, night splints, motion control running shoes, physical therapy, cold therapy, and orthotics (especially arch support to distribute body weight evenly over the foot).

    Prebiotics are non-digestible fiber compounds that pass undigested through the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract and stimulate the growth and/or activity of advantageous bacteria that colonize the large bowel by acting as substrate  for them.

    Probiotics are microorganisms 
    beneficial for digestive health and function. Naturally fermented foods are the healthiest source of probiotics.


    Radiation Treatment is therapy using ionizing radiation, generally as part of cancer treatment to control or kill malignant cells. 
    Radiation therapy is commonly applied to the cancerous tumour because of its ability to control cell growth. Ionizing radiation works by damaging the DNA of cancerous tissue leading to cellular death. To spare normal tissues - such as skin or organs which radiation must pass through to treat the tumour - shaped radiation beams are aimed from several angles of exposure to intersect at the tumour, providing a much larger absorbed dose there than in the surrounding, healthy tissue.  

    It may also be used as part of adjuvant therapy, to prevent tumor recurrence after surgery to remove a primary malignant tumor (for example, early stages of breast cancer). Radiation therapy is synergistic with chemotherapy, and has been used before, during, and after chemotherapy in susceptible cancers.




    Stem Cell





    Tennis Elbow

    Thalassotherapy is from the Greek word thalassa, meaning sea and is the unproven medical use of seawater as a form of therapy. The properties of seawater are believed to have beneficial effects upon the pores of the skin. Thalassotherapy was developed in seaside towns in Brittany, France during the 19th century.

    In thalassotherapy, trace elements of magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium, and iodide found in seawater are believed to be absorbed through the skin. The effectiveness of this method of therapy is not widely accepted as it has not been proven scientifically. The therapy is applied in various forms, as either showers of warmed seawater, application of marine mud or of algae paste, or the inhalation of sea fog. Spas make hot seawater and provide mud and seaweed wrapping services. This type of therapy is common in the Dead Sea area.


    The 2005 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine has been awarded to Australians Barry J. Marshall and Robin Warren, for showing that stomach and intestinal ulcers are caused by bacterial infection rather than stress.

    They established that the bacterium Helicobacter pylori is the most common cause of ulcers, an assertion that went against the prevailing thought in the medical community at the time. Their discovery began a large-scale reassessment of the causes of other chronic inflammatory diseases, such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and atherosclerosis.

    Although it is clear that H. pylori bacteria play a major role in ulcers, the more foundational and primary reason why most people acquire ulcers is that they have an impairment in their immune system that allows the H. pylori infection to take hold.

    High doses of vitamin C inhibit the bacteria that causes ulcers, Helicobacter pylori growth in culture. Vitamin C's inhibitory effects seem to be specific to H. pylori and a close cousin, Campylobacter jejuni.

    Extra virgin olive oil could help prevent and treat Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infections, which cause millions of cases of gastritis and peptic ulcer disease each year.

    Previous studies have shown that natural foods such as green tea and cranberry juice inhibit the growth of H. pylori infections in the stomach lining. This is the first time that olive oil has been looked at in this context.

    In laboratory cultures, the phenolic compounds in extra virgin olive oil had strong antibacterial effects against eight strains of H. pylori, including antibiotic-resistant strains. The compounds were also shown to be capable of remaining stable in the harsh acidic conditions of the stomach.

    Ulcers are most often caused by infection with H. pylori bacteria, with lifestyle factors such as eating habits and stress playing a lesser role, but new research suggests that regular exercise may counter all of these factors and reduce the risk for at least one type of ulcer.

    Researchers speculate that exercise may help the body deal with the physical effects of psychological stress, reduce acid production in the digestive tract, or enhance immune system' function.


    A virus is a small infectious agent that can replicate only inside the living cells of organisms. Most viruses are too small to be seen directly with a light microscope. Viruses are found in almost every ecosystem on Earth and are the most abundant type of biological entity. The study of viruses is known as virology, a sub-speciality of microbiology.


    Dr. Otto Warburg (1883-1970) A German Physiologist, MD and Biochemist, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1931 for his research relating to the cause of cancer, malignant growth and tumour growth. He hypothesized that the prime cause of cancer is the replacement of the respiration of oxygen in normal body cells by a fermentation of sugar. In essence there is a lack of cellular oxygenation due to acidosis.
    White Blood Cell 
    (WBCs), also called leukocytes or leucocytes, are the cells of the immune system that are involved in defending the body against both infectious disease and foreign invaders. Five different and diverse types of leukocytes exist, and several types (including monocytes and neutrophils) are phagocytic. 

    All leukocytes are produced and derived from a multipotent cell in the bone marrow known as a hematopoietic stem cell. Leukocytes are found throughout the body, including the blood and lymphatic system. 

    The number of leukocytes in the blood is often an indicator of disease (1% is the total blood volume in a healthy adult).


    Yogalosophy is a combination of yoga, exercise, and philosophy used by teacher Mandy Ingber.