Glossary of terminology
Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP): This is the primary fuel used by cells to generate the biochemical reactions essential for life.
Adrenocorticotrophic Hormone (ACTH): The hormone released from the pituitary gland that interacts with receptors on the adrenal gland to begin the process of cortisol and DHEA production. ACTH uses the second messenger cyclic AMP to signal target cells in the adrenal gland.
Advanced Glycosylation Endproduct: The polymerized end products of protein cross-linked with glucose. AGE’s tend to adhere to capillaries and arteries increasing the risk of heart disease, blindness, and kidney failure. AGE’s are best estimated by the levels of glycosylated hemoglobin in the bloodstream.
Aerobic Capacity: The body’s ability to process oxygen. It is a combination of lung capacity, the size of the capillaries, the pumping action of the heart, and transfer of oxygen from red blood cells to target tissues.
Aerobic Exercise: Exercise with a low enough intensity to facilitate adequate oxygen transfer to the muscle cells so that no buildup of lactic acid is observed. This type of training is useful for reducing insulin levels and lowering blood glucose.
Amino Acids: These are the building blocks of protein. There are eight essential amino acids the body cannot make and, therefore, must be included in the foods you eat.
Amygdala: The portion of the limbic system in the brain that processes emotions.
Anaerobic Exercise: Exercise at an intensity that exceeds the ability to supply oxygen to the muscle cells leading to the buildup of lactic acid. Anaerobic exercise stimulates the synthesis of both growth hormone and testosterone.
Anabolic Steroids: Synthetic analogs of testosterone that maintain the anabolic (i.e., biological muscle-building effects) while reducing the virilization effects of testosterone.
Anti-aging Zone Lifestyle Pyramid: The combination of the Zone Diet, moderate exercise, and meditation that interacts to reduce the four pillars of aging (excess insulin, excess blood glucose, excess free radicals, and excess cortisol). Of the three components of the Anti-aging Zone Lifestyle Pyramid, the Zone Diet is by far the most important.
Arachidonic Acid: An essential fatty acid that is the immediate precursor to “bad” eicosanoids found in fatty red meats, egg yolks, and organ meats.
Autocrine Hormones: Hormones that act upon the secreting cell. They are used to sample the immediate environment surrounding the cell. Eicosanoids are the best-known example of autocrine hormones.
Binding Proteins: Proteins that bind to water-soluble hormones, such as sex hormones, cortisol, and thyroid; or specific water-soluble proteins, such as insulin-like growth factor to maintain stable circulating levels of the hormone in the bloodstream.
Biological Marker of Aging: Any physiological marker that appears to be universal in an aging population.
Biological Response Modifier: Any molecule that can provide a natural response of cells to changes in its external environment.
Blood Glucose: The primary source of energy for the brain. Elevated blood glucose levels cause diabetes and accelerate aging.
Calcium Oxalate Kidney Stones: Kidney stones form from various molecules. They are usually crystals of one or another molecule but may be composed of combinations of elements or rarely protein matrix. Calcium oxalate is the most common type of stone. These stones are usually easy to see on x-ray and cannot dissolve.
Calorie Restriction: The reduction of calories that maintains adequate levels of protein and essential fats while also supplying sufficient amounts of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).
Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone (CRH): The hormone released from the hypothalamus that interacts with the pituitary to produce ACTH. This hormone uses the cyclic AMP for its second messenger.
Cortisol: The hormone released by the adrenal glands in response to stress or low blood glucose. Its primary mode of action in the times of stress is to shut down eicosanoid synthesis. Its synthesis in the adrenal gland requires the second messenger, cyclic AMP.
Cyclic AMP: A second messenger that begins the biological response initiated by a hormone. Cyclic AMP derives from ATP. Many endocrine hormones use the cyclic AMP as their second messenger.
Cyclic GMP: A second messenger that begins the biological response initiated by a hormone. Cyclic GMP is the second messenger-induced nitric oxide.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA): A steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Its primary function is to inhibit the binding of cortisol.
Diabetes: A condition in which blood glucose is not well controlled. Type I diabetics make no insulin, whereas people with type II diabetes are characterized by the overproduction of insulin, but the inability of the target cells to respond to the insulin.
Dopamine: A neurotransmitter that works in an axis with serotonin.
Eicosanoid: A hormone derived from a 20-carbon atom, polyunsaturated fat. Every cell in the body makes eicosanoids. As autocrine hormones, they are continuously produced by the cell to sample the external environment. “Good” eicosanoids generate AMP.
Endocrinology: The study of hormones. A more inclusive definition would be the study of biological communications.
Endocytosis: The process by which extracellular molecules (including hormones) enter a cell.
Endothelial Cells: The cells that line the vascular system. They act as a barrier between the bloodstream and target cells that hormones must pass through to reach their receptors and exert their biological action.
B-Endorphin: A hormone derived from the pituitary that induces opiate-like responses to decrease pain. The release of its precursor hormone (B-lipotropin) requires the cyclic AMP.
Essential Fatty Acids: These are the fats the body cannot make and therefore must be part of the diet. Essential fatty acids are also the building blocks of eicosanoids. There are two groups, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids, each gives rise to a different group of eicosanoids.
Erectile Dysfunction (ED): Male erectile dysfunction, (ED), or impotence is the inability for a sexually active male to obtain and sustain an erection for sexual purposes.
Estrogens: A group of three steroid hormones that convey female characteristics and control fertilization. The production of estrogen is stimulated by follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which uses the cyclic AMP as its second messenger.
Exocytosis: The process by which intracellular chemicals (including hormones) are released.
Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH): The hormone released by the pituitary that stimulates estrogen production in females, and sperm production in males. FSH uses the cyclic AMP as its second messenger.
Free Radical: Any molecule that contains an unpaired electron. Free radicals are unstable and will extract electrons from other biological molecules, which generates more free radicals.
Functionality: The ability to live in an unassisted fashion.
Gland: A discrete organ responsible for the secretion of hormones. There are nine separate glands in the body. Three are in the brain (hypothalamus, pineal, and pituitary), three are in the throat area (thyroid, thymus, and parathyroid), two are in the midsection (pancreas and adrenals), and one is in the gonad area (testes for males and ovaries for females).
Glucagon: The hormone from the pancreas that causes the release of stored carbohydrate in the liver to restore blood glucose levels. Glucagon uses the second messenger cyclic AMP to exert its biological action.
Glucose: The only simple carbohydrate that circulates in the bloodstream. Glucose is the primary fuel utilized by the brain. It can also by in the liver and muscles in a polymer form known as glycogen.
Glucose Tolerance: The ability of muscle cells and the liver to remove glucose from the bloodstream. As you age, glucose tolerance decreases.
Glycemic Index: A measure of the rate at which a carbohydrate will enter the bloodstream as glucose. Some simple sugars, like table sugar, will enter the bloodstream slower than many complex carbohydrates, such as bread, rice, and potatoes. The faster a carbohydrate enters the bloodstream, the higher its glycemic index. The higher the glycemic index of a carbohydrate, the greater the increase in insulin levels. Fruits and vegetables tend to have a low glycemic index, whereas bread, pasta, grains, and starches tend to have a high glycemic index.
Glycogen: The storage form of glucose. Only glycogen from the liver can be used to restore blood glucose levels.
Glycosylated Hemoglobin: A measure of the long-term control of blood glucose determined by the amount of carbohydrate-modified hemoglobin in the red blood cells. The higher the amount of glycosylated hemoglobin, the worse the control of blood glucose levels.
Growth Hormone: The hormone released from the pituitary that interacts with fat cells to release fatty acids and also the liver to produce insulin-like growth factors.
Hematuria: This is the presence of red blood cells in a urine specimen. It can be associated with kidney disease, a urinary tract infection, kidney stone, trauma, cancer of the urinary tract, and is sometimes healthy. Individual tests are ordered to rule out any serious medical problems.
High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL): The “good” cholesterol that helps remove cholesterol from cells. If insulin levels go up, then HDL levels go down. The lower your HDL level, the more likely you are to suffer cardiovascular complications.
Hippocampus: The portion of the limbic system in the brain that integrates incoming nerve impulses to the hypothalamus, and is also the memory center of the brain.
Hormones: Biological compounds that communicate information at a distance. Hormones require specific receptors to begin their biological action and use second messengers to initiate the cellular process that uses that information.
Hormonal (PCa): Hormonal therapy is based on the fact that prostate cancer cells frequently use the male hormone, testosterone, as fertilizer, and the absence of testosterone leads to the death or weakening, (apoptosis), of many, but not all, prostate cancer cells.As a result, many patients with incurable prostate cancer, (Stage D and late Stage C), can have their life extended and quality of life improved by the use of hormonal therapy.
Hormone Releasing Factors: Hormones released from the hypothalamus that directly affects the pituitary and initiates the release of other hormones into the bloodstream. Many hormone releasing factors use the cyclic AMP as their secondary messengers.
Hyperinsulinemia: The excess production of insulin. This is usually a consequence of insulin resistance in which the cells do not respond to insulin to reduce blood glucose levels.
Hypothalamus: The portion of the brain’s limbic system that integrates incoming information and either increase or decreases the release of certain hormones that instruct the pituitary gland to release hormones.
Incontinence: Incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine. Babies are incontinent until their nervous systems mature and they learn to control their urine flow. Incontinence can occur in males and females, old and young. It can be mild or severe. It usually can be treated
Insulin: The hormone that drives incoming nutrients into cells for storage. Excess insulin is the primary pillar of aging.
Insulin Resistance: A condition in which the cells no longer respond well to insulin. As a result, the body secretes more insulin into the bloodstream to reduce blood glucose levels.
Impotence: The condition where a man can not achieve or maintain an erection suitable for sexual relations. Impotence can be caused by stress or psychological factors; however, it is more frequently associated with medical problems such as diabetes, elevated cholesterol, hypertension, heart disease, numerous medications, and other causes.
Interstitial Space: The space between the endothelial cells and target cells, such as the liver or the smooth muscle cells that line the vascular bed.
Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP): A unique x-ray test of the kidneys where an iodine dye is injected into the veins. The colouring is absorbed by the kidneys and excreted into the bladder. This x-ray test can identify tumors of the kidney, ureter, and bladder. Also, it may assist in determining a kidney stone.
Lean Body Mass: The total body weight minus the fat mass. Lean body mass consists of water, bones, collagen, and muscle.
Life Expectancy: The average age of which 50 percent of newborn children survive.
Limbic System: The part of the brain that is concerned with more primitive impulses and maintaining biological homeostasis.
Longevity: The percentage of the maximum lifespan that an organism will reach before it dies.
Luteinizing Hormone (LH): The hormone released from the pituitary gland that stimulates the production of testosterone in males and the creation of progesterone in females. This hormone uses cyclic AMP as its second messenger.
Kidney Stones: Most urinary tract stones originate as crystals in the kidney, grow within the organ, and then migrate or pass through the urinary tract. Stones can also start and expand within the bladder. Bladder stones are often associated with chronic urinary blockage or infection, or severe protein starvation sometimes seen in the third world. Prostate stones grow within the prostate, probably as a result of infection. Prostate stones do not migrate or pass.
Kidney stones are formed from varied molecules. They are usually crystals of one or another molecule but may be formed of combinations of elements or rarely protein matrix. Calcium oxalate is the most common type of stone. These stones are usually easy to see on x-ray and cannot be dissolved.
Macronutrient: Any food that contains calories and, therefore, can generate hormonal responses. Protein, carbohydrate, and fat are macronutrients.
Melatonin: The hormone made in the pineal gland that controls circadian rhythms. It is also a powerful antioxidant for hydroxyl free radicals.
Micronutrient: Vitamins and minerals that have no caloric value and little direct impact on hormonal response.
Mortality Doubling Time: The amount of time required for the death rate to double after reaching adulthood.
Nitric Oxide: A proteohormone that generates cyclic GMP. Nitric oxide is a free radical.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: A particular type of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids found primarily in cold-water fish and purified fish oils. This kind of fat is exceptionally beneficial to your cardiovascular system because of its effect on promoting the formation of “good” eicosanoids.
Penile Prosthesis: This is a semi-rigid implantable device inserted into the penile chambers to treat and fix severe cases of impotence or Peyronie’s Disease. The procedure can be performed in an outpatient surgery center.
Percentage Body Fat: This describes the percentage of your total weight that is composed of fat. The higher your rate of body fat, the higher the likelihood of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes.
Peyronie’s Disease: The condition where there is scarring following an injury to the tunica albuginea (the wall of the penile chamber) or for unknown reasons. As the scar tissue increases in size, it can squeeze and deform the penis where there is bending or angulation of the penile chambers. The Peyronie’s scar can result in shortening of the penis and loss of erection.
Pineal: The gland located in the brain that synthesizes melatonin.
Priapism: A prolonged erection that will not subside naturally. Priapism is most often associated with penile injection therapy where the erection will last more than 4 hours. It is also related to Sickle Cell Anemia and may occur after taking Trazodone.
Progesterone: A hormone produced in response to luteinizing hormone (LH) released from pituitary gland. It is required to flush out the uterus if an egg is not fertilized. It is also useful for stimulating the growth of new bone mass.
Progestins: Synthetic analogs of progesterone that have some of the properties of natural progesterone.
PSA Blood Test: PSA stands for Prostatic Specific Antigen, a particular blood test that can help detect prostate cancer. PSA is frequently elevated in prostate cancer and can be the first sign of this illness.
Prostate Gland: This is a gland about the size of a walnut that sits at the base of the bladder. The prostate gland makes nutrients that support the sperm. As a man ages, the prostate gland can enlarge causing urinary difficulties (BPH) or cause prostate cancer.
Prostatitis: Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate gland and is a common condition affecting many, if not most, men at some time in their lives. Like sinusitis, it can be acute, chronic, infectious, allergic, inflammatory or even psychosomatic. While frequently disquieting and unpleasant it is rarely serious or life- threatening. There is no relationship between prostatitis and prostate cancer! Contrary to folklore, prostatitis, no matter how severe or long-lasting, has not been shown to lead to prostate cancer. There are three general types of prostatitis, bacterial prostatitis, the most common type, generally associated with a bacterial infection; non-bacterial or inflammatory prostatitis, when no infection is present; and prostatosis, or chronic pain in the prostate a subset of non-bacterial prostatitis.
Receptor: A molecule that recognizes a unique hormone. Once that hormone is bound to the receptor, the information carried by the hormone can now exert its biological action.
Semen Analysis: Evaluation of the sperm and seminal fluid. The number and motility of the sperm are evaluated, infection is ruled out, the volume and acidity of the liquid are assessed.
Seminal Vesicles: There are usually two seminal sacs or vesicles that lie behind the prostate where they collect fluid made by the prostate. This liquid becomes the seminal fluid that is ejaculated by a man when he is sexually active. The fluid transports and nourishes the sperm.
Serotonin: A neurotransmitter important in filtering out information. If its levels are low, it can be the underlying cause of depression and violence.
Struvite Kidney Stones: Kidney stones are formed from varied molecules. They are usually crystals of one or another molecule but may be formed of combinations of elements or rarely protein matrix. Struvite or infection stones are typically associated with chronic urinary infection and should be looked for in patients with urinary tract infection that ‘s hard to clear. Struvite stones are usually visible on x-ray studies. Unfortunately, in the early stages only bladder symptoms may occur and the stones may progress silently, growing to fill the kidney, (staghorn calculus), and possibly destroy it.
Telomer: A small segment at the end of nuclear DNA that becomes shorter with every replication of the DNA. DNA will no longer replicate beyond a certain point of telomere reduction.
Thymus: The gland responsible for the production of specific white cells known as T-lymphocytes that are necessary for immune function. The thymus is very sensitive to excess cortisol.
Thyroid-releasing Hormone (TRH): The hormone released from the hypothalamus that instructs the pituitary to release TSH.
Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH): The hormone released from the pituitary that causes the thyroid gland to produce the T4 hormone. TSH uses the second messenger cyclic AMP to initiate the synthesis of T4.
Trans Rectal Ultrasound (TRUS): TRUS is an examination where a finger-like probe is placed in the rectum, and ultrasound pictures are made of the prostate. TRUS is an even more fuzzy test than the Prostatic Specific Antigen. It is very helpful in directing biopsies to areas of high suspicion, but TRUS is nondiagnostic. It may give information about prostate size, shape, and significant local spread of prostate cancer, but it cannot make or deny the diagnosis of prostate cancer. TRUS should never be done as an isolated test, but only when a biopsy is to be done.
Triglycerides (TG): The form of fat found in various lipoproteins in the bloodstream. High levels of triglycerides are usually indicative of high levels of insulin. The ratio of TG/HDL is a powerful indicator of insulin levels and is strongly predictive of future cardiovascular events.
Type 2 Diabetes: A diabetic condition characterized by the overproduction of insulin (hyperinsulinemia), increased AGE production, and decreased longevity.
T3: The active form of T4 synthesized in the peripheral tissue.
T4: The thyroid hormone that is released from the thyroid gland in response to TSH, which generates cyclic AMP.
Uric Acid Kidney Stones: Kidney stones are formed from varied molecules. They are usually crystals of one or another molecule but may be formed of combinations of elements or rarely protein matrix. Uric acid stones are common in people with gout and in individuals who excrete significant amounts of uric acid in the urine. Uric acid stones can not be seen on x-ray, and require special tests, such as an IVP, (x-rays with injected contrast), spiral CT scans or sonography to be found. Uric acid stones can be due to family factors, various medical conditions or diets very high in animal proteins. This is the only stone that can be reliably dissolved with medical treatment.
Ventromedial Nucleus (VMN): The part of the hypothalamus sensitive to excess glucose.
Varicocele: Dilation of the veins draining blood from the testicle back to the body. There is increased blood and heat around the testicle thus causing injury to the sperm. A varicocele can be treated by surgery.
Vasectomy: The surgical process of male birth control. The vas tubes which carry the sperm are interrupted. Vasectomy can be performed as an out-patient with the “No-scalpel Technique” which is less traumatic.
Vas Deferens: The tube that carries the sperm from the epididymis and testicle to the penis. The tube has thick muscles to move the sperm along the track
Xanthine Kidney Stones: Kidney stones are formed from varied molecules. They are usually crystals of one or another molecule but may be formed of combinations of elements or rarely protein matrix. Xanthine or Cysteine stones are rare. They may be hereditary in origin or related to certain medical conditions or medications. They are invisible on X-ray and require specialized treatment to treat.
Zone Diet: A calorie-restricted diet that provides adequate protein, moderate levels of carbohydrates along with essential fats, and micronutrients spread throughout the day into three meals and two snacks that approximately maintain the protein-to-carbohydrate ratio throughout the day.
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