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Supplement Glossary from A to Z

Confused about bodybuilder jargon? Or need to know what the difference between whey and soy protein is? This is the place. We have defined many popular workout, exercise, and supplement words here in our glossary.

Need a word defined you don’t see here? Let us know, we can add it to this page.

A

ActiVin

A grape seed extract which acts as a powerful antioxidant.

Amino Acids

Amino Acids are the building blocks of proteins. Eight of these amino acids are essential, which means that the body cannot manufacture them. The rest of amino acids are non-essential, which means that they can be manufactured by the body, but only with proper nutrition. Amino acids can build cells, repair tissue, and form antibodies. They also build RNA and DNA, and carry oxygen throughout the body. Proteins are made up of amino acids.

Androgen

This term refers to the male sex hormones (testosterone, androsterone) or any agent that encourages the development of male sex characteristics.

Androstenedione

A weak androgenic steroid secreted by the adrenal cortex, testes, and ovary. In normal males less than 5% of their testosterone comes from the conversion of adrenal androstenedione. Androstenedione is converted to testosterone by the enzyme 17-ketoreductase. Androstenedione and testosterone are converted to estrone and estradiol in peripheral tissues (primarily in adipose tissue but also in muscle, kidney, liver and the hypothalamus) by aromatase. The conversion of androstenedione and testosterone accounts for more than 75% of the estrogens in the plasma of normal men. The rest is synthesized in the testes. Gonadotropin secretion may be partially controlled by estrogen formation in the hypothalamus.

Antioxidants

Nutrients that combat ever-present free radicals created through oxidation in the body. Free radicals are believed to contribute to a number of health problems.

Arthred®

A patented form of hydrolyzed collagen protein (HCL), which forms the framework of human cartilage. The effectiveness of HCL in promoting healthy joints was demonstrated through $10 million in worldwide clinical trials.

ATP

Adenosine Triphosphate - a compound consisting of the nucleotide adenosine attached through its ribose group to three phosphoric acid molecules. It serves to store energy in muscles which is released when it is hydrolyzed to adenosine diphosphate.

B

Beta-carotene

A nutrient that is converted to Vitamin A by the body when needed. Contains antioxidant properties.

Bioperine

A patented thermogenic nutrient; increases the body’s efficiency in the uptake of nutrients.

Biotin (Vitamin B)

Essential for metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates.

Boron

A mineral that may play a role in maintaining strong bones, affecting calcium and magnesium metabolism and proper membrane function.

C

Calcium

A mineral that helps build and maintain strong bones and teeth, regulate heartbeat and muscle contractions, and ensure proper blood clotting. Adequate intake can help prevent or minimize osteoporosis.

Calories

Measurement of the potential of food to supply energy. Carbohydrates – The body’s principal source of energy. Simple carbohydrates come from sugars; complex carbohydrates come from starches and fiber. The body converts them to glucose, which is used to energize cells.

Carnitine

An amino acid essential for the breakdown of fat into energy. Carnitine may improve the utilization of fats for energy and can be beneficial in conditions associated with impaired fat breakdown and energy production. Carnitine may be beneficial in heart disease, enhancing physical performance, Alzhiemers disease, diabetes, liver disease, and protection against drug toxicity.

Cholesterol

Substance manufactured by the liver and other organs and consumed via animal fat. High-fat diets increase the amount made. It is believed that high levels lead to collection of cholesterol in the arteries, possibly leading to serious health risks.

Choline

A nutrient that helps prevent the accumulation of fat in the liver; aids in the detoxification of metabolic wastes and toxins.

Chromium

Mineral important in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats; helps build lean muscle tissue and regulate blood sugar levels.

CLA(Conjugated linoleic acid)

A naturally occurring nutrient which scientists have discovered exerts a positive effect on protein and fat metabolism.

Coenzyme Q 10

Vital to energy production at the cellular level; used for endurance improvement. Supplementation may decrease fatigue, muscle weakness and obesity. Also recognized for its strong antioxidant properties.

Copper

Mineral important in the formation of red blood cells; keeps bones, blood vessels, nerves and the immune system healthy.

Creatine monohydrate

Maximizes the body’s level of stored creatine phosphate; results in increased peak athletic performance and shortened muscle recovery time.

D

DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone)

A hormone produced by the adrenal gland. Primary function is to produce estrogen and testosterone.

Dietary fiber

Consists of both soluble (dissolves in water) and insoluble (does not dissolve in water) fiber. Diets high in dietary fiber and low in fat may have a protective effect against many chronic illnesses, including heart disease and some cancers, and may reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.

Ephedrine

A sympathetic nerve stimulant resembling adrenaline, its effect on the unstriped muscular fibres is remarkable. It acts promptly in relieving swellings of the mucous membrane. It has valuable antispasmodic properties, acts on the air passages and is of benefit in asthma and hay fever; it is also employed for rheumatism; a 5 to 10 per cent solution has mydriatic properties, prophylactically used for low blood pressure in influenza, pneumonia, etc. Used in tablet form for oral or hypodermic administration and in ampuls for hypodermic, intramuscular and intravenous use. It can advantageously be used in solution with liquid paraffin, either alone or in conjunction with methol camphor and oil of thyme. Dose, 1/2 to 1 grain. Synonyms include Ephedra, and Ma Huang.

F

Fats

Provide essential fatty acids that cannot be produced by the body. They transport fat-soluble vitamins and regulate blood cholesterol levels. Provide energy when the body’s carbohydrate level is depleted. Provide protection to vital organs. While fats are essential to the body, many people consume much more than necessary to remain healthy.

Folic acid

Vitamin important in the synthesis of DNA, tissue growth and the production of red blood cells.

Folic acid

Vitamin important in the synthesis of DNA, tissue growth and the production of red blood cells.

G

Gamma-linolenic Acid

Nutrient that increases the rate at which the body burns fat for energy; anti-inflammatory properties and other healthful benefits.

Ginseng

An herb (Korean - Panax Ginseng) (Siberian - Eleutherococcus senticosus) (American - panax quinqefolium),. The most costly root, ginseng is a low-growing, shade-loving perennial herb of the Araliaceae family. It is cultivated in China, Japan, Korea and Russia and can be taken in capsule form or as a tea. The United States can also cultivate this root.

Glucosamine

Glucosamine sulfate and n-acetyl glucosamine occur widely in the exoskeleton of arthropods and crustaceans as their biopolymer, chitin. Glucosamine is also a basic constituent of cartilage. Glucosamine is a natural sugar produced by the body and found in certain foods. Glucosamine stimulates the production of glycosaminoglycans and proteoglycans, two essential building blocks of cartilage. In most cases, the joints produce sufficient Glucosamine to keep the cartilage in good repair, but if they fail to do so, it dries out, degenerates, cracks, and may even completely wear away. Left unprotected, the joints then become swollen, stiff, inflamed, tender, and painful--the condition known as osteoarthritis. Advocates believe that by taking artificially synthesized Glucosamine sulfate supplements, osteoarthritis sufferers can "jump start" the natural production of Glucosamine by their own bodies.

Glutamine

A non-essential amino acid, glutamine is considered to be a brain fuel. Glutamine has been used therapeutically for alcoholism, mild depression and to reduce the craving for sweets. Glutamine is very important in the functioning of the metabolism and muscle maintenance. Glutamine supplementation can help prevent muscle and other tissue breakdown by providing the body with nitrogen and fuel.

Green Tea

An herb (Camellia sinensis). Green tea originates in China, Japan and other parts of Asia. The leaf of the plant is used in creating the extract which is potent and bioflavonoid-rich. This herb is used primarily for its free-radical scavenging capabilities. The key ingredient EGCG, which stands for Epigallocatechin Gallate, protects against digestive and respiratory infections. Historical uses of the tea are reducing high blood pressure, inhibiting pathogenic bacteria that cause food poisoning and blocking the actions of carcinogens, ultraviolet light and metastasis.

H

Herbs

Plants containing many nutrients and phytochemicals, providing an array of health benefits. Herbs have been known for centuries, but are now becoming the basics of many modern medicines.

Hydroxycitric Acid

Naturally-occurring nutrient with the ability to inhibit the synthesis of carbohydrates into fat; also works as an appetite suppressant. Found in Relìv products under the brand name CitriMax®.

I

Inositol

A nutrient that helps prevent the accumulation of fat in the liver; aids in the detoxification of metabolic wastes and toxins.

Insulin

A protein pancreatic hormone that is essential especially for the metabolism of carbohydrates and is used in the treatment and control of diabetes mellitus.

Iodine

A mineral necessary for normal cell metabolism. Required by the thyroid gland in the synthesis and secretion of hormones.

Iron

A mineral essential to the formation of hemoglobin and myoglobin (which carries oxygen in the blood and muscles, respectively). A part of several proteins and enzymes in the body.

Isoflavones

Compounds found in soy which have been shown to significantly reduce serum cholesterol levels — the leading risk factor for heart disease — as well as alleviate menopausal symptoms in women and assist in combating numerous other serious health risks.

L-carnitine

A nutrient responsible for the transportation of fats to cells for use in energy production.

Lysine

Essential amino acid. Important for growth, tissue repair, and the production of hormones, enzymes and antibodies. Research indicates that lysine may be useful in the treatment of migraine and herpes simplex. Precursor to carnitine in the body.

M

Magnesium

A mineral aiding many basic functions, including metabolism, heart rhythm, bone growth and the function of nerves and muscles.

Manganese

A mineral playing a vital role in reproduction and energy production; very important in building healthy bones. Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) – Provide twice the energy of carbohydrates; have no significant effect on insulin production. Improve the absorption of amino acids and reduce muscle tissue breakdown.

Molybdenum

A mineral required to activate certain enzymes that are necessary for thousands of bodily functions.

N

Niacin (Vitamin B3)

Crucial for conversion of food into energy; helps maintain normal functioning of the skin, nerves and digestive system.

O

Octacosanol

A naturally derived wheat germ oil concentrate which has been clinically proven to increase oxygen utilization when exercising.

P

PABA

Functions in the breakdown and use of proteins in the formation of blood cells.

Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5)

Essential in metabolizing food; aids in the synthesis of various body chemicals, such as hormones and cholesterol.

Phosphatidylserine (PS)

Increases the rate of protein synthesis during periods normally marked by muscle breakdown. Can aid in memory function.

Potassium

Potassium/Potassium Phosphate is a mineral which assists in muscle contraction and in maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance in body cells. Potassium is used for regulating heartbeat and helps muscles contract and relax. Potassium is also important in sending nerve impulses as well as releasing energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates during metabolism. Potassium can be found in potatoes, spinach, lentils, kidney beans, split peas, butternut squash, watermelon, raisins, yoghurt, orange juice, brussel sprouts, courgettes, bananas and broccoli.

Protein

The building blocks of the body. Composed of amino acids, which are vital to the body’s growth and function. Supplies valuable enzymes that regulate bodily functions. Key to muscle building and development.

Q

Quercetin

Quercetin is a concentrated form of Bioflavenoids derived from citrus fruit. Bioflavonoids are also known as flavenoids. These compounds are occasionally classed together as Vitamin “P”. Quercetin is a water-soluble plant pigment. While Quercetin is not considered essential, it does support health as an anti-inflammatory, antihistaminic, and anti-viral agent.

R

RDI

Recommended Dietary Intake. Estimates of daily minimal dietary intake of established nutrients provided by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council. Optimal levels have not been formally established.

S

Saw Palmetto Berry

An herb (Sarena Serrulata). Saw Palmetto is a small palm tree with red berries which were used by Native American Indians to ease certain ailments. The red berries contain high concentrations of plant sterols, including B-sistosterol, which act as anti-inflammatory agents. In addition, the berries provide a variety of fatty acids and phytosterols which inhibit the action of dihydrotestosterone, the compound thought to be responsible for the enlargement of the prostate.

Selenium

Selenium (Se) has been shown to prevent or slow aging and is an essential component of key antioxidant enzymes (anti-oxidants protect against free radicals, unstable oxygen molecules which are potentially damaging by-products of the body’s metabolism and which may contribute to the development of cardio-vascular disease and cancer This anti-oxidant action helps in the body by slowing cellular aging due to oxidation). Selenium also helps keep youthful elasticity in tissues and is essential for normal growth and development. Selenium can be taken as a dietary supplement either on its own or included in a multivitamin and multi mineral supplement and is usually included in meal replacement powders and bars.

Sodium

Helps regulate blood pressure and water balance in the body.

St. Johns wort

An herb (Hypericum perforatum). St. John's Wort is an aromatic perennial herb which has been used for centuries for a wide variety of conditions. The plant's active compound, hypericin, has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory activity. Hypericin has also been shown to have monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibiting activity, mimicking the action of antidepressant agents.

T

Testosterone

A naturally occurring androgenic hormone.

Tocotrienols

Tocotrienols along with tocopherols are from the vitamin E family of nutrients. Tocotrienols are derived from plants and are anti oxidants (anti-oxidants help in the body by slowing cellular aging due to oxidation). Vitamin E supplies oxygen to the blood which is then carried around the body to the organs helping with fatigue and nourishing cells and helping with muscle and nerve maintenance. Vitamin E also helps with cholesterol reduction, strengthens capillary walls and protects lungs. Most commercial vitamin E supplements do not contain the gamma form of the vitamin, depriving you of the full range of its antioxidant effects.

Tonalin (conjugated linoleic acid)

An essential fatty acid shown to reduce body fat and increase muscle tone.

Tyrosine

A nonessential amino acid but may be essential for individuals with certain diseases or nutritional concerns. May be important for neurotransmitter synthesis and mood regulation. May be useful for depression, allergies and addictive states.

U

V

Vanadyl

Vanadium is an essential mineral present in many foods but one which is not easily absorbed. Trace amounts of Vanadium are essential in the diet but it is not entirely clear what role it plays in the body or what effect deficiency has on our bodies. Vanadium is found in several forms such as Vanadyl Sulphate and Vanadate.

Vitamin A

Fat-soluble vitamin that promotes good vision; helps form and maintain healthy skin, teeth and skeletal and soft tissue; possibly increases resistance to infection.

Vitamin B1

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) is used in the body to digest carbohydrates and in the body’s metabolism to generate energy. Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) is essential for the normal function of the brain, nervous system, muscles and heart and promotes growth and muscle tone. Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) also aids the circulation and helps maintain the intestines.

Vitamin B12

Important for metabolism regulation and red blood cell production; helps maintain a healthy central nervous system.

Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) is needed by the body to use oxygen and for the metabolism of amino acids, fatty acids and carbohydrates to produce energy. Vitamin B2 is also needed to activate Vitamin B6 and to create Niacin (Vitamin B3). Vitamin B2 is also used for red blood cell formation, antibody production, cell respiration and growth. Vitamin B2 is also needed when protein intake is high and is most beneficial to the skin, hair and nails.

Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 (Niacin), promotes release of energy from foods and aids efficient nervous system function, circulation, growth and metabolism of protein, fat and carbohydrates. Vitamin B3 also aids sex hormone production and reduces cholesterol levels in blood, reducing high blood pressure.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) is a water soluble vitamin essential for health. Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) is essential for more than 100 enzymes involved in synthesis and breakdown of amino acids (the building blocks of protein). Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) is used for fat metabolism, red and white blood cell growth, antibody formation and for the efficient function of the nervous and lymphatic systems. Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) is also needed for the conversion of L-Tryptphan (an amino acid) to Niacin (Vitamin B3 which is also important to the circulatory and nervous systems.).

Vitamin C

Antioxidant that performs a variety of roles in the body, helping to promote healthy gums and teeth, aids in mineral absorption, helps heal wounds. May provide a variety of other health benefits.

Vitamin D

Promotes absorption of calcium and helps maintain proper blood levels of calcium and phosphorus.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin that acts as a major anti-oxidant protecting against free radicals, unstable oxygen molecules which are potentially damaging by-products of the body’s metabolism and which may contribute to the development of cardio-vascular disease and cancer This anti-oxidant action helps in the body by slowing cellular aging due to oxidation. Vitamin E supplies oxygen to the blood which is then carried around the body to the organs helping with fatigue and nourishing cells and helping with muscle and nerve maintenance.

Vitamin K

Vital to blood clotting; may help maintain strong bones with aging.

W

X

Xylitol

Xylitol is a white, odorless crystalline substance that looks and tastes like sugar and was discovered in 1891 by a German chemist- Emil Fischer. Xylitol is broadly classed as a carbohydrate but is absorbed slowly by the body and not all utilised and has 40% less calories than most other carbohydrates. Xylitol has been used in foods as a bulk sweetener for decades and is useful as a sugar substitute and in diabetic foods.

Y

Yohimbe Bark

A hormone stimulant, particularly effective in the production of testosterone. Primary Uses: as an aphrodisiac affecting both the male impotence and female frigidity. Secondary Uses: in bodybuilding and athletic formulas where more testosterone production is desired.

Z

Zinc

Zinc is an essential mineral found in almost every cell in the body and an essential part of more than 100 enzymes. Zinc supports a healthy immune system and is used for protein synthesis, Zinc is used in the formation of collagen which is the base of bone onto which calcium is deposited. Zinc is also used for wound healing, and for a sense of taste and smell. Zinc is used to help prostrate gland function, burn and wound healing and reproductive organ growth and development.

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