KNOWLEDGE IS POWER A-Z OF TERMS

ATP: Adenosine triphosphate. A high-energy molecule stored in muscle and other cells in the body. ATP is the fuel that allows muscles to contract. Oxygen and glucose contribute towards the formation of ATP.

AMINO ACIDS: A group of nitrogen-containing, carbon-based organic compounds that serve as the building blocks from which protein is made.

ANABOLIC/ ANABOLISM: The building process of tissues, mainly muscles. This occurs through resistance training and proper nutrition or by the use of drugs.

ANABOLIC STEROIDS: A synthetic version of the hormone testosterone, a hormone that controls many functions. Among these functions is the promotion of anabolism. Steroids mimic this action but do it at an accelerated rate. These dramatic gains are often accompanied by serious side effects.

ANTI-CATABOLIC: The halting of cellular breakdown in the body. Slowing down the breakdown of protein results in new muscle growth.

ANTI-OXIDANTS: Help minimise tissue oxidation by free radicals.

BUFFER: A substance that minimises changes in pH. Athletes to help reduce lactic acid build-up during strenuous exercise use buffers, such as sodium phosphate.

CALORIES: The measurement of how much energy a food yields. Example (liters of water)

CARBOHYDRATES: Organic compounds which contain carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. A very effective fuel source for the body carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram.

CATABOLIC: The opposite of anabolic. It means the breakdown of tissue. Catabolism occurs during disease, infection, injury, intense training and strict dieting. Catabolism causes a loss of muscle and other bodily tissues.

CO-ENZYMES: A substance, which works with an enzyme to promote the enzymes activity.

ELECTROLYTES: Substances which when in solution are able to conduct electricity. These charged particles are present throughout the body and are involved in many activities such as regulating the distribution of water inside and outside cells in the body. Examples are: Sodium, Potassium, and Chloride.

ENZYMES: A protein molecule that assists in many chemical reactions such as: digestion of food, muscle cell repair etc.

ERGOGENIC: This word refers to something that can increase muscular work capacity. Natural supplements which can increase some aspect of athletic performance are said to be ergogenic or performance-enhancing aids.

ESSENTIAL FATTY ACID: Fats that our bodies can’t make, so they need to be obtained through diet. These facts are very important for hormone production and cellular synthesis, lower disease risks, increases brain functioning (specifically memory and concentration) and increases production of keratin (skin, hair, and nails) An example of an essential fatty acid are omega 3, 6 and 9. Found in foods such as mackerel, salmon, tuna, seeds – flax seeds, chia seeds.

FREE FORM AMINO ACIDS: Structurally unlinked, individual amino acids.

FREE RADICALS: Highly reactive molecules produced during metabolism of food and energy production and are responsible for molecular damage and death of cells. Anti-oxidants help to neutralize free radicals.

GLYCAEMIC INDEX: A measure of the extent to which a food raises blood sugar levels. Examples: Dextrose has a GI of 138; Fructose has a GI of 31.

GLYCOGEN: The principal storage form of carbohydrate energy (glucose), which is stored in the muscle or the liver. When muscles are full of glycogen they feel and look full/ pumped.

HYPOGLYCAEMIA: Low blood sugar/ glucose levels. Occurs most commonly in diabetics where it is due to either insulin overload or inadequate intake of carbohydrates.

INSULIN: An anabolic hormone, which aids the body in maintaining proper blood sugar levels and promoting glycogen stores. Insulin speeds the movement of nutrients through the bloodstream and into the muscle for growth.

LACTIC ACID: A molecule produced from glucose during anaerobic metabolism. Lactic acid build-up is a primary cause of muscle fatigue.

MACRONUTRIENTS: nutrients that get ingested in large quantities e.g. Proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

METABOLISM: Refers to the utilization of nutrients by the body for both anabolic and catabolic processes.

MICRONUTRIENTS: Nutrients that get ingested in small quantities e.g. Vitamins and minerals.

NITROGEN & NITROGEN BALANCE: Nitrogen distinguishes proteins from other substances and allows them to form various structural units in our bodies, including enzymes and muscle cells. Nitrogen balance is achieved when a person’s daily intake of nitrogen from protein is equal to the daily excretion of nitrogen. When muscle is being lost one is in negative nitrogen balance. Muscle growth is associated with a positive nitrogen balance.

OXIDATION: The process of cellular destruction and breakdown, resulting in the formation of free radicals.

PROTEIN: Nitrogen-containing compounds. Composed of amino acids, and are essential for growth and repair in the body. 1g of protein contains 4 calories. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.

SATURATED FATS: Are bad fats, which our bodies break down therefore saturated fats are stored as fat in our bodies. Saturated fats are found in fast foods. Saturated fat is found in red meat and animal products such as dairy.

STACKING OF SUPPLEMENTS: Taking 2 or more compounds at once in order to obtain maximum results.

SUPPLEMENTS: A term used to describe a preparation such as pills, powders or liquids, which contain nutrients. To be used as part of a person’s daily intake to supply adequate or additional nutrient levels.

SYNERGISTIC: An action which is created when 2 or more things work together, enhancing the effectiveness of one supplement by adding another e.g. Creatine and carbohydrates.

THERMOGENIC: Heat production/fat burning. When one speeds up their metabolism, this causes a rise in core body temperature and accelerates calorie expenditure.

UNSATURATED FATS: Are fats that our body can burn off and use as energy. Unsaturated fats are found in things like avocado and sunflower oil.