Diet & Nutrition Glossary: A

acetylcholine: A chemical that enables brain cells to exchange messages.

Adequate Intakes; AIs : A measurement providing recommendations for nutrients for which no RDA is set.

adrenaline: This hormone serves as your body’s call to battle stations.

alanine: An important part of human muscle and one of the few amino acids that transforms into glucose, an important sugar that your body uses as an energy source.

albumin : A protein that helps maintain the body’s fluid balance, keeping a proper amount of liquid in and around body cells.

alpha-tocopherol equivalent : The vitamin E compound with the greatest vitamin E activity. The RDA for Vitamin E is measured in milligrams of alpha-tocopherol equivalents (a-TE).

aluminum: A heavy metal used in deodorants, some cookware, and foil. Excessive amount of aluminum can cause health problems.

amino acids: Commonly known as the building blocks of protein.

anemic: Having fewer red blood cells than necessary.

anorexia nervosa : The eating disorder known as voluntary starvation. It is virtually unknown in places where food is hard to come by. It seems to be an affliction of affluence, most likely to strike the young and well-to-do. It’s 9 times more common among women than among men.

antidiuretic hormone; ADH: A hormone secreted by the hypothalamus, a gland at the base of your brain.

antioxidants : Nutrients that prevent a chemical reaction called oxidation, which enables molecular fragments called free radicals to join together, forming potentially carcinogenic compounds in your body.

aorta: The major artery that carries blood out to your body.

arginine: An amino acid that supports male fertility.

arsenic: A nutrient essential to animals and plants but toxic for humans.

aspartic acid: An amino acid found in its highest quantities in the brain. Aspartic acid increases neurologic activity.

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