Glossary of Naturopathic Medical Terms

Wondering what a specific term means?

Browse our glossary of naturopathic medical terms to discover more about what each of them means, and how they relate to your health!

Adrenal glands are two glands which sit on top of your kidneys. They produce hormones, like cortisol, that help the body to respond to stress.

Ascorbic Acid, better known as Vitamin C, is crucial for helping your body metabolize protein. It’s also great for your immune system, and helps you metabolize iron. You can find Ascorbic Acid in most fruits, especially citrus fruits, tomatoes, mangos, kiwis, papayas, and strawberries, as well as peppers, cabbage, potatoes, and lettuce.

Autoimmune condition is a state of imbalance in your body in which your immune system attacks some of your body’s own cells. Thyroiditis is an example of an autoimmune condition.

Beta-Carotene is a nutrient which your body can convert into vitamin A. You can find beta-carotene in leafy greens, apricots, cantaloupes, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and squash.

Biotin is a coenzyme which your body uses to metabolize energy. It can be found in most foods.

Blood sugar is the concentration of glucose sugar in your blood. Blood sugar levels are affected by diet and hormones, like cortisol and insulin. If your blood sugar is too high you are hyperglycemic, and if it’s too low you’re hypoglycemic. A naturopathic doctor works to normalize your blood sugar.

Calcium is important to keep your teeth and bones healthy, maintains your immune system, keeps your muscles fire properly, and helps regulate blood pressure. You can find calcium in dairy products, broccoli, mustard greens, and legumes.

Chromium is used to regulate your blood sugar levels, along with insulin. You can find chromium in liver, whole grains, nuts, cheese, and brewer’s yeast.

Chloride is a mineral your body uses to keep your fluids balanced, especially your stomach acid. You can find chloride in table salt, meats, breads, and vegetables. There is also a large amount in processed foods, though too much chloride can cause health issues.

Cobalamin, also known as Vitamin B12, is used for making new cells and is important for keeping your nerves functioning properly. You can find Vitamin B12 in meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, and dairy products.

Copper is needed by your body to metabolize iron. You can find copper in legumes, nuts, seeds, and in organ meats (liver, kidneys, etc)

Cortisol is a hormone produced by your adrenal glands. It raises blood sugar levels and helps the body deal with stress.

Endocrine system is a collection of organs in your body which secrete hormones. It includes the thyroid gland, adrenal glands, pituitary gland, ovaries, testes, and others.

Endocrinology is the study of the endocrine system. Many illnesses can be linked to an imbalance in the endocrine system. An endocrinologist specializes in curing these ailments.

Folic Acid is what your body uses to make DNA and new cells, especially red blood cells. It can be found in seeds, orange juice, legumes, and leafy green veggies.

Graves’ Disease is an autoimmune disease which results from an overactive thyroid gland. Dr. Nardini specializes in treatment of Graves’ disease.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease which affects the thyroid. Dr. Nardini specializes in treatment of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Hormones are chemical messengers which send a signal from an organ in the endocrine system to a target tissue or organ via your blood. This alters the function of the target organ. An example of a hormone is cortisol – it is produced by the adrenal glands and travels to the liver to tell it to make sugar.

Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) is a condition in which your thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine (T4). Hyperthyroidism can accelerate your body’s metabolism significantly, causing sudden weight loss, a rapid or irregular heartbeat, sweating, and nervousness or irritability.

Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is a condition in which your thyroid gland produces too little of the hormone thyroxine (T4). Hypothyroidism can reduce your body’s metabolism significantly, causing weight gain, fatigue, hair loss, low body temperature, and depression.

Iodine is used by your thyroid. You can find iodine in kelp, iodized salt, and dairy products.

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that lowers blood sugar.

Iron is a mineral which helps carry oxygen throughout the body. You can find it in meats, especially red meats, as well as egg yolks, legumes, dried fruits, leafy greens, and some types of chocolate.

Magnesium is used to make protein, maintain your bones, keep your muscles firing properly, and to maintain your immune system. You can find magnesium in nuts and seeds, leafy green veggies, seafood, artichokes, legumes, and in chocolate.

Manganese is a part of many different enzymes in your body. You can find manganese in most foods, especially in plants.

Metabolism is the rate at which your body burns fuel (primarily sugar). This determines energy, weight, mood, body temperature, and many other aspects of your health.

Modality is a form of treatment administered by a naturopath. Examples of modalities which naturopaths may use include acupuncture, homeopathy, botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, and lifestyle counseling, among others.

Niacin, also known as Vitamin B3, is important for your metabolism, as well as for your nervous system, digestive system, and for healthy skin. You can find niacin in meat, poultry, fish, whole grain breads, mushrooms, leafy greens, asparagus, and peanut butter.

Pantothenic Acid, also known as Vitamin B5, is an important enzyme which your body needs to metabolize energy. It can be found in most foods.

Phosphorus is used by your body to keep your teeth and bones strong. It also helps maintain the balance in your body between acidic and basic elements. You can find phosphorus in meats, eggs, and in dairy products. There is a large amount in processed foods as well, especially carbonated soft drinks, though too much phosphorus can be detrimental.

Potassium is needed to keep your fluids balanced, to keep your nerves functioning, and to keep your muscles working properly. You can find potassium in meats, dairy products, fresh fruits and vegetables (especially bananas), whole grains, and legumes.

Pyridoxine, also known as Vitamin B6, is crucial to your body’s ability to make red blood cells. You can find it in meats, poultry, fish, and fruits and vegetables.

Riboflavin, also known as Vitamin B2, is important for your metabolism, as well as for your vision and for healthy skin. You can find riboflavin in dairy products, leafy green veggies, and whole grain breads.

Selenium is a powerful antioxidant, helps to regulate your metabolism and energy levels, and is needed by your thyroid system. You can find selenium in Brazil nuts, fish, liver, brown rice, oats, and poultry.

Sodium is a mineral needed for balance, and to keep your nerves transmitting, You can find sodium most commonly in salt. There is also a large amount of sodium in processed foods, and too much sodium can cause health issues.

Sulfur is part of what makes up the protein molecules in your body. You can find it in all the same places you’d normally find protein.

T3 (triiodothyronine) is a thyroid hormone which is made from T4, mostly outside of the thyroid gland.

T4 (thyroxine) is the primary thyroid hormone made by the thyroid gland.

Thiamine, also known as Vitamin B1, is important for your metabolism and for proper nerve function. You can find thiamine in pork, whole grain breads, legumes, and nuts and seeds.

Thyroid gland is a small gland at the base of the throat which regulates your body’s metabolism.

Thyroid hormones regulate your body’s metabolism. They include T3 and T4.

Thyroid system is a complex set of organ systems which includes the thyroid gland, adrenal glands, liver, kidneys, and other tissues in your body.

Vitamin A is what your body uses to keep your eyes, skin, bones, and teeth healthy. It also helps with your immune system. Your body can turn beta-carotene into vitamin A. You can find vitamin A in most meats and dairy products.

Vitamin D is what your body uses to absorb calcium and to maintain healthy immune and brain function. You can find vitamin D in egg yolks, liver, and fatty fish. Your body can also absorb vitamin D from the Sun’s rays, depending on the time of year and where you live.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant, and it’s also used by your cells to protect their cellular walls. You can find vitamin E in leafy green veggies, liver, egg yolks, and nuts and seeds.

Vitamin K is essential to make sure your blood coagulates and that you have healthy bones. You can find vitamin K in leafy green veggies, cabbage, and milk.

Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome, or WTS, is a stress related, usually reversible condition of the thyroid system. It is not diagnosed by standard blood tests. Dr. Nardini is a Toronto Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome specialist.

Zinc is used for making protein, to heal wounds, to maintain your immune system, and to maintain your sexual organs. You can find zinc in most meats and vegetables.