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Glossary of Terms & Definitions
Listed Alphabetically - "G"

Gallbladder:  A small pear shaped pouch adjacent to the liver that secretes bile. The gallbladder stores bile which is secreted by the liver and releases bile into the small intestine through the common bile duct.

Gallstones A solid mass, “pebbles” formed by the precipitation (crystallization) of cholesterol (most common in the U.S. and Europe) or bilirubin (most common in Asia) in the gallbladder. Gallstones may be asymptomatic (without symptoms) or they may result in inflammation and infection of the gallbladder.

Ganglion: Usually, a group of nerve cell bodies lying outside of the central nervous system (CNS); also used for one group of nerve cell bodies within the CNS - the basal ganglia.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) a condition in which stomach contents, including acid, back up (reflux) into the esophagus, causing inflammation and damage to the esophagus. GERD can lead to scarring of the esophagus, and may increase the risk of cancer of the esophagus in some patients.

Gastrointestinal: referring to or affecting the stomach and intestines (small and large bowel).

Gene: Biological unit of heredity; a region of DNA that controls a specific hereditary characteristic, usually corresponding to a single protein.

Gene expression: the full use of the information in a gene through transcription and translation leading to production of a protein.

Genome: all of the genetic information (encoded in DNA) possessed by an organism.

Ginko Biloba: (Main function: Improves alertness and circulation). Herb that improves cognition, increases memory and learning in Alzheimer’s patients, alleviates some forms of tinnitus and vertigo, and protects neurons from oxidative damage. Ginko has been known to ameliorate circulation problems, cerebral edema, asthma and sexual dysfunction due to use of antidepressants. People also use Ginko Biloba to treat or prevent atherosclerosis, impotence, depression diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and aging – although there is disagreement about its efficacy for these conditions. CAUTION: Ginkgo Biloba is a blood thinner and should not be used along with other blood thinners (i.e. Coumadin, Heparin) unless instructed by a physician. People on MAO inhibitors (i.e. Nardil, Parnate), St. John’s wort, NSAIDs (i.e. Aspirin, Motrin) should be cautious when taking Ginkgo Biloba. Read more...

Gluconeogenesis: the production of glucose from non-carbohydrate precursors, such as amino acids (the building blocks of proteins).

Glucose: a 6-carbon sugar which plays a major role in the generation of energy for living organisms.

Glycogen: a large, highly branched polymer (repeating units) of glucose molecules, used to store energy in muscle and liver cells.

Glycogenesis: The process by which molecules of glucose combine to form a molecule called glycogen.

Glycogenolysis: The breakdown of glycogen into glucose molecules.

Glycolysis: A series of of chemical reactions in the cytosol of a cell in which a molecule of glucose is split into two molecules of pyruvic acid with the production of two molecules of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

Goiter: enlargement of the thyroid gland. Goiter is one of the earliest and most visible signs of iodine deficiency. The thyroid enlarges in response to persistent stimulation by TSH (see Function). In mild iodine deficiency, this adaptation response may be enough to provide the body with sufficient thyroid hormone. However, more severe cases of iodine deficiency result in hypothyroidism. Thyroid enlargement may also be caused by factors other than iodine deficiency, especially in iodine sufficient countries, such as the U.S.

Goitrogen: a substance that induces goiter formation by interfering with thyroid hormone production or utilization.

Gout: a condition characterized by abnormally high blood levels of uric acid (urate). Urate crystals may form in joints, resulting in inflammation and pain. Urate crystals may also form in the kidney and urinary tract, resulting in kidney stones. The tendency to develop elevated blood uric acid levels and gout is often inherited.

GTP: guanosine triposphate. A high energy molecule, required for a number of biochemical reactions, including nucleic acid and protein synthesis (formation).