A brief explanation of key terms

 

Amino acids:

These are the smallest components of proteins. They are vital to the human body and constitute the fundamental building blocks of life alongside nucleic acids. We differentiate between essential amino acids, which are absorbed via food, and non-essential amino acids, which are produced by the body itself.

 

Antioxidants:

Micronutrients can sometimes be referred to as antioxidants in that they protect the organism from aggressive oxidizing substances known as “free radicals”.

 

Endometriosis:

A chronic disorder in which the endometrium grows outside of the uterine cavity and behaves as if it were in the uterus. This brings about more frequent inflammation, thereby creating less favorable implantation conditions for the ovum.

 

Fertility:

Reproductive capacity. In men, it starts at puberty and continues until old age, although fertility declines progressively with age. In women, it starts with the menarche (first menstrual bleeding) and ends with the menopause. With progressing age, the quality of sperm and the number of ova decline.

 

Infertility:

Lack of reproductive capacity. According to the WHO, a couple is deemed infertile if there is no conception “after a year of regular unprotected sexual intercourse”.

 

Macronutrients:

Life requires energy, and this can only be produced by way of burning (oxidation). Macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, proteins) absorbed from food supply this energy or the means for this oxidation process. Enzymes and additives are required to achieve moderate oxidation. The organism cannot produce these “additives” itself – it has to absorb these as micronutrients from food. Accordingly, nature provides macronutrients through food to serve as fuel while it provides micronutrients (essential additives) to help the organism oxidate fats found in food, but not the fats from the body itself. This enables the body to protect itself from oxidative stress. You can imagine an imbalance in the supply of macronutrients and micronutrients damaging the body. When the supply of fuels is increased and the additives are reduced, the “self-oxidation” damage inflicted on the body grows. Micronutrients can sometimes be referred to as antioxidants in that they protect the organism from aggressive oxidizing substances known as “free radicals”.

 

Micronutrients:

Vital substances in food, diet foodstuffs and dietary supplements. Every human requires a different amount of micronutrients. These include vitamins, amino acids, trace elements, minerals, fatty acids and phytochemicals. To preserve the performance and resilience of the body and support healing processes, it requires at least the daily allocation of such vital substances.

 

Minerals:

Inorganic vital substances that the organism must be supplied with via food (e.g. zinc, selenium). Minerals (occurring in larger concentrations in the body) are different to trace elements (occurring in smaller concentrations).

 

PCO syndrome (polycystic ovary syndrome):

The most common hormonal disorder experienced by women, the symptoms of which include metabolic, gynecological and cosmetic factors and which affected women have to live with all their lives. There is no consistent pattern of symptoms with PCO syndrome – symptoms can vary greatly, although lack of ovulation, a dominance of male hormones in the blood and/or through appearance (typically male hair, male body fat distribution), and/or obesity, and/or ovarian cysts (sacs in the ovaries) are the most common. PCO syndrome is the most common cause of female infertility.

 

Spermiogram:

Provides information on semen quality and therefore indicates the fertility of the man. Because the quality of semen can vary between ejaculates, two spermiograms should always be obtained for a diagnosis of sterility. The following parameters are assessed: sperm density, sperm motility, sperm morphology. More information at www.profertil.at

 

Vitamins:

Essential organic nutrients. A lack of these can cause deficiency symptoms (e.g. vitamin E, folic acid). They are particularly important for the immune system and the nervous system, and serve as antioxidants to protect the body from free radicals.

 

Free radicals (ROS):

Short-lived molecule fragments with one or more unpaired electrons that react very easily with their environment, turning “useful” molecules into “harmful” ones. An accumulation of “harmful” molecules can cause cell death. Free radicals can develop both in the body and outside, supplied through food, environmental toxins and similar.

 

Granulosa cells:

Follicular cells. Alongside theca cells, granulosa cells are one of the cell types in developing ovarian follicles. The interrelationship between this cell and the ovum is essential to the ovum maturation.

 

Homocysteine:

Metabolic by-product (amino acid) that develops from the metabolism of proteins. A high homocysteine level in laboratory diagnosis is a key indicator for a number of serious diseases.

 

Idiopathic:

Of unknown origin.

 

Neural tube defects (spina bifida):

Literally translated as “split spine”, a congenital malformation of the spine and spinal cord that can take different forms of varying severity. The defect is a result of a developmental disorder in the womb.

 

Nidation:

Embedding of the early embryo (blastocyst) in the uterine endometrium.

 

Oocytes:

The ovum, the female germ cell for sexual reproduction in humans. It contains all of the genetic material of the female organism to be passed on to the offspring. Ova are haploid cells, meaning that they only contain one set of chromosomes.

 

Preeclampsia:

Occurrence of hypertension (high blood pressure) and proteinuria (discharge of protein in the urine) during pregnancy and a precursor to eclampsia (life-threatening pregnancy complications).

 

Androgens:

Sex hormones that control the development of male sex characteristics. The most important androgen is testosterone.

 

Hyperandrogenism:

The “dominance” of male sex hormones (androgens). Hyperandrogenism as ascertained under chemical laboratory conditions indicates that androgen parameters such as testosterone are highly elevated. The high androgen level of affected female patients can cause typical androgenization symptoms (clinical hyperandrogenism, “masculinization”) such as menstrual cycle disorders and typically male hair growth and body fat distribution.

 

Metabolic disorder:

A combination of dysfunctional carbohydrate metabolism with excess weight or even obesity of the male (android) type, high blood pressure and elevated blood lipid levels (the “good” HDL values are too low and the triglycerides are elevated).

 

Subfertility:

Any form or degree of impaired fertility of couples attempting to conceive a child.