acetylcholine: A neurotransmitter (brain chemical) responsible for learning and memory.

all-or-none principle of neuronal response: The principle that a neuron either responds completely to communication from another neuron, or not at all.

alpha gliadin: A portion of the gluten protein, commonly associated with celiac disease.

antagonistic hormone: Hormones that oppose each other’s actions.

antioxidant: A molecule that inhibits free radicals and helps fight inflammation.

arachidonic acid: A polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid that plays a central role in the inflammatory process.

ATP: ATP (adenosine 5’-triphosphate) is the energy currency for cellular activity, necessary for proper cell function.

atrophy: The partial or complete wasting away of a part of the body.


bacterial translocation: The passage of bacteria from the large intestine to the small intestine, where they do not belong in large numbers. This causes SIBO.

basal ganglia: An area of the brain involved with in regulating movement, thought, and feelings.

basal ganglia direct pathway: The direct pathway is excitatory and increases movements, thoughts, and feelings.

basal ganglia indirect pathway: The indirect pathway is inhibitory and decreases movements, thoughts, and feelings.

BDNF: BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) supports neuron survival, growth, and synapses.

bi-directional axis: The communication system between the brain and the gut; also referred to as the gut-brain axis and the brain-gut axis.

blood-brain barrier: A protective layer around the brain that keeps unwanted substances out of the brain while allowing desirable ones in.

brain fatigue: Decrease in brain function that arises from reading, driving, working, involved conversation, and other tasks that require mental processing. Symptoms include brain fog, slow reactions, slow thought processes, a “tired brain,” and overall fatigue.

brain stem: Area of the brain that controls communication between the brain and the rest of the body, as well as autonomic body function.

brain-derived neurotrophic factor: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) supports neuron survival, growth, and communication.

brain-gut axis: Communication between the brain and the gastrointestinal tract.

brain-immune axis: The brain’s influence on the immune system an vice versa.


catecholamines: Brain chemicals that can help with focus and alertness, including epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

cerebellum: Area of the brain directly above the neck that calibrates balance and coordination and filters incoming information for the brain.

corticosteroids: Steroid medications.

cortisol: An adrenal hormone that plays a role in regulating stress, the sleep-wake cycle, and other functions.

cross-reactivity: When the immune system mistakes body tissue for gluten and attacks and destroys that tissue whenever gluten is present in the body.

cytokines: Immune cells that play a role in inflammation.


deamidated gliadin: A processed form of gluten that has been treated by enzymes to make it water soluble.

DHA: An omega-3 fatty acid found in cold-water, fatty fish, such as salmon. Vegetarian sources of DHA come from seaweed. Omega-3 fatty acids are good for your heart and brain. Most people in the Western world do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids in their diet.

distal tissues: Tissues located away from the center of the body.

dopamine: A neurotransmitter (brain chemical) that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, movement, and emotional responses. Dopamine deficiency can result in Parkinson’s disease, and people with low dopamine activity may be more prone to addiction.

dysglycemia: Poor blood glucose control, typically due to diet and lifestyle.


endocrine gland: A gland that secretes hormones. They include the adrenal glands, pineal gland, pituitary gland, pancreas, ovaries, testes, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland, and hypothalamus.

enteric smooth muscle: intestinal muscle tissue that rhythmically contracts (motility) to move contents through the digestive tract.

EPA: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) is an omega-3 fatty acid plentiful in fish and shellfish, which helps the body and brain manage inflammation.


flavonoids: A group of plant substances that have been shown to support brain health and suppress brain inflammation.

free radical: A molecule with an unpaired electron associated with tissue damage and disease.

frontal: Of or at the front.

frontal cortex: The area at the front of the brain involved in motor function, problem solving, spontaneity, memory, language, initiation, judgment, impulse control, and social and sexual behavior.


GABA : Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the primary neurotransmitter (brain chemical )that calms the brain.

gait: A person’s manner of walking.

gait analysis: Analyzing how your body moves when you walk.

gliadin: A portion of the gluten protein, commonly associated with celiac disease. See “alpha gliadin”.

glial cells: Immune cells in the brain.

gluten proteome: The 12 components of the wheat protein that most often provoke an immune response.

glutenin: The sticky portion of gluten, making up 47 percent of the total protein content of wheat. Once thought not to be immune reactive.

glycogen: Glycogen is a carbohydrate molecule that is the principal storage form of glucose.

glycosylated end products: Glycosylated end products (AGEs) are formed when sugar combines with protein. Commonly associated with high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and diabetes and a factor in many degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

gut motility: The synchronized contractions of intestinal muscles to move food through the gastrointestinal tract.


hippocampus: Area of the brain that converts short-term memory to long-term memory, involved in the sleep-wake cycle, and the first area to degenerate in dementia and Alzheimer’s.

hydrochloric acid: Stomach acid; vital to the digestion process, especially for meats, and commonly deficient in people. Also sold as a supplement.

hypoglycemia: Low blood sugar.

hypothalamic appetite center dysregulation: Disruption in the part of the brain that controls appetite.


inferior salivatory nucleus: An area of the brain that plays a role in the

parasympathetic (“rest and digest”) system

insular cortex: The area of the brain involved in consciousness, perception, motor control, self-awareness, cognitive functioning, and interpersonal experience.

insulin receptor site sensitivity: How receptive a cell is to insulin. Chronically high blood sugar typically leads to poor insulin receptor site sensitivity, or insulin resistance.

insulin resistance: A condition in which the body’s cells become resistant to insulin. As a result, cellular function suffers and blood sugar climbs too high, raising the risk for many health disorders, including type 2 diabetes and dementia.

intestinal barrier: A protective layer of cells lining the intestines that allows desirable substances into the bloodstream, while keeping unwanted substances out.

intestinal tight junctions: The areas in the intestinal wall where the membranes of cells join together, forming a barrier that governs what passes into the bloodstream. In leaky gut they break down.


lectins: Proteins in plants that that can cause immune reactions and intestinal damage in some people.

left hemisphere: The portion of the brain on the left half of the head that is associated with logic, reasoning, analytical skills, etc.


malabsorption: Poor absorption.

melatonin: A hormone that maintains the body’s circadian rhythm, or sleep-wake cycle.

metabolic: Relating to metabolism, the whole range of biochemical processes that occur within any living organism.

microglial cells: The brain’s immune cells.

mitochondria: The “power houses” in cells that generate the energy cells need to function.

motility: In reference to the gut, the synchronized contractions of the intestinal walls to move food through.

motor cortex: The area of the brain that initiates voluntary muscular activity.


neurodegeneration: Loss of neurons and brain tissue in the brain.

neurodegenerative disease: Incurable and debilitating diseases such as
Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s that progressively degenerate the brain.

neuroinflammation: Inflammation of the brain and nerve cells.

neurons: Cells that make up the brain and nervous system and that process and transmit information through electrical and chemical signals.

neuroplasticity: Neuroplasticity is when neurons connect to each other. So even though you may lose neurons, your function isn’t about how many neurons you have, but how many neurons are connected to each other. This is something you can continue to develop throughout your life.

neurotransmitters: Chemicals that transmit signals from one neuron to another neuron.

nicotinic receptors: Receptors on neuron that signal muscular contractions.

nitric oxide: A molecule that helps cells communicate and is important in memory, behavior, immune function, blood pressure regulation, inflammation reduction, sleep quality, and gastric motility.

nociceptors: Nociceptors activate the pain response.


occipital lobe: The area of the brain located in the back of the head that processes visual information, such as recognizing shapes, colors, and motion, and distinguishing between colors.

opioid effect: The “high” you get from bursts of high-intensity exercise that reduces brain inflammation and improves feelings of well being.

oxidative stress: A state of too many free radicals that promotes inflammation, degeneration, and disease.


pancreatic enzymes: Enzymes secreted by the pancreas that help break down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in the small intestine.

parahippocampus: A region of the brain surrounding the hippocampus that plays an important role in memory.

parasympathetic nuclei: An area of the brain that regulates the parasympathetic, or rest-and-digest, state.

parietal lobe: The area of the brain directly behind the ears that perceives and interprets sensations and recognizes shapes and images.

Parkinsonism: Any condition that causes symptoms seen in Parkinson’s disease, such as tremor, slow movement, impaired speech or muscle stiffness.

partially hydrogenated oil: Chemically processed oils that are shelf-stable but unnatural and damaging to the body.

perfusion: Blood flow into an organ or a tissue.

phylogenic homologues: A group of organisms or traits that share a common ancestry.

plasticity: Neuroplasticity, or plasticity, is when neurons connect to each other. So even though you may lose neurons, your function isn’t about how many neurons you have, but how many neurons are connected to each other. You can continue to develop this throughout your life.

pronation: Inward movement.


resting membrane potential: How close a neuron is to its threshold, or the point at which it will fire.

right hemisphere: The portion of the brain on the right half of the head associated with creativity, art, intuition, holistic thought, etc.


serotonin: A neurotransmitter (brain chemical) involved in mood regulation and feelings of joy and well being.

SIBO: Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine that do not belong there.

small intestinal bacterial overgrowth: SIBO is an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine that do not belong there.

superior salivatory nucleus: An area of the brain that governs tearing. Tearing is an indication your vagal exercises are working as they stimulate an area next to the superior salivatory nucleus.

supination: Outward movement.


t-cells: Immune cells involved in inflammation and immune regulation.

temporal lobe: Areas at the sides of the brain in charge of long-term memory. Contains the hippocampus.

temporal lobe: Areas located in both sides of the brain above the ears, responsible for hearing, speech, memory, emotional responses, and distinguishing smells.

threshold: How much stimulation is needed to make a neuron fire.

transglutaminase: Enzymes involved in the digestion of gluten. Transglutaminase autoimmunity is associated with celiac disease. Transglutaminase is also added to meats in food processing and may trigger an autoimmune reaction in people with transglutaminase autoimmunity.

transmembrane: A protein in nerve cell membranes that can become rigid in degenerative states so nutrients and fluids cannot easily cross, compromising function of neurons.


vagal complex: An area of the brain stem that regulates autonomic function.

vagal motor nuclei: An area of the brain that governs parasympathetic (involuntary) functions in the gastrointestinal tract, lungs, and other parts of the body.

vagus: See vagus nerve.

vagus nerve: A large nerve that extends from the brain to the gut and other organs. Communication travels between the gut and the brain through the vagus nerve.

vestibular system: The sensory system that regulates balance and coordination.
wheat germ agglutinin A lectin (carbohydrate-binding protein) in gluten that can cause immune reactivity and damage tissues.