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Active Hydrogen Adrenal Extracts Alanine Alpha-Linolenic Acid Alpha-Lipoic Acid AMP Amylase Inhibitors Arginine Bee Pollen Beta Carotene Beta-glucan Betaine Beta-Sitosterol Biotin Borage Oil Boron Bovine Cartilage Bovine Colostrum Brewer's Yeast Bromelain Calcium Capsaicin Carnitine Carnosine Chitosan Chloride Chlorophyll Chondroitin Chromium CLA Cobalt Coenzyme Q10 Copper Creatine Cysteine DHA DHEA DMAE EGCG Evening Primrose Oil 5-HTP Fiber (Insoluble) Fiber (Soluble) Fish Oil Flavonoids Fluoride Folate Fumaric Acid GABA Gamma-Linolenic Acid Glucomannan Glucosamine Glutamic Acid Glutamine Glutathione Glycine Grape Seed Extract Histidine HMB Hydroxycitric Acid Indole Inosine Inositol Iodine Ipriflavone Iron Isoleucine Lactase Lecithin Leucine Lipase Lutein Lycopene Lysine Magnesium Malic Acid Manganese Mannose Melatonin Methionine Methoxyisoflavone Molybdenum MSM N-Acetyl Cysteine NADH Naringin Niacin Octacosanol Oligosaccharides Olive Leaf Extract Ornithine Oryzanol PABA Pancreatic Enzymes Pantothenic Acid Phenylalanine Phosphatidylserine Phosphorus Phytic Acid Policosanol Potassium Pregnenolone Probiotics Propolis Psyllium Pyridoxine Pyruvate Quercetin Resveratrol Retinol Riboflavin Ribose Royal Jelly SAMe Selenium Shark Cartilage Silicon Sodium Spirulina Spleen Extracts St. John's Wort Strontium Sulforaphane Sulfur Taurine Thiamine Tocopherol Tea Tree Oil Tyrosine Usnic Acid Valine Vanadium Vinpocetine Vitamin A Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B9 Vitamin B12 Vitamin C Vitamin D Vitamin H Vitamin K Whey Protein Xylitol Zinc
Abalone Shell (shi jue ming)
Abutilon Seed (dong kui zi)
Acanthopanax Bark (wu jia pi)
Achyranthes (niu xi)
Aconite (fu zi)
Acorus (shi chang pu)
Adenophora Root (nan sha shen)
Agkistrodon (bai hua she)
Agrimony (xian he cao)
Ailanthus Bark (chun pi)
Akebia Fruit (ba yue zha)
Albizzia Bark (he huan pi)
Albizzia Flower (he huan hua)
Alfalfa (medicago sativa)
Alisma (ze xie)
Aloe (lu hui)
Alum (bai fan)
Amber (hu po)
Ampelopsis (bai lian)
Andrographis (chuan xin lian)
Anemarrhena (zhi mu)
Antelope's Horn (ling yang jiao)
Apricot Seed (xing ren)
Areca Peel (da fu pi)
Areca Seed (bing lang)
Arisaema (tian nan xing)
Ark Shell (wa leng zi)
Arnebia (zi cao or ying zi cao)
Arnica (arnica montana)
Artichoke Leaves (Cynara scolymus)
Ash bark (qin pi)
Ashwagandha (withania somniferum)
Aster (zi wan)
Astragalus (huang qi)
Aurantium (zhi ke [qiao])
Bamboo Juice (zhu li)
Bamboo Shavings (zhu ru)
Belamcanda Rhizome (she gan)
Benincasa Peel (dong gua pi)
Benincasa Seed (dong gua xi/ren)
Benzoin (an xi xiang)
Bilberry (yue ju)
Biota Leaf (ce bai ye)
Biota Seed (bai zi ren)
Bitter Melon (ku gua)
Bitter Orange Peel (ju hong)
Black Cohosh (sheng ma)
Black Plum (wu mei)
Black Sesame Seed (hei zhi ma)
Bletilla (bai ji)
Boneset (ze lan)
Borax (peng sha)
Borneol (bing pian)
Bottle Brush (mu zei)
Buddleia (mi meng hua)
Buffalo Horn (shui niu jiao)
Bulrush (pu huang)
Bupleurum (chai hu)
Burdock (niu bang zi)
Camphor (zhang nao)
Capillaris (yin chen hao)
Cardamon Seed (sha ren)
Carpesium (he shi)
Cassia Seed (jue ming zi)
Catechu (er cha)
Cat's Claw (uncaria tomentosa)
Cephalanoplos (xiao ji)
Celosia Seed (qing xiang zi)
Centipede (wu gong)
Chaenomeles Fruit(mu gua)
Chalcanthite (dan fan)
Chebula Fruit (he zi)
Chinese Gall (wu bei zi)
Chinese Raspberry (fu pen zi)
Chrysanthemum (ju hua)
Cibotium (gou ji)
Cinnabar (zhu sha)
Cinnamon (rou gui or gui zhi)
Cistanche (rou cong rong)
Citron (xiang yuan)
Citrus Peel (chen pi)
Clam Shell (hai ge ke/qiao)
Clematis (wei ling xian)
Cloves (ding xiang)
Cnidium Seed (she chuang zi)
Codonopsis (dang shen)
Coix Seed (yi yi ren)
Coptis (huang lian)
Cordyceps (dong chong)
Coriander (hu sui)
Corn Silk (yu mi xu)
Cornus (shan zhu yu)
Corydalis (yan hu suo)
Costus (mu xiang)
Cranberry (vaccinium macrocarpon)
Cremastra (shan ci gu)
Croton Seed (ba dou)
Curculigo (xian mao)
Cuscuta (tu si zi)
Cuttlefish Bone (hai piao xiao)
Cymbopogon (xiang mao)
Cynanchum (bai qian)
Cynomorium (suo yang)
Cyperus (xiang fu)
Dalbergia (jiang xiang)
Damiana (turnera diffusa)
Dandelion (pu gong ying)
Deer Antler (lu rong)
Dendrobium (shi hu)
Devil's Claw (harpagophytum procumbens)
Dianthus (qu mai)
Dichroa Root (chang shan)
Dittany Bark (bai xian pi)
Dong Quai (tang kuei)
Dragon Bone (long gu)
Dragon's Blood (xue jie)
Drynaria (gu sui bu)
Dryopteris (guan zhong)
Earthworm (di long)
Eclipta (han lian cao)
Elder (sambucus nigra or sambucus canadensis)
Elsholtzia (xiang ru)
Ephedra (ma huang)
Epimedium (yin yang huo)
Erythrina Bark (hai tong pi)
Eucalyptus (eucalyptus globulus)
Eucommia Bark (du zhong)
Eupatorium (pei lan)
Euphorbia Root (gan sui or kan sui)
Euryale Seed (qian shi)
Evodia (wu zhu yu)
Fennel (xiao hui xiang)
Fenugreek (hu lu ba)
Fermented Soybeans (dan dou chi)
Flaxseed (ya ma zi)
Fo Ti (he shou wu)
Forsythia (lian qiao)
Frankincense (ru xiang)
Fritillaria (chuan bei mu)
Gadfly (meng chong)
Galanga (gao liang jiang)
Galena (mi tuo seng)
Gambir (gou teng)
Gardenia (zhi zi)
Garlic (da suan)
Gastrodia (tian ma)
Gecko (ge jie)
Gelatin (e jiao)
Genkwa (yuan hua)
Germinated Barley (mai ya)
Ginger (gan [sheng] jiang)
Ginkgo Biloba (yin xing yi)
Ginseng, American (xi yang shen)
Ginseng, Asian (dong yang shen)
Ginseng, Siberian (wu jia shen)
Glehnia (sha shen)
Glorybower (chou wu tong)
Goldenseal (bai mao liang)
Gotu Kola (luei gong gen)
Green Tea (lu cha)
Gymnema (gymnema sylvestre)
Gynostemma (jiao gu lan)
Gypsum (shi gao)
Halloysite (chi shi zhi)
Hawthorn (shan zha)
Hemp Seed (huo ma ren)
Homalomena (qian nian jian)
Honey (feng mi)
Honeysuckle Flower (jin yin hua)
Honeysuckle Stem (ren dong teng)
Houttuynia (yu xing cao)
Huperzia (qian ceng ta)
Hyacinth Bean (bai bian dou)
Hyssop (huo xiang)
Ilex (mao dong qing)
Imperata (bai mao gen)
Indigo (qing dai)
Inula (xuan fu hua)
Isatis Leaf (da qing ye)
Isatis Root (ban lan gen)
Java Brucea (ya dan zi)
Jujube (da zao)
Juncus (deng xin cao)
Kadsura Stem (hai feng teng)
Katsumadai Seed (cao dou kou)
Kelp (kun bu)
Knotweed (bian xu)
Knoxia root (hong da ji)
Kochia (di fu zi)
Lapis (meng shi)
Leech (shui zhi)
Leechee Nut (li zhi he)
Leonorus (yi mu cao)
Lepidium Seed (ting li zi)
Licorice (gan cao)
Ligusticum (chuan xiong)
Ligustrum (nč zhen zi)
Lily Bulb (bai he)
Limonite (yu liang shi)
Lindera (wu yao)
Litsea (bi cheng qie)
Lobelia (ban bian lian)
Longan (long yan hua [rou])
Lophatherum (dan zhu ye)
Loquat Leaf (pi pa ye)
Lotus Leaf (he ye)
Lotus Node (ou jie)
Lotus Seed (lian zi)
Lotus Stamen (lian xu)
Luffa (si gua luo)
Lycium Bark (di gu pi)
Lycium Fruit (gou qi zi)
Lygodium (hai jin sha)
Lysimachia (jin qian cao)
Magnetite (ci shi)
Magnolia Bark (hou po)
Magnolia Flower (xin yi hua)
Maitake (grifola frondosa)
Marigold (c. officinalis)
Massa Fermentata (shen qu)
Milk Thistle (silybum marianum)
Millettia (ji xue teng)
Mint (bo he)
Mirabilite (mang xiao)
Morinda Root (ba ji tian)
Mugwort Leaf (ai ye)
Mulberry Bark (sang bai pi)
Mulberry Leaf (sang ye)
Mulberry Twig (sang zhi)
Mullein (jia yan ye)
Musk (she xiang)
Myrrh (mo yao)
Notoginseng (san qi)
Notopterygium (qiang huo)
Nutmeg (rou dou kou)
Oldenlandia (bai hua she she cao)
Omphalia (lei wan)
Onion (yang cong)
Ophicalcite (hua rui shi)
Ophiopogon (mai dong)
Oroxylum Seed (mu hu die)
Oryza (gu ya)
Oyster Shell (mu li)
Passion Flower (passiflora incarnata)
Patrinia (bai jiang cao)
Pau D'Arco (tabebuia avellanedae)
Peach Seed (tao ren)
Pearl (zhen zhu [mu])
Perilla Leaf (su ye)
Perilla Seed (su zi)
Perilla Stem (su geng)
Persimmon (shi di)
Pharbitis Seed (qian niu zi)
Phaseolus (chi xiao dou)
Phellodendron (huang bai)
Phragmites (lu gen)
Picrorhiza (hu huang lian)
Pinellia (ban xia)
Pine Knots (song jie)
Pipe Fish (hai long)
Plantain Seed (che qian zi)
Platycodon (jie geng)
Polygala (yuan zhi)
Polygonatum (huang jing)
Polyporus (zhu ling)
Poppy Capsule (ying su qiao)
Poria (fu ling)
Prickly Ash Peel (hua jiao)
Prinsepia Seed (rui ren/zi)
Prunella (xia ku cao)
Prunus Seed (yu li ren)
Pseudostellaria (tai zi shen)
Psoralea (bu gu zhi)
Pueraria (ge gen)
Pulsatilla (bai tou weng)
Pumice (fu hai shi)
Pumpkin Seed (nan gua zi)
Purslane (ma chi xian)
Pyrite (zi ran tong)
Pyrrosia Leaf (shi wei)
Quisqualis (shi jun zi)
Radish (lai fu zi)
Realgar (xiong huang)
Red Atractylodes (cang zhu)
Red Clover (trifolium pratense)
Red Ochre (dai zhe shi)
Red Peony (chi shao)
Red Sage Root (dan shen)
Rehmannia (shu di huang)
Reishi (ling zhi)
Rhubarb (da huang)
Rice Paper Pith (tong cao)
Rose (mei gui hua)
Rosemary (mi die xiang)
Safflower (hong hua)
Saffron (fan hong hua)
Sandalwood (tan xiang)
Sanguisorba Root (di yu)
Sappan Wood (su mu)
Sargent Gloryvine (hong teng)
Saw Palmetto (ju zong lu)
Schefflera (qi ye lian)
Schisandra (wu wei zi)
Schizonepeta (jing jie)
Scirpus (san leng)
Scopolia (S. carniolica Jacq.)
Scorpion (quan xie)
Scrophularia (xuan shen)
Scutellaria (huang qin)
Sea Cucumber (hai shen)
Sea Horse (hai ma)
Seaweed (hai zao)
Selaginella (shi shang bai)
Senna (fan xie ye)
Shiitake (hua gu)
Siegesbeckia (xi xian cao)
Siler Root (fang feng)
Slippery Elm (ulmus fulva)
Smilax (tu fu ling)
Smithsonite (lu gan shi)
Sophora Flower (huai hua mi)
Sophora Root (ku shen)
Spirodela (fu ping)
Stellaria (yin chai hu)
Stemona (bai bu)
Stephania (fang ji [han])
Sweet Annie (qing hao)
Teasel Root (xu duan)
Tiger Bone (hu gu)
Torreya Seed (fei zi)
Tortoise Plastron (gui ban)
Tremella (bai mu er)
Trichosanthes Fruit (gua lou)
Trichosanthes Root (tian hua fen)
Trichosanthes Seed (gua lou ren)
Tsaoko Fruit (cao guo)
Turmeric (jiang huang)
Turtle Shell (bie jia)
Tussilago (kuan dong hua)
Urtica (xun ma)
Uva ursi (arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
Vaccaria Seed (wang bu lui xing)
Valerian (jie cao)
Veratrum (li lu)
Viola (zi hua di ding)
Vitex (man jing zi)
Walnut (hu tao ren)
Watermelon (xi gua)
White Atractylodes (bai zhu)
White Mustard Seed (bai jie ze)
White Peony (bai shao)
Wild Asparagus (tian men dong)
Windmill Palm (zong lu pi/tan)
Xanthium (cang er zi)
Zedoary (e zhu)
Curbing Label Overwhelm

Your guide to what common terms on the labels of your favorite foods really tell you.

By Jaclyn Chasse, ND

For the average consumer, reading a food package can be overwhelming: natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, free range ... you get the picture. Chiropractors can serve as the healthy-living experts for their patients, so having a good understanding of what a "healthy" food looks like can allow you to provide your patients with information that adds even more value to their visit with you. Here are some of the most important terms used on labels and what they really tell you about the food you eat.

"Organic"

Let's begin with the most sought-after term on a label. Many consumers are switching to organic food – and for good reason. Organic foods are free of antibiotics, hormones, genetic engineering and genetic modification, radiation, synthetic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Many of these food additives and practices have demonstrated harm at high levels, and avoidance is by far the safest option for the health-conscious consumer. In 2000, after 10 years of development, the U.S. Department of Agriculture implemented its rules surrounding the use of the term organic and the USDA organic seal.

You will see a few versions of "Organic" on a label. The first, and best, is "100% organic." This means, as you would expect, that the product contains only organic ingredients. The second is "Organic." Now, you may expect that this would be the same as "100% Organic," but in fact, it only requires 95 percent of the product's ingredients to be organic. The remaining 5 percent can be non-organic as long as they are on the USDA's approved list. These two categories may display the USDA logo.

You may also see "Made With Organic Ingredients" on a label. This is the third regulated term by the USDA and requires that at least 70 percent of ingredients be organic. The package must label at least three of the organic foods on the label as organic so the consumer can know which ingredients are organic.

"All-Natural" & "Natural"

According to the USDA, foods labeled "Natural" do not contain any artificial ingredients or preservatives, and the ingredients are only minimally processed. However, these foods might contain antibiotics, growth hormones and other natural (yet often undesirable) additives.

You also might see "All-Natural" on a label. This is an unregulated term, so while it usually follows the same guidelines mentioned for "natural," it doesn't technically have to.

"Free Range" & "Cage Free"

In order for a product to be labeled with "Free Range" or "Cage Free," the animals must have some access to the outside and not be contained. Unfortunately, use of these terms is not well-regulated. There are some food producers who will keep animals very closely confined, but without cages, and still use the term "Cage Free." Ideally, this label should mean that the animals cannot be contained in any way, and have access to freely roam and forage on open land. That's what they show us in the label's picture, right?

"GMO Free"

With California's vote to label genetically modified foods (Prop 37), there has been a growing awareness on what genetic modification is and the risk it may pose to your health. According to the Non-GMO Project, genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are plants or animals created through gene-splicing techniques or biotechnology that merges DNA from different species, creating combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.

While GMO food producers tout the equivalence and safety of genetically modified (GM) foods, little published research is available to demonstrate safety, and so conscientious consumers are left questioning whether they should be consuming these foods and the majority of consumers don't even know they are consuming them.

You are probably seeing more foods labeled "GMO Free." This is currently an unregulated term; however, some non-profit groups, including the well-known Non-GMO Project are certifying and labeling foods that can be verified as GM free.

The most common GMOs are soy, corn, cotton, canola, sugar beets and Hawaiian papaya, with around 90 percent of the U.S. crop being genetically modified. Alfalfa and squash (zucchini and summer squash) are also frequently genetically modified. The non-GMO label on products can assure consumers that the product does not contain any genetically modified organisms. Organic foods also can not contain GMOs, although they are not required to test for the presence of GMOs to be labeled "Organic."

Gluten Free and Other Allergens

Gluten is a protein contained in wheat, barley, rye, spelt and kamut. It is one of the more common food proteins triggering allergy and sensitivity in humans. Foods labeled "gluten free" must be below 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. To put this in perspective, if you were to eat a 1 oz slice of gluten free bread, it could contain up to 0.57 milligrams of gluten, which will not cause symptoms in most people with a sensitivity.

Gluten-free patients commonly come to me with questions about whether a product labeled "Wheat Free" is also gluten free. The answer is no, it does not have to be. It could still contain spelt or another gluten containing grain. So, be sure to read labels carefully.

Regulations about declaring allergens are taken very seriously in this country, and food companies are required by law to declare if a food contains a major food allergen including wheat, milk, egg, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts or soybeans. Labels are clearly marked, in bold at the end of the ingredient list, with allergens that they contain. Failure to disclose allergenic ingredients could leave a manufacturer subject to an immediate mandatory recall.

Know What You're Eating

In today's day and age, it can be difficult to be an educated food consumer. There are so many food choices available and slick marketing can easily fool a consumer into thinking that a food is healthier or more natural than it really is. Even educated consumers can be fooled. The best way to ensure you're eating healthfully is to choose foods with only one ingredient; usually, these are things without a nutritional label at all (like apples). However, if you are choosing processed foods, hopefully this guide will allow you to more easily understand what it is that you are buying. Make sure you choose wisely!


Dr. Jaclyn Chasse, ND, is a practicing naturopathic physician in New Hampshire and is the Medical Director at Emerson Ecologics. She also holds an adjunct faculty position at Bastyr University, teaching courses on reproductive endocrinology. Dr. Chasse is a graduate of Bastyr University and has an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She has co-authored several peer reviewed articles in the field of medical biophysics and integrative medicine and is a frequent contributor to the Natural Medicine Journal and recently joined their Editorial Board.

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