Metabolism

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  • Topic: Metabolism, Anabolism, Catabolism
  • Pages : 5 (1566 words )
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  • Published : February 22, 2011
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Metabolism

“Metabolism is the set of chemical reactions that happen in living organisms to maintain life. These processes allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments” (Metabolism). Metabolism breaks down the food that we eat, transforming it into energy for our bodies. Metabolism is broken down into two categories Anabolism and Catabolism, which help aid in the chemical reaction process. Specific proteins in the body control the chemical reactions of metabolism, and each chemical reaction is coordinated with other body functions (Dowshen). Metabolism is a constant process that begins when we're born and ends when we die. It is a vital process for all life not just humans, and if it were to stop or we did not have metabolism we could not be alive.

Metabolism generally deals eating and our digestive system. After food is eaten, molecules in the digestive system called enzymes break proteins down into amino acids, fats into fatty acids, and carbohydrates into simple sugars (for example, glucose). In addition to sugar, both amino acids and fatty acids can be used as energy sources by the body when needed. These compounds are absorbed into the blood, which then transports them to our cells throughout the body. After they enter the cells, other enzymes act to speed up or regulate the chemical reactions involved with metabolizing these compounds. “During these processes, the energy from these compounds can be released for use by the body or stored in body tissues, especially the liver, muscles, and body fat. In this way, the process of metabolism is really a balancing act involving two kinds of activities that go on at the same time.”(Dowshen) These are the building up of body tissues and storing energy, then breaking down the body tissues and energy stored to generate more fuel for body function. These are the roles of Anabolism and Catabolism (Dowshen).

“Anabolism, also known as biosynthesis, is the process by which organisms make complex molecules and substances from less complex components.”( Liden) Anabolism leads to growth in organisms as molecules are produced from smaller components and added to bones or muscles. This process of growth requires raw components and energy which are produced through a process known as catabolism, in which large and complex molecules are broken down into simpler substances. Together, anabolic and catabolic processes make up the set of chemical processes known as metabolism, which is the set of life-sustaining reactions that occur in organisms for the maintenance of life. Anabolic processes are responsible for producing nearly all of the chemicals that organisms are composed of. Processes of anabolism produce proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, and many other substances that is essential to the development, growth, maintenance, and repair of the body. Anabolism is a divergent process, which means that it produces a massive variety of different complex molecules from a relatively low number of simple substances. Catabolism makes up the other half of metabolism as a whole, and is essential to the proper functioning of anabolism. Catabolic processes, such as digestion, are responsible for breaking large, complex molecules down into simpler forms so that they can be used for raw materials and energy in anabolic processes. While anabolism is responsible for building new molecules, catabolism is responsible for breaking down other molecules. The energy released provides fuel for anabolism, heats the body, and enables the muscles to contract and the body to move. As complex chemical units are broken down into more simple substances, the waste products released in the process of catabolism are removed from the body through the skin, kidneys, lungs, and intestines. “If more anabolic activity than catabolic activity takes place, then net growth occurs, but net loss occurs when the rate of catabolism is higher than the...
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