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What is metabolism?
These are all the chemical process that continuously takes place inside the body to keep your organs functioning. This includes breathing, digesting food and repairing cells.
Energy is necessary for these chemical processes to take place. The minimum amount of energy our body requires to carry out these chemical processes is called the basal metabolic rate (BMR).Purposes of metabolism
Types of metabolism
- Metabolism has three main purposes which include:
- Conversion of food/fuel to energy to run cellular processes
- Conversion of food/fuel to building blocks for proteins, lipids, nucleic acids and some carbohydrates
- Elimination of nitrogenous wastes
Nutrition, metabolism, and energy
- Catabolism: This is the breaking down of organic matter through processes such as cellular respiration. Catabolism releases energy.
- Anabolism: This is the building up of cell components such as nucleic acids and proteins. Anabolism consumes energy.
The pathways of metabolism depend on nutrients that break down in order to produce energy. This energy is needed by the body in order to synthesize new proteins and nucleic acids such as DNA and RNA.
Food provides a number of essential substances for the building, maintenance and repair of body tissues and also for efficient body functioning. Essential nutrients in the diet include carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, phosphorous, nitrogen, sulfur and about 20 other inorganic elements. In addition, minerals, vitamins, and water are necessary.Carbohydrates in metabolism
Carbohydrates are supplied by foods in three forms; starch, sugar, and cellulose. Sugars and starches from the major sources of energy for humans. Fibers (cellulose) contribute to bulk in the diet.
Carbohydrates and sugars yield glucose by digestion or metabolism. Glucose is used b the body’s tissues for all activities.
The overall reaction for the combustion of glucose is written as:
Proteins in metabolism
- C6H12O6 + 6 O2 -----> 6 CO2 + 6 H2O + energy
- Carbohydrates come from foods such as rice, bread, wheat, pasta, potatoes and macaroni.
Proteins are the main tissue/body builders in the body. They help in functions, cell structure, and enzymes to carry out vital reactions and hemoglobin formation to carry oxygen. Proteins also supply nitrogen for DNA and RNA production.
Proteins are necessary for nutrition because they contain amino acids. However, the body is unable to synthesize 8 amino acids called the essential amino acids. The essential amino acids include lysine, tryptophan, methionine, leucine, isoleucine, phenylalanine, valine and threonine.Fat in metabolism
Fats are concentrated sources of energy and they produce twice as much energy as either carbohydrates or protein on a weight basis. Essential fatty acids include unsaturated fatty acids such as linoleic, arachidonic and linilinic acids. These need to be taken in the diet. Fats serve several functions which include:
Minerals and vitamins in metabolism
- The help to form the cellular structure
- They form a protective cushion around vital organs
- They help absorb fat soluble vitamins
- They provide reserve storage of energy
Minerals in foods do not directly contribute to the body’s energy needs. However, they play an important role in metabolic pathways in the body and as body regulators.
Important minerals include:
- Chloride ions
- Vitamins are essential organic compounds which cannot be synthesized by the human body. They must, therefore, be present in the diet. Important vitamins include:
- Vitamin A
- B2 (riboflavin)
- Niacin or nicotinic acid
- Pantothenic Acid
Learn more about Metabolism