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What is Metabolism? – Definition, Types, Process, FAQs

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Before going to know about metabolism we have to know the concepts regarding metabolism. Metabolism is related to the energy concept. The energy comes from anywhere in the world through some process. Metabolism is a process that gives energy from food.




Metabolism is a phenomenon in the body cells that can able to change food into energy. The metabolism process is done in both humans and animals as well. 

Metabolism is divided into two types. They are.

  • Catabolism: Catabolism is mainly involved in breaking down larger molecules into smaller molecules. In this process it releases energy.
  • Anabolism: Anabolism is mainly involved in building molecules from smaller molecules. In this process it requires energy.

Difference between catabolism and anabolism



It is a chemical process that releases energy when breaking complex molecules into smaller molecules.

It is a process used to build molecules for building cells in the body.

In this process, the body releases energy in different activities.

 In this process, the body requires energy to maintain the body an anabolic state.

In this process, energy conversion is from potential energy to kinetic energy.

In this process, energy conversion is from kinetic energy to potential energy.

This process helps in burning fats and calories.

The anabolism process helps in the growth of the muscle.

Catabolism requires oxygen.

The anabolism process requires less amount of oxygen compared to catabolism.

Catabolism functions in any activity irrespective of time.

Anabolism function only in the night or rest position.

Catabolism is involved in the destruction process of metabolism.

Anabolism is involved in the construction process of metabolism.

During the catabolism process, it takes the help of some hormones called Adrenaline, cytokines, cortisol, and glucagon.

During the anabolism process, it takes the help of some hormones called Estrogen, testosterone, growth hormone, and insulin.

In this catabolism chemical process proteins turn to amino acids, glycogen turns to glucose, and triglycerides become fatty acids.

In this anabolism chemical process amino acids turn into proteins, glucose turns into glycogen, and fatty acids become triglycerides.

Nutrition in energy

There are three macronutrients for giving energy to our body. Carbohydrates, Fats, and protein are macronutrients that are very essential for giving energy to the body. Fat, protein, and carbohydrates should take in large quantities for metabolism. 

  • Protein: Protein contains chains of amino acids. In this protein, there are 20 types of amino acids which is used to build the body, repair it whenever needed, and maintain the body. A body needs 4 calories/ gram to repair a body.
  • Fat:  Fat also contains some amino acids and essential fatty acids. This fat is used to build the tissues and cells and also absorbs some vitamins and nutrients.
  • Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are contains simple sugars. Sugars are broken down as glucose in the blood. Simple carbohydrates can able down broke quickly than complex carbohydrates and fibers.

Metabolism in Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates contain lots of sugars. These sugar molecules go through a certain process and are converted into glucose. Glucose is metabolized by the following three stages. They are

Aerobic Respiration


  • Glycolysis-Glycolysis is a process of converting sugar into glucose and it is stored in the liver if there is any excess amount. 
  • Kerbs cycle The Krebs Cycle starts when the pyruvate forms in the cytoplasm of the cell during glycolysis. It is transferred to the mitochondria.
  • Oxidative phosphorylation-It is a very important step for the release of energy in the form of ATP. It is a process of ATP is synthesized and coupled to the movement of electrons through mitochondria electron support chain and consumes some oxygen.

Metabolism in Protein

Protein has various biochemical processes and is also responsible for synthesizing proteins and amino acids by anabolism. Proteins are synthesized by catabolism. This is how Anabolism and catabolism process helps in breaking down those proteins and amino acids and gives a quiet amount of energy to repair and maintain the boy. A body needs 4 calories/gram of protein.

Metabolism in Fat

Burning or breakdown of fat is done through a catalytic process by using three enzymes namely LIPE hormone ( hormone-sensitive triacylglycerol lipase) to remove or breakdown the first fatty acid from the fat, diglyceride lipase to remove or breakdown the second one of the fat, and monoglyceride lipase to remove the third fat layer.

Metabolism in lipids

Lipid metabolism is the breakdown of lipids in cells involved in the storage of fats for energy. Synthesis of structural and functional lipids is involved in the construction of cell membranes. In animals, the liver helps in synthesizing those fats. Lipids are insoluble in water. Lipids in plasma can able to transport through the blood cycle by protein binding. 

Metabolism in nucleic acid

Nucleic acids are like macromolecules that are seen in living organisms. They can able to combine with protein so they are called nucleoproteins. Nucleic acids are sometimes linked by phosphodiester bonds which is why they are called polynucleotides. There are two types of polynucleotides. They are 

  • DNA
  • RNA

Metabolic disorders:

There are a few disorders of metabolism. They are

  • Krabbe disease
  • Gaucher disease
  • Porphyria

The above disorders come from genes.

How to increase metabolism

  • To increase metabolism in our body we have changed our lifestyle in intake of food. 
  • Eat plenty of protein in the body.
  • By drinking more water we can able to increase metabolism.
  • Lifting heavy things and workout may help to do the process of metabolism
  • Drinking green tea can able to burn fats and increase metabolism.
  • Get a good sleep and drink more water.

Frequently Asked  Questions

Question 1: Who discovered metabolism?. In which year was metabolism discovered?.


Metabolism was discovered in the thirteen century by  Ibn al-Nafis. In (1213-1288) year metabolism was discovered.

Question 2: What are the stages involved in metabolism?


 There are three stages involved in metabolism. They are

  • Glycolysis
  • Citric acidic cycle
  • ATP synthesis

Question 3: Which gland is responsible for the regulation of the body’s metabolism?


The thyroid gland is responsible for the regulation of the body’s metabolism. The thyroid gland is responsible for some critical body functions. The thyroid helps in body temperature, conversion of food to energy, and blood pressure.

Question 4: Which people have a high metabolic rate?


People who have more muscle strength have a high metabolic rate because muscles are responsible for breaking down calories etc.,

Question 5: Who has a high metabolic rate when compared to men and women?


When comparing men and women, men have high muscle strength. This is because men have a high metabolic rate. Most women are like fat so the metabolic rate is lower in women than men.

Last Updated : 05 Aug, 2022
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