What is metabolism?

Metabolism (metabolism) is a set of chemical reactions involved in the maintenance of vital activity of cells and organisms.

There are two types of metabolism:

  1. Catabolism is a set of processes that, as a result of the fermentation of complex organic substances, lead to the production of simpler substances (fatty acids, amino acids, monosaccharides).
  2. Anabolism - the creation by the body of new substances, tissues and cells from simpler substances, obtained as a result of catabolism (cellular proteins, membrane phospholipids, polysaccharides).

As a result of catabolism, not only new, simpler substances are produced, but also energy, which is then used for anabolism. When the balance between these two processes is disturbed, the body dies.


Depending on the type of metabolism, all organisms are divided into the following groups:

  1. If the source of carbon for the body are organic compounds, we are talking about heterotrophs.
  2. If the source of carbon for the body are inorganic compounds, it is autotrophs.
  3. If, during photosynthesis, plants or bacteria derive energy from sunlight, they are phototrophs.
  4. If in the process of photosynthesis, plants or bacteria receive energy from the primary molecules, then these are chemotrophs.
  5. Bacteria that receive energy from organic compounds are called organotrophs.
  6. Bacteria that receive energy from inorganic compounds are called lithotrophs.

Proper nutrition implies the consumption of all the necessary body substances: carbohydrate, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur and about 20 other inorganic elements. If the body does not receive enough nutrients, a malfunction occurs in the body, during which individual cells start to malfunction initially, and then whole organs.

Basic nutrients from food

  • Carbohydrates are involved in building cellular structures, create a supply of nutrients in the body, participate in the formation of immunity and perform an energy function. A person gets carbohydrates from starch, sugar and fiber.
  • Proteins are the main building material of tissues.Proteins are necessary for the body, as they contain amino acids, obtained as a result of the breakdown of proteins. Proteins are found in eggs, milk, fruits, vegetables, soybeans, and cereals.
  • Fats - are involved in the formation of cellular structures, form a vital protective cushion and insulation around the internal organs, help absorb fat-soluble vitamins and provide a reserve of energy.
  • Minerals and vitamins are part of the body’s metabolic pathways. Vitamins are important organic compounds that the human body cannot synthesize on its own and, therefore, it is necessary to ensure that they come in sufficient quantities from food.

Briefly describe what the metabolism, can be in three stages:

  1. The splitting of complex substances to more simple under the influence of enzymes in the digestive system and their absorption into the blood.
  2. Transporting the nutrients to the cells and tissues.
  3. Getting rid of metabolic by-products through perspiration, urine, feces, exhaled air, etc.

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