What Is Your Metabolism?
Beginning with birth and ending at death, our bodies receive the energy it needs to fuel itself through the process of metabolism. At the simplest level, it begins with plants and a method called photosynthesis. Plants receive sunlight, combined with the chlorophyll that gives off a plant’s green hue, to create sugars. The process continues as we eat the plants, and the energy is then transferred to our bodies for our metabolism to control. Carnivores consume these sugars as well, in the form of eating other animals who have eaten the plants. When we eat foods, it is up to our body’s metabolism to begin breaking down food and distributing it to vital areas throughout our body for fuel.
For centuries it’s been observed by scientists that our bodies are in a constant state of change, and it was understood that something was the driving force behind it. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that scientists discovered the role chemicals play in metabolism, and biochemistry has continued to explode ever since. Today, there is a lot to learn about our bodies, and the components that perform the jobs of metabolism.
Enzymes have the job of breaking down the protein, fat and carbohydrates that you eat in each meal into amino acids, fatty acids and simple sugars (such as glucose.) Like sugar, amino acids and fatty acids can be absorbed into the bloodstream and used for energy. All nutritionists today understand that in order to lower body weight, fewer sugars and carbohydrates than proteins need to be consumed. However, all are important for our bodies to contain. So extreme dieting, which eliminates all carbohydrates for example, is not wise. Metabolism, basically, is a simple process to understand. It is broken into two large parts.
Anabolism is the constructive phase of metabolism, as it produces all of the substances needed in our body for it to grow, maintain and repair itself. This phase is highly productive, in that it creates massive amounts of molecules from few substances.
Catabolism is the destructive phase of metabolism, and the critical partner to anabolism, as they rely on each other to do their specific jobs. Digestion is an event that takes place in this phase, breaking your food down into smaller particles to be used in anabolism. In a nutshell, if more anabolic activity than catabolic activity takes place, weight gain occurs. The reverse process obviously results in weight loss.
The endocrine system is necessary to carry out the functions of metabolism as well. The thyroid gland produces an important hormone which decides how quickly metabolism will occur. Additionally, the pancreas senses the amount of sugar being absorbed in your bloodstream, and releases its own hormone, insulin. Insulin alerts your body’s cells to pick up the anabolic pace. However, due to modern food modifications and genetics, many abnormalities can occur within your organ systems which have negative results on your health. Hyper and Hypoglycemia and Diabetes are just a few of these major disorders that can have devastating effects on any individual. Here is an academic overview of how metabolism works.
At this point, science has told us a lot about how metabolism works for our bodies, and how wise diet and exercise choices are very important. And since our metabolism plays such a vital role in all our organ systems, ignoring the process is not a very good idea.