Metabolism – also called metabolism – is the basis of all vital processes in the body. Metabolism is roughly understood to mean all biochemical processes that take place within the cells. In other words: The components of the supplied nutrients are metabolized in the cells – i.e. broken down, converted and built into new products.
The body thus constantly takes care of itself – by using supplied nutrients, vitamins, minerals and trace elements or by drawing on reserves. All of this is necessary for our body’s multitude of vital processes and functions to run correctly. Hormones and enzymes are also crucial for metabolism. The hormonal and nervous systems primarily control the metabolic process. But environmental factors also influence metabolism, such as temperature. The most important metabolic organ is the liver.
Digestion is not just metabolism.
For the body to be able to perform all of its tasks, it needs energy. This energy is provided by the macronutrients carbohydrates, fats and proteins that we ingest with our food. In a sense, digestion is the prerequisite for metabolism. The nutrients are broken down into their components in the stomach and intestines. Carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars, proteins into amino acids, fats into fatty acids and glycerides. The intestines can only absorb nutrients in their broken-down form. In other words: they are split up so small that the intestine can absorb them and transfer them into the blood. The fat is made extra transportable for the blood.
Blood circulation is the medium of distribution. It is the road that transports nutrients to all cells in the body. When we talk about “metabolize food,” we mean the process in the cells after digestion and transport via the bloodstream.
Central to the metabolism: carbohydrates, protein, fat, minerals
There are different types of metabolism, for example, named after the substances that are processed:
Carbohydrate metabolism: During digestion, the complex carbohydrates from food are broken down into simple sugars (e.g. glucose, fructose). The sugar molecules reach the cells via the blood, where the actual metabolic process takes place. The body can obtain energy from simple sugars. If there is just enough energy available, the simple sugars are put together and stored in the liver and muscles to form new starch molecules (multiple sugars). Protein metabolism (amino acid metabolism): The digestion of proteins creates amino acids. These get into the cells via the bloodstream. On the one hand, they serve to generate energy; on the other hand, the body needs them to build muscle cells, hormones, and enzymes. Fat metabolism: Fat is used to generate energy in the cells and is the most critical energy store. After all, fat is needed, among other things, for the formation of hormones and messenger substances. What the body does not need, the fat cells store for "bad times." Mineral metabolism: Here, for example, calcium and phosphorus are provided to build up the bones. Calcium ions are also essential for muscle work.
Roughly speaking, these are renovation, assembly and dismantling work. Enzymes, hormones and nutrients regulate the metabolism; the ingredients supplied with food are broken down and converted by the body. Bad lifestyle habits can lead to metabolic disorders such as diabetes mellitus, gout and thyroid diseases such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. A healthy lifestyle prevents and helps to boost the metabolism.
Why is metabolism essential? Hormones and enzymes determine metabolism energy supplier Important metabolic types Metabolic disorders Boost your metabolism
Why is metabolism essential?
The human body consists of around 70 trillion individual cells. That is about 10,000 times as many cells as there are humans on earth. If all metabolic processes run smoothly, the cells live in peaceful harmony. To put it simply, cells need two things for cells to be satisfied:
Nutrients: On the one hand, they need certain nutrients to maintain their vital functions. Disposal of toxins: On the other hand, they are dependent on a functioning "disposal system." In other words: the disposal of waste products and toxins must be guaranteed.
Hormones and enzymes determine metabolism.
The main actors in the metabolic process are hormones and enzymes. A specific enzyme is responsible for every step in the metabolism, no matter how small. Enzymes are small proteins that regulate all chemical processes in the cell. These “little helpers” will be huhOften regulated by hormones. Enzymes feed on proteins, vitamins and minerals.
The body needs the energy to maintain its functions. This energy is obtained from the individual nutrients. The primary sources of energy are carbohydrates, fats and protein. The individual nutrients are broken down into their components in the stomach and intestines. Carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars, proteins into amino acids and fats into fatty acids and glycerides. This breakdown is necessary because the intestine can only absorb the nutrients in their broken-down form and transfer them into the blood.
The body produces and uses energy at different times. It is therefore vital that energy can be stored. Energy is stored in different ways, for example, in adipose tissue or the liver and muscles in the form of glycogen.
Important metabolic types
There are different forms of metabolism – among other things, named after the substances that are processed. Here is a selection of the most important terms:
Carbohydrate metabolism: Carbohydrate metabolism describes all processes of the uptake, transport and breakdown of carbohydrates. The most crucial carbohydrate representative is a simple sugar, i.e. glucose. Glucose is essential as an essential supplier of energy for organs and cells. Fat metabolism: Fat is used to generate energy in the cells. In addition, fats, also known as lipids, are essential messenger substances and signalling molecules in the body. For this reason, fat is stored not only in the adipose tissue itself but in almost all body cells. If too much fat is supplied through food, the body stores "depot fat." To mobilize stored fat again, the body has special fat-splitting enzymes, so-called lipases. Protein metabolism: Protein metabolism begins in the stomach and ends in the small intestine. Special enzymes take care of the protein breakdown. The amino acids produced during protein digestion reach the cells via the bloodstream, where they are used to generate energy and build up hormones and muscle cells. Mineral metabolism: In mineral metabolism, minerals are processed so that they can fulfill their respective functions in the body. An example: Calcium in the diet is provided to build bones. Building metabolism (anabolism) describes the structure of substances. Specifically, building metabolism includes all processes that are related to the structure of body tissues. For example, using the new one is constantly replacing cell tissue. Targeted muscle building can also be traced back to anabolism. Starvation metabolism (catabolism) describes the breakdown of metabolic products to provide energy. An example: In the course of diets or after prolonged physical exertion, the body supplies itself with energy. Energy is obtained from the muscles and the nutrients they contain.