Our bodies require energy—fuel via food—to function. But have you stopped to question how peaches, pomegranates and pineapples become expendable energy? How does food become fuel?

Well…through metabolization!

Scientific jargon often becomes a part of layman vocabulary. Therefore, the concept of metabolism does not sound foreign. But what do you mean when you claim your metabolism functions fast or slow? Today we are going to break down the following: 

  • What is metabolism? 
  • How does it function? 
  • What factors affect metabolic rates?

What is Metabolism? 

Metabolism refers to chemical reactions within the body that convert food and drink into usable energy. Your body then uses the energy produced to support essential body functions like breathing, digesting, growing and repairing cells. 

How Does Metabolism Function?

Our digestive system breaks down food into amino acids, fatty acids and simple sugars via digestive enzymes. These acids and sugars support the metabolic process by converting expendable energy. Two chemical reactions exist within the metabolic process—catabolic reactions and anabolic reactions. 

Catabolic Reactions: 

  • Deconstructive Metabolism
  • Release energy by breaking down complex molecules—carbs and fats
  • Support muscle contractions and body movement
  • Provide fuel for anabolic reactions

Anabolic Reactions

  • Constructive Metabolism
  • The body uses energy created during anabolism to create complex molecules
  • Support tissue maintenance via cell growth and repairs
  • Support energy storage for future use

Metabolism requires a balancing act of catabolic and anabolic reactions. The body regulates the two chemical processes to ensure balance. Catabolism releases energy to fuel anabolism. 

What Factors Affect Metabolic Rates?

All individuals have basal metabolic rates. This refers to the minimum number of calories your body requires—at rest—to perform basic body functions. Metabolic rates vary. The following factors may influence metabolic rates: 

  • Body Composition: larger bodies—composed of muscle or fat—require more energy
  • Age: metabolic rates often slow as the body ages
  • Gender: males often have higher metabolic rates than females
  • Diet: how you eat influences your metabolism 
  • Genetics: family history influences body size, metabolic rates and potential disorders
  • Substances: nicotine and caffeine speed metabolism though you risk health issues

Metabolic rates vary by individual. Therefore, gaging metabolic health may be difficult. Remember to focus on your holistic mental, physical and spiritual health to support your body! If have concerns about your individual metabolic health, or an interest in metabolic testing, reach out to your healthcare provider!

Quick Facts: 

Our bodies require energy—fuel via food—to function. Food becomes fuel through metabolism. 

  • What Is Metabolism: body turns food and drink into energy via chemical reactions   
  • How Does It Function: through anabolic and catabolic reactions
      • Anabolism: process that releases energy
      • Catabolism: process that requires energy
  • What Affects Metabolic Rates: body composition, age, gender, genetics and diet

 

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