How does our metabolism work?
Metabolism is a series of chemical reactions in the body, which convert the food we eat into the energy that we use for growth, movement and healing. Metabolic reactions occur simultaneously to keep us healthy.
Metabolism begins with plants and photosynthesis – the process whereby a plant absorbs energy from sunlight enabling it to create sugars from water and carbon dioxide. We eat the plants, taking in this energy as carbohydrates, which release glucose into the bloodstream to fuel the body. Digestive enzymes break protein from food down into its individual constituents, called amino acids. Fats are converted into fatty acids, and carbohydrates become sugars, all of which are slowly released into the bloodstream as part of the digestive process.
These nutrients enter the body’s cells through the blood and are used either to power the body, build muscle and repair damage or are stored for later use. So the process of metabolism is the building up of tissues, muscle and energy stores and the breaking down of energy stores and fat to generate energy when it is required.
Anabolism (constructive metabolism) is all about building and storing: it supports the growth of new cells, the maintenance of body tissues and the storage of energy for use in the future.
The reverse is catabolism (destructive metabolism), which produces energy for cellular activity. Catabolism releases glucose, mostly from carbohydrates and stored fat, which provides energy to heat the body and enable movement on demand.