Eating is essential to life. Many of us look to eating as not only a necessity, but also a pleasure. You may have been told since childhood to start the day with a good breakfast to give you the energy to get through most of the day. You most likely have heard about the importance of a balanced diet, with plenty of fruits and vegetables. But what does this all mean to your body and the physiological processes it carries out each day? You need to absorb a range of nutrients so that your cells have the building blocks for metabolic processes that release the energy for the cells to carry out their daily jobs, to manufacture new proteins, cells, and body parts, and to recycle materials in the cell.
There are certain chemical reactions essential to life, the sum of which is referred to as . The focus of these discussions will be and . You will examine the various chemical reactions that are important to sustain life, including why you must have oxygen, how mitochondria transfer energy, and the importance of certain “metabolic” hormones and vitamins.
Metabolism varies, depending on age, gender, activity level, fuel consumption, and lean body mass. Your own metabolic rate fluctuates throughout life. By modifying your diet and exercise regimen, you can increase both lean body mass and metabolic rate. Factors affecting metabolism also play important roles in controlling muscle mass. Aging is known to decrease the metabolic rate by as much as 5 percent per year. Additionally, because men tend have more lean muscle mass than women, their basal metabolic rate (metabolic rate at rest) is higher; therefore, men tend to burn more calories than women do. Lastly, an individual’s inherent metabolic rate is a function of the proteins and enzymes derived from their genetic background. Thus, your genes play a big role in your metabolism. Nonetheless, each person’s body engages in the same overall metabolic processes.
Heather Ketchum & Eric Bright, OU Human Physiology Textbook. OpenStax CNX. Jun 18, 2015. Download for free at http://cnx.org/contents/e4f804ec-103f-4157-92e1-71eed7aa8584@1
the sum of all energy-requiring and energy-consuming processes of the body
the constructive components of metabolism that help with macromolecular synthesis
the degradative component of metabolism that involves the release of energy and breakdown of complex materials