Anabolism: Definition & Examples

Instructor: Ashli Wilson

Ashli has a Master's Degree in Biology and has taught biology at different grade levels including college, elementary, and middle school.

In this lesson, you will learn about anabolism, how it occurs in the body, and the importance of it. Also, we will take a look at an example of anabolism.


Why do you eat? Besides that food tastes really good, we eat to maintain life. Eating is the start to the process of anabolism. Anabolism uses energy to combine smaller molecules into macromolecules (a large molecule made up of smaller molecules). You can think of anabolism like the process of making a computer. First, you need all the components to make the computer: keyboard, battery, screen, wires, circuits, etc. Then, it requires energy to combine all the parts into a functioning computer.

Let's take an in-depth look at the process of anabolism.

Process of Anabolism

In order for anabolism to occur, the body has to have all the nutrients needed to make specific macromolecules. We get these nutrients from digesting food. After the food is digested, the needed nutrients are transported to the cells where the molecules from the nutrients are combined via a chemical reaction to create macromolecules. The energy needed for anabolism comes from adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is found in human cells.

Now that we know the process of anabolism, let us learn about the importance of anabolism.

Importance of Anabolism

You may wonder why anabolism is important in the human body. Anabolism is needed for our bodies to be able to grow, repair itself, and form new body tissue. It creates molecules specific for each individual's body. For example, amino acids are used to create proteins, but each individual needs specific proteins. Through anabolism our bodies make the proteins that we need. Further, anabolism has to occur for energy to be created for our bodies.

Let's gain a better understanding of how energy is created for our bodies.

Why is our body able to continue functioning when we have not eaten or able to maintain long and strenuous exercise? The reason is glycogen, which is an energy source made up of a long chain of many glucose molecules that are stored together in the liver and muscles. We would not have the energy to continue functioning if we do not eat immediately when we are hungry if our body didn't have glycogen.

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