Metabolism: Definition & Overview Video

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: What Are Saturated Fats? - Definition, Types, Function & Examples

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:03 Metabolism
  • 0:48 Catabolism
  • 1:41 Anabolism
  • 2:36 Metabolism of Non-Foods
  • 3:14 Factors Affecting Metabolism
  • 3:54 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: John Williams
Metabolism is the sum of all chemical reactions within the body. This concept, however, is much more complex than most of us understand. This lesson describes metabolism and the processes involved.

Metabolism

Have you ever known someone who can eat tons of food but never gains any weight? Or, how about someone who tries to lose weight, yet cannot seem to drop the pounds? We often blame metabolism for these two phenomena. Yet the concept of metabolism is one that is often poorly understood.

Metabolism is defined as the sum of all of the chemical reactions within the human body. This includes any chemical process by which a substance is broken down, produced, or chemically modified. Metabolism is often described in terms of food and nutrient use within the body, primarily because it is simpler to understand. In this lesson, we'll address the basic aspects of metabolism as it relates to food.

Catabolism

Imagine that you are eating a slice of pepperoni pizza. In that slice, you have several key nutrients that are necessary for life. You have proteins, which contain amino acids. You have starches, which contain sugars for energy. You also have fats, which can be used to produce energy and hormones. But, in order to get to the components that you need (like amino acids and sugars), you have to have a way to break down these materials.

Catabolism is the process of breaking down materials within the body. When we digest food, we are breaking down (or catabolizing) proteins, fats, and starches in order to get the useful components. This is done by adding water to the chemical bonds within these substances, which is a process known as hydrolysis. Foods that are indigestible, or cannot be broken down, are not able to be hydrolyzed within the body.

Anabolism

In order for our bodies to function, we must be able to produce materials that we need from the ones we digest. After catabolizing our food, we are left with the fundamental components that we need for life. For example, if we have tissues that are damaged, we have to produce proteins to heal those tissues. Therefore, the amino acids we receive from our food can be used to rebuild proteins. Sugars produced by digesting starches can be used to produce larger sugars for storage. Fats can be reproduced to store energy. All of these materials are made through anabolism.

Anabolism is the process of making larger substances from smaller materials. It is, in a sense, the opposite of catabolism in that it is achieved by removing water to create bonds. This process is known as dehydration synthesis. Through dehydration synthesis, we are able to make proteins, fats, and other needed materials.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support