Catabolism Meaning

What is Catabolism:

Catabolism is the process of degrading or breaking down complex organic nutrients into simple substances in order to obtain useful energy for cells. Catabolism, together with anabolism, completes the metabolism process.

The term catabolism comes from the Greek, and is made up of two words: tasting, which means "down", and whale, which means "throw". Thus, catabolism reduces or degrades substances.

While anabolism is responsible for generating complex substances from simple substances, catabolism carries out processes of reduction and oxidation. That is, the body is responsible for degrading biomolecules to obtain energy from them. This process is more or less the same in all living beings, animals or plants, with the exception of certain types of bacteria.

Among organic molecules we can mention proteins, lipids and polysaccharides, which are transformed during the digestion process.

These nutrients must break down into amino acids, fatty acids and monosaccharides respectively. Another example that we can mention is the catabolic process that converts glucose into energy and water.

In any case, catabolism not only extracts energy from the reduction-oxidation process, but is also capable of discarding those chemical reactions that are destructive.

Muscle catabolism

We speak of muscle catabolism when the body, not receiving any food and, therefore, not receiving complex substances to obtain energy, must procure them directly in the muscle tissue. That is, the body begins to "eat itself." As a consequence, the person loses muscle mass.

This process is very common in people who are subjected to starvation diets or who have a diet deficient for the level of energy they need.

See also:

  • Metabolism.
  • Anabolism.

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