Meaning of Metabolism

What is Metabolism:

The set of chemical transformations that are constantly carried out in the cells of living organisms is known as metabolism.

The term "metabolism" was coined by the Prussian physiologist Theodor Schwann in the mid-19th century taking a Greek root and suffix: metabole (change) e ism (quality). In this way, Schwann conceptualized the quality of living beings to change or transform some substances through complex internal chemical processes.

How the metabolism works

Metabolism is the process by which carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and other substances are transformed in the body. This transformation produces heat, carbon dioxide, water and debris, in order to produce energy to carry out essential chemical transformations for the body and to develop muscular activity.

Metabolic activity includes the absorption, transformation, and elimination of substances that allow cells to fulfill their energy or synthesis functions. This activity is composed of two phases.


It is a stage of the metabolic process in which ingested substances are transformed into new organic matter.

For example: protein synthesis in muscle tissue from amino acids.


It is a phase of the metabolic process in which energy is produced and destructive chemical reactions are discarded.

For example: the breakdown of the glucose molecule that is transformed into energy and water.

The metabolic process is carried out thanks to the enzymes synthesized in the cells. While the thyroid glands and the liver act as regulators of the process. For this reason, a thyroid failure can lead to conditions such as hypo or hyper thyroidism, which often lead to metabolic problems (weight gain or loss).

While in the liver glucose or sucrose is produced from carbohydrates, a fundamental substance for some organs that can only obtain energy from glucose, in addition to being the organ in which some proteins are synthesized.

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