Some people think metabolism is a kind of organ, or a body part, that influences digestion.
Actually, the metabolism isn’t a body part.
Metabolism, is the process of transforming food (e.g. nutrients) into fuel (e.g. energy). The body uses this energy to conduct a vast array of essential functions.
In fact, your ability to read this page is driven by your metabolism.
If you had no metabolism you wouldn’t be able to move.
In fact, long before you realized that you couldn’t move a finger or lift your foot, your internal processes would have stopped, because the basic building blocks of life – circulating blood, transforming oxygen into carbon dioxide, expelling potentially lethal wastes through the kidneys and so on – all of these depend on metabolism.
Although we think of our metabolism as a single function, it’s really a catch-all term for countless functions that are taking place inside the body. Every second of every minute of every day of your life numerous chemical conversions are taking place through metabolism, or metabolic functioning.
In a certain light, the metabolism has been referred to as a harmonizing process that manages to achieve two critical bodily functions that seem to be at odds with each other.
Our bodies are continually creating more cells to replace dead or disfunctional cells. For example, if you cut your finger, your body starts the process of creating skin cells to clot the blood and start the healing process instantly. This creation process is a metabolic response, and is called anabolism.
On the other hand, there is the exact opposite activity taking place in other parts of the body. Instead of building cells and tissue the body is breaking down energy so the body can function.
For example, as you exercise, your body temperature rises and your heart beat increases. As this happens, your body requires more oxygen, so your breathing increases. If your body couldn’t adjust to this enhanced requirement for oxygen, you would collapse. And all of this requires additional energy.
Presuming that you aren’t overdoing it, your body will begin converting food into energy in a metabolic process called catabolism.
Your metabolism is a constant process that works in two seemingly opposite ways: anabolism uses energy to create cells, and catabolism breaks down cells to create energy.
The metabolism is a harmonizer. It brings together two seemingly opposite functions, and does so in an optimal way that enables the body to create cells as needed, and break them down, again as needed.