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Workshop 5

3. Metabolism

boy eating

Metabolism is the sum of all the physical and chemical changes and processes that take place in every living thing. These fall into two major categories:
  1. Catabolism involves the release of energy through the breakdown of organic matter. This includes the process of cellular respiration.

  2. Anabolism involves the synthesis of organic compounds, including fats for storing energy and proteins for building and repairing body tissues.
Metabolism Facts
  • The metabolic rate is a measure of the speed of metabolism. Some organisms vary their metabolic rates depending on their needs. For instance, hibernating animals and bacterial spores have slowed their metabolic rates in order to survive periods of food scarcity.
  • Metabolic rate can be increased by exercise, a fever, a full stomach, and the action of the hormones insulin, epinephrine, and thyroxine. This is why hormone imbalances can contribute to weight gain or loss and why losing unwanted weight is easier with regular exercise.
  • Basal metabolism is the metabolic rate during complete rest. This is measured in individuals with metabolic disorders in order to determine the relative effects of various treatments.

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