The body needs energy for every organ to function properly. Energy is produced through the body’s metabolic processes by changing the food and drink consumed. With energy, you can carry out daily activities, such as walking, working, and exercising.
Body metabolism is a chemical process that occurs in the body’s cells to convert the food and drinks you consume into energy. Energy is needed by the body to keep cells and tissues healthy, grow and develop, and function properly.
Know More About Body Metabolism
Some of the body functions that are affected by metabolic processes are breathing, digesting food, circulating blood, repairing and renewing cells, controlling body temperature, triggering muscle contraction, eliminating waste through urine and feces, and maintaining brain and nerve function.
How Metabolism Works
The body’s metabolism works through two processes, namely catabolism, and anabolism, which take place simultaneously. The following is the explanation:
Catabolism is the process of processing and breaking down nutrients and burning calories from food to be used by the body as energy. Through the process of metabolism, the protein content in food and beverages is converted into amino acids, fat is converted into fatty acids, and carbohydrates are converted into simple sugars (glucose).
Furthermore, the body will use sugar, amino acids, and fatty acids as a source of energy when needed. These substances are absorbed into the blood and distributed to body cells. The process of metabolizing sugar into energy is called glycolysis.
Anabolism is the process of renewing and repairing body cells by burning calories using energy produced by the body through catabolism.
If you consume more calories from food or drink, the body will store the excess energy produced as fat tissue.
Things That Affect Your Metabolism
The metabolic rate or how many calories the body burns to produce energy generally varies from person to person. This is influenced by the following factors:
1. Body size and composition
People who are bigger and more muscular can burn more energy, even when they are resting. This is because muscle tissue is more active in metabolic processes than fat tissue.
The male body usually burns more energy than women. This is because men often have more muscle tissue and less body fat than women.
As we get older, the amount of muscle tends to decrease but the number of fat increases. This can slow down the metabolic process or burn calories for energy.
Genetic or hereditary factors can affect the growth and size of muscle tissue. This in turn can affect the energy burn or metabolism of a person’s body.
5. Body temperature
Metabolism will naturally increase when the body temperature decreases (hypothermia) or when the body is cold. This aims to increase the body temperature so that it returns to normal so that the body’s organs can function properly.
6. Caffeine intake
Metabolic stimulants can increase if you consume drinks that contain stimulants such as caffeine. This substance is naturally found in coffee and tea. Besides, the body’s metabolism can also increase when taking stimulant drugs, such as methylphenidate and amphetamines.
The hormone that functions to regulate the body’s metabolism is the thyroid hormone. Therefore, disruption of the production or work of thyroid hormones can increase or decrease the body’s metabolism.
Metabolism in the body of a pregnant woman will increase to support the process of growth and development of the organs and tissues of the fetus. Metabolic processes will usually begin to increase when pregnancy reaches 15 weeks of age until entering the third trimester.
9. Consumption of food and drink
Lack of eating and drinking can slow down the body’s metabolism. Conversely, the body’s metabolism can increase if you eat or drink a lot, especially if the food or drink consumed contains lots of calories and nutrients (for example protein) and antioxidants such as polyphenols.
10. Activity level
Various types of sports and physical activity can trigger the body to burn more energy, especially if you exercise regularly.
Body Metabolism Disorders
Healthy body metabolism takes place in a balanced manner, neither too high nor too low. However, metabolic processes can sometimes be disrupted.
The following are some types of diseases or conditions that can disrupt the body’s metabolism:
The thyroid gland produces the hormone thyroxine, which plays a role in determining how fast or slow metabolic chemical reactions occur in a person’s body.
An underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) will slow down metabolism because the amount of the hormone thyroxine in the body is insufficient. Meanwhile, an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) will release a larger amount of the hormone thyroxine so that the body’s metabolic processes become faster.
A metabolic syndrome is a group of health problems that occur simultaneously. This condition makes the body’s metabolic processes irregular.
People with metabolic syndrome will experience some health problems including high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and elevated levels of triglycerides and cholesterol. Besides, they are also more at risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease and stroke.
Congenital metabolic disorders
In certain cases, metabolic disorders can also be caused by congenital disorders, one of which is fructose intolerance.
This condition is an inherited metabolic disorder that makes the sufferer’s body unable to process or break down fructose, which is a type of sugar that can be found in fruits, vegetables, and honey.
Other types of inherited disorders that can interfere with the body’s metabolism are galactosemia or the inability of the body to convert galactose carbohydrates into glucose, and phenylketonuria (PKU), or the inability of the body to convert the amino acid phenylalanine into tyrosine.
Metabolism is a natural process that occurs in the body. With the body’s metabolism, you can carry out daily activities smoothly. You can even increase your metabolism to burn excess fat tissue to make your body weight more ideal.
If you have questions about your body’s metabolism or feel you have a problem with your metabolism, don’t hesitate to consult a doctor.