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The sum total of the enzyme-catalysed reactions that occur in a living organism, that are necessary for the maintenance of life. All the physical and chemical changes that occur within the cells allow growth and maintain body functions.

Metabolism can be divided into two activities that occur simultaneously in order to create more fuel to be used for body functions:

  1. Anabolism, or constructive metabolism: the process where the body uses energy generated from other reactions to synthesize larger, more complex molecules, such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats. It is important for the growth of new cells, the maintenance of body tissues and the storage of energy for future use.
  2. Catabolism, or destructive metabolism: The enzymatic process to break down the food to nutrients that can be easily absorbed by body system. Large molecules such as carbohydrates and fats are broken down to release energy which is then used during anabolism, to heat the body and allowing the body to move due to muscle contraction. The waste products are removed from the body through the skin, kidneys, lungs, and intestines[1][2].


  1. The Nemours Foundation, "Metabolism", 2017, [cited 02/12/2017], available from:
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