Meaning of Catabolism

What is Catabolism:

Catabolism is the process of degrade or break down complex organic nutrients into simple substances in order to obtain useful energy for cells. Catabolism, together with anabolism, completes the process of metabolism.

The term catabolism comes from the Greek, and is made up of two words: tastingwhich means ‘downwards’, and ballet, which means ‘throw’. Thus, catabolism reduces or degrades substances.

While anabolism is responsible for generating complex substances from simple substances, catabolism carries out reduction and oxidation processes. That is, the organism is in charge of degrading biomolecules to obtain energy from them. This process is more or less similar in all living beings, animals or plants, with the exception of certain types of bacteria.

Among the organic molecules we can mention proteins, lipids and polysaccharides, which are transformed during the digestion process.

These nutrients must be broken down into amino acids, fatty acids and monosaccharides respectively. Another example that we can mention is the catabolic process that converts glucose into energy and water.

In any case, catabolism not only extracts energy from the reduction-oxidation process, but is also capable of discarding those chemical reactions that are destructive.

muscle catabolism

There is talk of muscle catabolism when the body, not receiving any food and, therefore, not receiving complex substances to obtain energy, must seek them directly in muscle tissue. That is, the body begins to “eat itself.” As a consequence, the person loses muscle mass.

This process is very common in people who undergo starvation diets or who have a poor diet for the energy level they need.

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See also:

  • Metabolism.
  • Anabolism.