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What is Metabolism?


CHAPTER 1

What Is Metabolism?

“I’ve searched the web but found nothing that tells me how to

distinguish if my metabolism is healthy. I’ve found plenty of

ways to tell me how to improve my metabolism but nothing

that explains what is normal. Are there outward signs that

will tell you if your metabolism is healthy?”

Metabolism.com member

      According to Webster’s Dictionary, metabolism is “the chemical and  physical processes continuously going on in living organisms.” But when most people think about metabolism they focus on one specific process—the process that releases and stores energy from the food we eat. This is because this type of metabolism not only affects how efficiently your body burns fuel but also influences how easily our bodies gain or lose weight.

 Turning Food into Energy

In simple terms, your metabolism is the rate at which your body breaks down nutrients from the foods you eat and converts them into a form the body can use. After you’ve eaten a bowl of cereal or a sandwich, chemicals produced in the digestive tract, known as enzymes, break down all of the complex molecules that make up the food into smaller, more usable nutrients. Proteins are broken down into amino acids, fats into fatty acids, and carbohydrates into simple sugars like glucose. These nutrients are then absorbed into the blood where they are transported all over the body.

 At this point the nutrients can be used in different processes. Amino acids are usually used to build and repair tissues, while glucose enters cells and is metabolized for energy. Any extra nutrients left over after these processes are generally stored in body tissues, especially the liver, muscles and body fat, and used for energy at a later date if the body needs it. (Think of it like a squirrel stocking up nuts for the winter.)

In this way, the process of metabolism really is a balancing act between two very different types of activities: (1) building up body tissues and energy stores, and (2) breaking down energy-rich nutrients, body tissues and energy stores to produce fuel that will power the body. Continue reading

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Thank You for Understanding; By Gary Pepper, M.D.


Debbi and Terri:

The Comments section at metabolism.com is a place where members have the opportunity to get their questions and opinions posted to the homepage for maximum visibility. Every day thousands of people have the opportunity to see what is on your mind. I try not to intervene too much in Comments so people feel free to say whatever…including what may seem negative about the website.
Everyday, Chris (our webmaster) and I review the Comments section several times. I try to find topics that have general interest which I then turn into a blog. I hope you have noticed that many member questions wind up in my main blog. It takes me a lot of time and effort to prepare a meaningful blog post. I also try to choose a wide variety of issues to cover the whole spectrum of metabolic issues, from the Armour Thyroid crisis, to diabetes care, to smoking cessation, weight loss, low testosterone, Vitamin D, estrogen replacement, osteoporosis, adrenal disease etc.
There is a serious shortage of Endocrinologists and the situation is going to get worse before it gets better. At metabolism.com I try to share my experience with as many people as I can even though I can’t get to every question. I regret if it appears I am ignoring anyone’s concerns.

Many of my opinions run counter to the medical establishment so I am not universally appreciated by my peers. But by countering some of the less insightful policies of the medical establishment I think I reach people who have been left feeling hopeless by their healthcare professionals. My next blog on the flaws in the latest Diabetes Treatment Guidelines recently released by my professional society, is probably going to make me even less popular at my next professional meeting.

Many thanks to you and other members of Metabolism.com for your support. And thank you for understanding the mission and limitations of Metabolism.com.

All the best,
Gary Pepper, M.D.

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