Thursday, March 31, 2011

What is anabolism (biosynthesis)?

Processes involved in synthesizing the molecules needed for cellular growth and maintenance. Thus the formation of PROTEIN, DNA, RNA, LIPID, CARBOHYDRATE, FAT, and GLYCOGEN are anabolic processes. Anabolism consumes chemical energy in the form of ATP and NADPH (a reducing agent), which are supplied by CATABOLISM, the energy-yielding oxidative processes involved in degradation. Optimal function and health rely upon a balance of anabolic and catabolic processes (homeostasis). These two branches of metabolism are controlled by the ENDOCRINE SYSTEM, which in turn responds to external influences such as diet. Anabolic processes require small building blocks supplied by breaking down STARCH, PROTEIN, and FAT in foods to build larger molecules. GLYCEROL and FATTY ACIDS are the subunits of fat; AMINO ACIDS yield proteins; and glucose yields glycogen. Fat and carbohydrate degradation provides an energized form of ACETIC ACID (acetyl CoA) to synthesize fatty acids and cholesterol. Other specialized products are also assembled from several different types of smaller precursors. For example, heme, the iron-containing pigment of the oxygen transport protein HEMOGLOBIN, is synthesized from an amino acid (GLYCINE) and SUCCINIC ACID, a common intermediate in energy-producing pathways.
Growth and an anabolic state, seen as an increase in body mass and muscle mass, occur during childhood, adolescence, pregnancy, and strenuous physical activity, such as body building. The weight gained in these situations represents increased protein, bone, or fat, not fluids. Increased fat stores and accumulated body fat represent stored surplus energy in adults and can result from too little exercise, the over-consumption of FOOD, heredity, or a combination of the above factors.

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