Metabolism is the sum of biochemical reactions which takes place in our body. It is broadly divided into two sub-component reactions which jointly signify the actual definition of metabolism. These two sub component reactions are anabolic and catabolic reactions. Here, in this article we are going to lay stress on the catabolic reactions that take place in our body. In common, we call these reactions as catabolism.
If we want to understand the true meaning of catabolism then it is important first of all to catch the definition of catabolic. It actually covers the breaking phase of metabolism. It is basically the set of metabolic pathways in which bigger molecules break down into smaller units and release the required amount of energy. If you want to understand the definition of catabolic in a more precise way then it can be stated in a different way. The catabolic phase include the breaking down of large molecules like lipids, polysaccharides, proteins and nucleic acid into smaller and easily consumable units like fatty acids, monosaccharide, amino acids and nucleotides respectively. These small units of proteins, polysaccharides and nucleic acids are scientifically termed as monomers. When they exist in the form of larger molecules with long chains then they are termed as polymers.
From the detailed definition of catabolic it is clear that the cells that are present in the body use these monomers for two important functions inside the body. They either use the availed energy for the building up process of new polymer molecules or for further degradation of the monomers into simple waste products for the release of additional energy. The cellular wastes that originated out of it include acetic acid, ammonia, lactic acid, urea and carbon dioxide. The generation of these waste products arises after the process of oxidation for the release of chemical free energy for the accomplishment of different activities. Most of them get lost as heat but the remaining one is sored as ATP (adenosine triphosphate) within the body.
This molecule plays a very important role in creating way for the cells to transfer the required amount of energy for the building- up reactions in the body. From the definition of catabolic reaction and the role of ATP it is clear that it offers the necessary amount of chemical energy for the growth and maintenance of the cells. Some of the catabolic processes occurring in the body include the citric acid cycle, glycolysis, the breakdown of accumulated fat in adipose tissues to fatty acid and breaking down of muscle protein for the purpose of using amino acid as substrates in the reaction called gluconeogenesis.
There are numerous signals which work to operate the process of catabolism in a better way. Most of the known signals which work for this purpose are hormones. Besides hormones, the molecules that participate in the metabolic reaction also liberate the signals to initiate the process of catabolism. From the studies and researches done by different endocrinologists in the past several years it has been revealed that there are different catabolic or anabolic hormones present in the body which are well capable to stimulate any part of the metabolism as per the requirement of the body.
The classic definition of catabolic has been known by the scientists in the early 20th century. This definition is mainly associated with the involvement of catabolic hormones in the breaking down reactions taking place in the body. Some of the important catabolic hormones which helped the scientists and research scholars to reveal lots of information regarding this sub component of metabolism consist of glucagon, cortisol and adrenaline.
It is a fact that if you try to know more about a particular thing then sooner or later you can make new discoveries related with it. Same is with the catabolic reactions that take place in our body. Although, scientist are doing research on it since a very long time but they attained major success in the last few decades. Within last one or two decades they have discovered several hormones with catabolic effects on the human body. Some of these discovered hormones include melatonin, hypocretin (a hormone pair), orexin and cytokines.
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