The origin of the word “metabolism” means to change or something which is in transition and this is applied to how the body sustains its chemical constitution. All of the processes involved in energy production are metabolic processes. Eating and drinking could be considered the beginning of the metabolic chain of events. Substances which are consumed are transformed by breaking them down into their different properties and fuelling a large array of chemical reactions. Commonly it’s understood that this process produces the energy we need to function on a physical level. Our ability to walk and talk, think and breathe is sustained by this conversion of foods to smaller particles the body is designed to use.
In reality metabolism refines foods to fuel all of the cells in the body. Cell activities are metabolic activities. Hormones and neurotransmitters are metabolised too. Thousands upon thousands of changes are taking place in a symphony-like manner within the body at any given time, and these changes are governed by what is perceived to be needed by unconscious and conscious perceptions – a processed called homeostasis. So all of the varied bodily functions are fuelled by metabolism, yet the effects are interwoven deeply into a myriad of complex interactions.
When one substance is perceived to be needed, it’s added to a metabolic schedule of things to do, only a homeostatic checklist decides the order of the scheduled workload. If a particular disposition is perceived to be needed at present (say a vigilant state or a reflective state), it gets put to the top of the list, and metabolic efforts serve its needs.
Now this is truly wide reaching. As levels of various bodily substances rise and fall, others are either released or produced. Hormones and neurotransmitters are included in this symphonic dance, thus the central nervous system and brain regions are dynamically influenced by metabolic activity. Therefore the metabolism is far more than a simple energy producing process. Interlaced with the nervous system with innumerable dynamic connections, “the metabolism” is a critical link in the process of homeostasis.
Greek. Metabole = a change.
1. The chemical processes that suppport life.
2. Life sustaining chemical actions in an organism.