What is the definition of metabolism?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Metabolism can be defined as all the chemical reactions that take place in each of our body's cells. Its main purpose is to convert the energy that our body takes in (from food, for example) into a form that will allow our bodies to function and, ultimately, survive. Our body regulates such metabolic reactions and it is a process that occurs in our bodies from birth to death. Enzymes also play a significant role in metabolism because they catalyze, or speed up the reactions needed in order for the body to function.

Metabolism is often divided into two processes:

Catabolism: the process that allows for the breakdown of molecules in order to get energy

Anabolism: the process that allows for the formation of the compounds that the cells need

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial