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Concept :The term metabolism refers to all of the chemical reactions by which complex molecules

taken into an organism are broken down to produce energy and by which energy is used
to build up complex molecules. All metabolic reactions fall into one of two general
categories: catabolic and anabolic reactions, or the processes of breaking down and
building up, respectively. The best example of metabolism from daily life occurs in the
process of taking in and digesting nutrients, but sometimes these processes become
altered, either through a person's choice or through outside factors, and metabolic
disorders follow. Such disorders range from anorexia and bulimia to obesity. These are all
examples of an unhealthy, unnatural alteration to the ordinary course of metabolism; on
the other hand, hibernation allows animals to slow down their metabolic rates
dramatically as a means of conserving energy during times when food is scarce.
How It Works
The Body's Furnace

The term metabolism, strangely enough, is related closely to devil, with which it shares
the Greek root ballein, meaning "to throw." By adding dia ("through" or "across"), one
arrives at devil and many related words, such as diabolical ; on the other hand, the
replacement of that prefix with meta ("after" or "beyond") yields the word metabolism.
The connection between the two words has been obscured over time, but it might be
helpful to picture metabolism in terms of an image that goes with that of a devil: a
Metabolism is indeed like a furnace, in that it burns energy, and that is the aspect most
commonly associated with this concept. But metabolism also involves a function that a
furnace does not: building new material. All metabolic reactions can be divided into
either catabolic or anabolic reactions. Catabolism is the process by which large molecules
are broken down into smaller ones with the release of energy, whereas anabolism is the
process by which energy is used to build up complex molecules needed by the body to
maintain itself and develop new tissue.

One way to understand the metabolic process is to follow the path of a typical nutrient as
it passes through the body. The digestive process is discussed in Digestion, while
nutrients are examined in Nutrients and Nutrition as well as in Proteins, Amino Acids,
Enzymes, Carbohydrates, and Vitamins. Here we touch on the process only in general
terms, as it relates to metabolism.
The term digestion is not defined in the essay on that subject, because it is an everyday
word whose meaning is widely known. For the present purposes, however, it is important
to identify it as the process of breaking down food into simpler chemical compounds as a
means of making nutrients absorbable by the body. This is a catabolic process, because
the molecules of which foods are made are much too large to pass through the lining of

the digestive system and directly into the bloodstream. Thanks to the digestive process,
smaller molecules are formed and enter the bloodstream, from whence they are carried to
individual cells throughout a person's body.
The smaller molecules into which nutrients are broken down make up the metabolic pool,
which consists of simpler substances. The metabolic pool includes simple sugars, made
by the breakdown of complex carbohydrates; glycerol and fatty acids, which come from
the conversion of lipids, or fats; and amino acids, formed by the breakdown of proteins.
Substances in the metabolic pool provide material from which new tissue is constructed
an anabolic process.
The chemical breakdown of substances in the cells is a complex and wondrous process.
For instance, a cell converts a sugar molecule into carbon dioxide and water over the
course of about two dozen separate chemical reactions. This is what cell biologists call a
metabolic pathway: an orderly sequence of reactions, with particular enzymes (a type of
protein that speeds up chemical reactions) acting at each step along the way. In this
instance, each chemical reaction makes a relatively modest change in the sugar molecule
for example, the removal of a single oxygen atom or a single hydrogen atomand
each is accompanied by the release of energy, a result of the breaking of chemical bonds
between atoms.
Atpand Adp

Cells capture and store the energy released in catabolic reactions through the use of
chemical compounds known as energy carriers. The most significant example of an
energy carrier is adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, which is formed when a simpler
compound, adenosine diphosphate (ADP), combines with a phosphate group. (A
phosphate is a chemical compound that contains oxygen bonded to phosphorus, and the
term group in chemistry refers to a combination of atoms from two or more elements that
tend to bond with other elements or compounds in certain characteristic ways.)
ADP will combine with a phosphate group only if energy is added to it. In cells, that
energy comes from the catabolism of compounds in the metabolic pool, including sugars,
glycerol (related to fats), and fatty acids. The ATP molecule formed in this manner has
taken up the energy previously stored in the sugar molecule, and thereafter, whenever a
cell needs energy for some process, it can obtain it from an ATP molecule. The reverse of
this process also takes place inside cells. That is, energy from an ATP molecule can be
used to put simpler molecules together to make more complex molecules. For example,
suppose that a cell needs to repair a rupture in its cell membrane. To do so, it will need to
produce new protein molecules, which are made from hundreds or thousands of aminoacid molecules. These molecules can be obtained from the metabolic pool.
The reactions by which a compound is metabolized differ for various nutrients. Also,
energy carriers other than ATP may play a part. For example, the compound known as
nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) also has a role in the catabolism

and anabolism of various substances. The general outline described here, however,
applies to all metabolic reactions.
Catabolism and Anabolism

Energy released from organic nutrients (those containing carbon and hydrogen) during
catabolism is stored within ATP, in the form of the high-energy chemical bonds between
the second and third molecules of phosphate. The cell uses ATP for synthesizing cell
components from simple precursors, for the mechanical work of contraction and motion,
and for transport of substances across its membrane. ATP's energy is released when this
bond is broken, turning ATP into ADP. The cell uses the energy derived from catabolism
to fuel anabolic reactions that synthesize cell components. Although anabolism and
catabolism occur simultaneously in the cell, their rates are controlled independently. Cells
separate these pathways because catabolism is a "downhill" process, or one in which
energy is released, while anabolism is an "uphill" process requiring the input of energy.
Catabolism and anabolism share an important common sequence of reactions known
collectively as the citric acid cycle, the tricarboxylic acid cycle, or the Krebs cycle.
Named after the German-born British biochemist Sir Hans Adolf Krebs (1900-1981), the
Krebs cycle is a series of chemical reactions in which tissues use carbohydrates, fats, and
proteins to produce energy; it is part of a larger series of enzymatic reactions known as
oxidative phosphorylation. In the latter reaction, glucose is broken down to release
energy, which is stored in the form of ATPa catabolic sequence. At the same time, other
molecules produced by the Krebs cycle are used as precursor molecules for reactions that
build proteins, fats, and carbohydratesan anabolic sequence. (A precursor is a
substance, cellular component, or cell from which another substance, cellular component,
or celldifferent in kind from the precursoris formed.)
Introduction to Lipids

As noted earlier, many practical aspects of metabolism are discussed elsewhere,

particularly in the essays Digestion and Nutrients and Nutrition. Also, two types of
chemical compound, proteins and carbohydrates, are so important to a variety of
metabolic processes that they are examined in detail within entries of their own. In the
present context, let us focus on the third major kind of nutrient, lipids or fats.
Lipids are soluble in nonpolar solvents, which is the reason why a gravy stain or other
grease stain is difficult to remove from clothing without a powerful detergent or spot
remover. Water molecules are polar, because the opposing electric charges tend to occupy
opposite sides or ends of the molecule. In a molecule of oil, whether derived from
petroleum or from animal or vegetable fat, electric charges are very small, and are
distributed evenly throughout the molecule.
Whereas water molecules tend to bond relatively well, like a bunch of bar magnets
attaching to one another at their opposing poles, oil and fat molecules tend not to bond.
(The "bond" referred to here is the fairly weak one between molecules. Much stronger is
the chemical bond within moleculesa bond that, when broken, brings about a release of

energy, as noted earlier.) Their functions are as varied as their structures, but because they
are all fat-soluble, lipids share in the ability to approach and even to enter cells. The latter
have membranes that, while highly complex in structure, can be identified in simple
terms as containing lipids or lipoproteins (lipids attached to proteins). The behavior of
lipids and lipid-like molecules, therefore, becomes very important in understanding how
a substance may or may not enter a cell. Such a substance may be toxic, as in the case of
some pesticides, but if they are lipid-like, they are able to penetrate the cell's membrane.
(See Food Webs for more about the biomagnification of DDT.)
In addition to lipoproteins, there are glycolipids, or lipids attached to sugars, as well as
lipids attached to alcohols and some to phosphoric acids. The attachment with other
compounds greatly alters the behavior of a lipid, often making them bipolarthat is, one
end of the molecule is water-soluble. This is important, because it allows lipids to move
out of the intestines and into the bloodstream. In the digestive process, lipids are made
water-soluble either by being broken down into smaller parts or through association with
another substance. The breaking down usually is done via two different processes:
hydrolysis, or chemical reaction with water, and saponification. The latter, a reaction in
which certain kinds of organic compounds are hydrolyzed to produce an alcohol and a
salt, is used in making soap.
Real-Life Applications
Putting Lipids to Use

Derived from living systems of plants, animals, or humans, lipids are essential to good
health, not only for humans but also for other animals and even plants. Seeds, for
example, contain lipids for the storage of energy. Because fat is a poor conductor of heat,
lipids also can function as effective insulators, and for this reason, people living in Arctic
zones seek fatty foods such as blubber. Some lipids function as chemical messengers in
the body, while others serve as storage areas for chemical energy. There is a good reason
why babies are born with "baby fat" and why children entering puberty often tend to
become chubby: in both cases, they are building up energy reserves for the great
metabolic hurdles that lie ahead, and within a few years, they will have used up those
excessive fat stores.
Fats and Oils

Fats and oils are both energy-rich compounds that are basic components of the normal
diet. Both have essentially the same chemical structurea mixture of fatty acids
combined with glyceroland are insoluble (do not dissolve) in water. While fats remain
solid or at least semisolid at room temperature, however, most oils very quickly become
liquid at increased temperatures. Animal fats and oils include butter, lard, tallow, and fish
oil. Numerous other oils, such as cottonseed, peanut, and corn oils, are derived from
Fats have two main functions: they provide some of the raw material for synthesizing
(creating) and repairing tissues, and they serve as a concentrated source of fuel energy.

Fats, in fact, provide humans with roughly twice as much energy, per unit weight, as
carbohydrates and proteins. Fats are not only an important source of day-to-day energy,
but they also can be stored indefinitely as adipose (fat) tissue in case of future need. Fats
also help by transporting fat-soluble vitamins, such as A and D (see Vitamins), throughout
the system. They cushion and form protective pads around delicate organs, such as the
heart, liver and kidneys, and the layer of fat under the skin helps insulate the body against
too much heat loss. They even add to the flavor of foods that might otherwise be inedible.
Not All Fat Is Created Equal

Although normal amounts of certain kinds of fat in the diet are essential to good health,
unnecessarily high amounts (especially of unhealthy fats) can lead to various problems.
Healthy fats include those from fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, or tuna, or from fatcontaining vegetables, such as the avocado. In addition, many vegetable oils, particularly
olive oil, can be beneficial.
Bad fats, on the other hand, are usually ones that have been tampered with through a
process known as hydrogenation. This is a term describing any chemical reaction in
which hydrogen atoms are added to fill in chemical bonds between carbon and other
atoms, but in the case of fatty foods, hydrogenation involves the saturation of
hydrocarbons, organic chemical compounds whose molecules are made up of nothing but
carbon and hydrogen atoms. When they are treated with hydrogen gas, they become
"saturated" with hydrogen atoms. Saturated fats, as they are called, are harder and more
stable and stand up better to the heat of frying, which makes them more desirable for use
in commercial products. For this reason, many foods contain hydrogenated vegetable oil;
however, saturated fats have been linked to a rise in blood cholesterol levelsand to an
increased risk of heart disease.
Cholesterol is a variety of lipid, and, like other lipids, some of it is essentialbut only
some and only of the right kind. Most cholesterol is transported through the blood in lowdensity lipoproteins, or LDLs, which have been nicknamed bad cholesterol. These
lipoproteins are received by LDL receptors on the cell membranes, but if there are more
LDLs than LDL receptors, the excess LDLs will be deposited in the arteries. Thus, LDLs
are not really "bad" unless there are too many of them. On the other hand, "good"
cholesterol (HDLs, or high-density lipoproteins) help protect against damage to the artery
walls by carrying excess LDLs back to the liver.
How Much Is Too Much?

A certain amount of excess adipose tissue can be valuable during periods of illness,
overactivity, or food shortages. Too much, however, can be unsightly and also can
overwork the heart and put added stress on other parts of the body. High levels of certain
circulating fats may lead to atherosclerosis, which is a thickening of the artery walls, and
they have been linked to various illnesses, including cancer.
With fat, as with many things where the body is concerned, if a little is a good, this does
not mean that a lot is better. In the past, nutritionists considered a diet that obtained 40%

of its calories from fats a reasonable one; today, however, they recommend that no more
than 30% of all calories (and preferably an even smaller percentage) come from fat.
Agreement on this point, however, is far from universal. Some physicians and scientists
maintain that dietary fat does not contribute as much to body fat as do carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are good for someone who needs a boost of energy that can be consumed
easily by the body, such as an athlete going into competition. But for in active people
and this includes a large portion of Americanscarbohydrates simply are stored as fat.
Experts do not even agree on the answer to a question much simpler than "How much is
too much fat in the diet?"the question "How much is too much fat on the body?" Some
doctors classify a person as obese whose weight is at least 20% more than the
recommended weight for his or her height, but others say that standard height-and-weight
charts are misleading. After all, muscle weighs more than fat, and it is conceivable that a
very muscular athlete with very little body fat might qualify as "overweight" compared
with the recommended weight for his or her height.
Body Fat, the Sexes, and Nature

Because of the complexity of the issue, many experts contend that the proportion of fat to
muscle, measured by the skinfold "pinch" test, is a better measure of obesity. (Being
obese is not the same as being overweight: the muscular athlete described in the last
paragraph is overweight but not obese, a term that implies an excess of body fat.) In
healthy adults, fat typically should account for about 18-25% of the body weight in
females and 15-20% in males.
The reason for the difference between men and women is that fat naturally accumulates
in a woman's buttocks and thighs, because nature "assumes" that she will bear children, in
which case such excess fat will be useful. This is why women over the age of about 25
often complain that when they and their husbands or boyfriends embark on a fitness
program together, the men usually see results faster. The reason is that there is no genetic
or evolutionary benefit to be gained from a man having fat around his waist, which is
where men usually gain. If anythingsince our genetic codes and makeup have changed
little since prehistorythe well-being and propagation of the human species are best
served by a lean, muscular male capable of killing animals to feed and protect his family.
All of this means, of course, that men should not gloat if they see better results from a
regular workout program; instead, they should just recognize that nature is at work in
their wives' or girlfriends' bodies as in their own.
Metabolic Disorders

Enzymes, as we noted earlier, are critical participants in metabolic reactions. They are
like relay runners in a race, in this case a race along the metabolic pathways whereby
nutrients are turned into energy or new bodily material. Therefore, if an enzyme is
missing or does not function as it should, it can create a serious metabolic disorder. An
example is phenylketonuria (PKU), caused by the lack of an enzyme known as
phenylalanine hydroxylase. This enzyme is responsible for converting the amino acid
phenylalanine to a second amino acid, tyrosine; when this does not happen, phenylalanine

builds up in the body. It is converted to a compound called phenylpyruvate, which

impairs normal brain development, resulting in severe mental retardation.
Other examples of metabolic disorders include alkaptonuria, thalassemia, porphyria, TaySachs disease, Hurler syndrome, Gaucher disease, galactosemia, Cushing syndrome,
diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism, and hypothyroidism. Most of these conditions affect a
small population; however, diabetes mellitus (discussed in Noninfectious Diseases) is one
of the leading killers in America. At present, no cures for metabolic disorders exist. The
best approach is to diagnose such conditions as early as possible and then arrange a
person's diet to deal as effectively as possible with that disorder.
Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are a different matter, because they are psychological rather than
physiological conditions. No one is sure what causes eating disorders, but researchers
think that family dynamics, biochemical abnormalities, and modern American society's
preoccupation with thinness all may contribute. Eating disorders are virtually unknown in
parts of the world where food is scarce, but in wealthy lands, such as the United States,
problems of overeating, self-induced starvation, or forced purging have gained
considerable attention.
Anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and obesity are the most well known types of eating disorder.
The word anorexia comes from the Greek for "lack of appetite," but the problem for
people with anorexia is not that they are not hungry. On the contrary, they are starving,
but unlike poor people in the Third World, they are not starving as the result of a shortage
of food but because they are denying themselves nutrition. They do this because they fear
gaining weight, even when they are so severely underweight that they look like skeletons.
The name of a related condition, bulimia, literally means "hungry as an ox." People with
this problem go on eating binges, often gorging on junk food. Then they force their
bodies to get rid of the food, either by vomiting or by taking large amounts of laxatives. A
third type of eating disorder, obesity, also is characterized by uncontrollable overeating,
but in this case the person does not force the body to eject the food that has been
consumed. That, at least, makes obesity more healthy than bulimia, but there is nothing
healthy about accumulating vast amounts of body fat, as severely obese people do.
Anorexia and Bulimia

Young people are more likely than older people to suffer anorexia or bulimia, conditions
that typically become apparent at about the age of 20 years. Although both men and
women can experience the problem, in fact, only about 5% of people with these eating
disorders are male. And though anorexia and bulimia are closely relatedparticularly
inasmuch as they are psychological in origin but can exact a heavy biological tollthere
are several important differences.
People who have anorexia or bulemia often come from families with overprotective
parents who have unrealistically high expectations of their children. Frequently, high

expectations go hand in hand with a wealthy background, and certainly anorexia and
bulimia are not conditions that typically affect the poor. Anorexia and bulimia often seem
to develop after some stressful experience, such as moving to a new town, changing
schools, or going through puberty. Low self-esteem, fear of losing control, and fear of
growing up are common characteristics of people with these conditions. Their need for
approval manifests in a quest to meet or exceed our culture's idealized concept of extreme
thinness. This quest is a part of our popular culture, promoted by waiflike models whose
sunken eyes stare out of fashion magazines.
Like anorexia, bulimia results in starvation, but there are behavioral, physical, and
psychological differences between the two. Bulimia is both less and more dangerous: on
the one hand, people who have it tend to be of normal weight or are overweight, and
unlike those with anorexia, they are aware of the fact that they have a problem. On the
other hand, because the effects of their behavior are not so readily apparent, it is easier
for a person with bulimia to persist in the pattern of bingeing and purging for much
Approximately one in five persons with bulimia has a problem with drug or alcohol use,
and they pursue their binges in a way not unlike that of a guilty addict or alcoholic hiding
the spent needles or empty bottles from family members. They may go from restaurant to
restaurant to avoid being seen eating too much in any one place, or they may pretend to
be shopping for a large dinner party when, in fact, they intend to eat all the food
themselves. Because of the expense of consuming so much food, some resort to
During a binge, people suffering from bulimia favor high-carbohydrate foods, such as
doughnuts, candy, ice cream, soft drinks, cookies, cereal, cake, popcorn, and bread, and
they consume many times the number of calories they would normally consume in one
day. No matter what their normal eating habits, they tend to eat quickly and messily
during a binge, stuffing the food into their mouths and gulping it down, sometimes
without even tasting it. Some say they get a feeling of euphoria during binges, similar to
the "runner's high" that some people get from exercise. Then, when they have gorged
themselves, they force the food back out, either by causing themselves to vomit or by
taking large quantities of laxatives.
Regular self-induced vomiting can cause all sorts of physical problems, such as damage
to the stomach and esophagus, chronic heartburn, burst blood vessels in the eyes, throat
irritation, and erosion of tooth enamel from the acid in vomit. Excessive use of laxatives
can induce muscle cramps, stomach pains, digestive problems, dehydration, and even
poisoning, while bulimia, in general, brings about vitamin deficiencies and imbalances of
critical body fluids, which, in turn, can lead to seizures and kidney failure.
The self-imposed starvation of people with anorexia likewise takes a heavy toll on the
body. The skin becomes dry and flaky, muscles begin to waste away, bones stop growing
and may become brittle, and the heart weakens. Seeking to protect itself in the absence of
proper insulation from fat, the body sprouts downy hair on the face, back, and arms in

response to lower body temperature. In women, menstruation stops, and permanent

infertility may result. Muscle cramps, dizziness, fatigue, and even brain damage as well
as kidney and heart failure are possible. An estimated 10% to 20% of people with
anorexia die either as a direct result of starvation or by suicide.
To save people with anorexia, force-feeding may be necessary. Some 70% of anorexia
patients who are treated for about six months return to normal body weight, but about 1520% can be expected to relapse. Bulimia is not as likely as anorexia to reach lifethreatening stages, so hospitalization typically is not necessary. Treatment generally calls
for psychotherapy and sometimes the administration of antidepressant drugs. Unlike
people with anorexia, those with bulimia usually admit they have a problem and want
help overcoming it.

Unlike anorexia or bulimia, obesity is more of a problem among people from lowerincome backgrounds. This probably relates to a lack of education concerning nutrition,
combined with the fact that healthier food is more expensive; by contrast, unhealthy
items, such as white sugar, corn meal, and fatty cuts of pork and other meats can fill or
overfill a person's stomach inexpensively. In addition, though men and women both tend
to gain weight as they age, women are almost twice as likely as men to be obese.
Some cases of obesity relate to metabolic problems, while others stem from compulsive
eating, which is psychologically motivated. Some studies suggest that obese people are
much more likely than others to eat in response to stress, loneliness, or depression. And
just as emotional pain can lead to obesity, obesity can lead to psychological scars. From
childhood on, obese people are taunted and shunned, and throughout life they may face
discrimination in school and on the job.
Physically, obesity is a killer, especially for those who are morbidly obesethat is,
people whose obesity endangers their health. Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes, high
blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, angina pectoralis (chest pains due to inadequate blood
flow to the heart), varicose veins, cirrhosis of the liver, and kidney disease. Obese people
are about 1.5 times more likely to have heart attacks than are other people, and the overall
death rate among people ages 20-64 is 50% higher for the obese than for people of
ordinary weight.

Having looked at several unnatural ways in which people alter their metabolisms, let us
close with an example of a very natural way that animals sometimes temporarily change
theirs. This is hibernation, a state of inactivity in which an animal's heart rate, body
temperature, and breathing rate are decreased as a way to conserve energy through the
cold months of winter. A similar state, known as estivation, is adopted by some desert
animals during the dry months of summer.

Hibernation is a technique that animals have developed, as a result of natural selection

over the generations (see Evolution), to adapt to harsh environmental conditions. When
food is scarce, a nonhibernating animal would be like a business operating at a lossthat
is, using more energy maintaining its body temperature and searching for food than it
would receive from consuming the food. Hibernating animals use 70-100 times less
energy than when they are active, allowing them to survive until food is once again
Contrast With Sleep

Many animals sleep more often when food is scarce, but only a few truly hibernate.
Bears, which many people think of as the classic hibernating animal, are actually just
deep sleepers. By contrast, true hibernation occurs only in small mammals, such as bats
and woodchucks and a few birds, among them nighthawks. Some insects also practice a
form of hibernation. Hibernation differs from sleep, in that a hibernating animal shows a
drastic reduction in metabolism and then awakes relatively slowly, whereas a sleeping
animal decreases its metabolism only slightly and can wake up almost instantly if
disturbed. Also, hibernating animals do not show periods of rapid eye movement (REM),
the stage of sleep associated with dreaming in humans.
The Process of Hibernation

Animals prepare for hibernation in the fall by storing food; usually this storage is
internal, in the form of fat reserves. A woodchuck in early summer may have only about
5% body fat, but as fall approaches, changes in the animal's brain chemistry cause it to
feel hungry and to eat constantly. As a result, the woodchuck's body fat increases to about
15% of its total weight. In other animals, such as the dormouse, fat may constitute as
much as 50% of the animal's weight by the time hibernation begins. A short period of
fasting follows the feeding frenzy, to ensure that the digestive tract is emptied completely
before hibernation begins.
Going into hibernation is a gradual process. Over a period of days, an animal's heart rate
and breathing rate drop slowly, eventually reaching rates of just a few beats or breaths per
minute. Their body temperatures also drop from levels of about 100F (38C) to about
60F (15C). The lowered body temperature makes fewer demands on metabolism and
food stores. Electric activity in the brain ceases almost completely during hibernation,
although some areasthose that respond to external stimuli, such as light, temperature,
and noiseremain active. Thus, the hibernating animal can be aroused under extreme
Periodicallyperhaps every two weeks or sothe hibernating animal awakes and takes
a few deep breaths to refresh its air supply. If the weather is particularly mild, some
animals may venture from their lairs. An increase in heart rate signals that the time for
arousal, or ending hibernation, is near. Blood vessels dilate, particularly around the heart,
lungs, and brain, and this leads to an increased breathing rate. Eventually, the increase in
circulation and metabolic activity spreads throughout the body, and the animal resumes a
normal waking state.

All the physical and chemical processes by which living, organized substance is produced
and maintained and the transformations by which energy is made available for use by an
In defining metabolism, it is customary to distinguish between energy metabolism and
intermediary metabolism, although the two are, in fact, inseparable. Energy metabolism is
primarily concerned with overall heat production in an organism, while intermediary
metabolism deals with chemical reactions within cells and tissues. In general, the term
metabolism is interpreted to mean intermediary metabolism. See also Energy metabolism.
Metabolism thus includes all biochemical processes within cells and tissues which are
concerned with their building up, breaking down, and functioning. The synthesis and
maintenance of tissue structure generally involves the union of smaller into larger
molecules. This part of metabolism, the building of tissues, is termed anabolism. The
process of breaking down tissue, of splitting larger protoplasmic molecules into smaller
ones, is termed catabolism. Growth or weight gain occurs when anabolism exceeds
catabolism. On the other hand, weight loss results if catabolism proceeds more rapidly
than anabolism, as in periods of starvation, serious injury, or disease. When the two
processes are balanced, tissue mass remains the same.
The metabolism of the three major foodstuffs, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, is
intimately interrelated, so any clearcut division of the three is arbitrary and inaccurate.
Thus the metabolism of protoplasm is concerned with all three of these foodstuffs. The
metabolic pathways of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins cross at many points; thus certain
pathways of metabolism are shared in common by fragments of these different classes of
Some of the metabolic processes of the protoplasm of both plant and animal cells occur
alongcommon pathways; carbohydrate metabolism in plants is similar in many details to
carbohydrate metabolism in animals. Therefore the study of metabolism in any organism
is, in a sense, the study of metabolism in all protoplasm. See also Carbohydrate
metabolism; Lipid metabolism; Protein metabolism.

According to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, the term metabolism is defined as
the chemical processes by which nutritive material is built up into living matter, or by
which complex molecules are broken down into simpler substances during the
performance of special functions. The various reactions which involve the synthesis of
complex molecules can be grouped under the heading of anabolism, whereas the
breakdown of complex molecules is known as catabolism. As might be expected, both
anabolic and catabolic processes include a vast number of different chemical reactions,
but there are a number of common features. Most of the metabolic processes occur inside
the cells of the body, mainly in the cytoplasm, but also inside intracellular organelles such
as the mitochondria. Anabolic and catabolic reactions involve the action of enzymes and
the utilization of energy. In some cases the metabolic processes are regulated locally, i.e.

by the cell itself, but often the metabolism of the whole body is controlled in an
integrated fashion by the action of hormones and/or the nervous system.
Anabolic processes
These mainly involve the use of the carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and minerals consumed
in the diet to synthesize complex molecules such as the structural material of the
skeleton, connective tissue, and cell membranes; nutrient stores for later use; and
hormones and proteins which are secreted from cells into the blood or into the digestive
tract. In order for these anabolic processes to proceed efficiently, it is essential that the
cells are provided with the correct raw materials (and are able to extract them from the
blood) and that the appropriate enzymes are present within the cells. Obviously, these
enzymes will have been synthesized within the cells, as a result of activation of the
appropriate genes in the cell nucleus.
Catabolic processes
These can be classified into a variety of categories, including the breakdown of energycontaining components of the diet (or their storage forms) to make energy available for
the cells; the removal and breakdown of potentially toxic substances in the bloodstream;
and the breakdown of damaged cells and tissues with the re-use of many of the
components. These catabolic processes require the presence of the appropriate enzymes;
many also require oxygen to be available, and the waste products to be removed from the
tissues by the blood.
In many cases the processes of anabolism and catabolism occur coincidentally. A good
example relates to the protein in the body, which is in a constant state of flux. Every day
some of the body protein undergoes catabolism and is replaced by new material. Thus,
there is a constant turnover of protein in the body, which requires a continuous supply of
protein in the diet, and which also uses a substantial amount of energy.
Control of metabolism
For the body to function efficiently, there has to be an effective means of controlling and
integrating the metabolic processes occurring in all the cells, tissues, and organs. This
integration and control is mainly achieved by circulating hormones, with their release
being regulated in turn partly by the nervous system and partly by direct effects of
substances in the blood on the endocrine glands. An example of this integrated control of
metabolism is the way in which blood glucose concentration is regulated to ensure an
adequate supply of glucose to the brain. After meals, the hormone insulin acts to promote
storage of glucose in the form of glycogen in the liver. The brain continuously extracts
glucose from the blood to use as a fuel for its metabolic processes. In the periods between
meals, this continued use of blood glucose causes the concentration to fall, which could
impair brain function. However, a fall in blood glucose is detected in the pancreas and
leads to the release of the hormone glucagon, which acts on the liver to cause breakdown
of glycogen and release of glucose into the blood. In addition, if blood glucose falls

sufficiently to affect brain metabolism, the sympathetic nervous system is activated,

causing the adrenal gland to release adrenaline, which also stimulates the release of
glucose from the liver; also the individual feels hungry and is prompted to eat.
Energy metabolism
A fundamental feature of both anabolic and catabolic processes is the utilization of
energy. Almost all of the chemical reactions in the body require the expenditure of
energy, which is made available mainly by the catabolism of the macronutrients: fats
and carbohydrates (particularly glucose), and (to a small extent) proteins. This utilization
of energy can be compared with the use of fuel for cooking or for generating electricity.
In these two cases, the combustion of a fuel (coal, gas, or oil) produces carbon dioxide
and water and releases heat which is used to warm the food (often causing chemical
changes in it) or to generate steam to drive turbines. In the body's metabolism, the energy
released from the oxidation of the macronutrients is used for a series of chemical
reactions, instead of being released only as heat.
The main way in which the energy contained in the macronutrients is used in metabolism
is via the substance adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Cells require energy for their
metabolic processes, so they contain the enzymes and organelles needed to produce ATP
from the catabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and/or proteins. In most cases, the production
of ATP occurs in association with the oxidation, so that the final products are ATP, carbon
dioxide, and water, as illustrated below for the oxidation of glucose (C6H12O6):
C6H12O6 + 6O2 = 6CO2 + 6H2O + ATP
This is an example of aerobic metabolism, requiring the supply of oxygen and the
removal of carbon dioxide from the cells by the circulating blood. Thus, in order for this
predominant type of metabolism to proceed effectively in the whole body, there needs to
be integration of the respiration, circulation, and supply of nutrients.
In some situations, anaerobic metabolism can occur ATP is produced without the use
of oxygen but the energy-releasing capacity of these systems is very small compared
with that of aerobic metabolism, and the anaerobic reactions lead to the production of
waste products such as lactic acid which impair cell function if they are present in high
ATP is the single most important molecule for the metabolism of almost all the cells of
the body. It is used to release the energy needed for muscles to contract, for chemical
bonds to be made during the synthesis of complex molecules, and for other bonds to be
broken during catabolic processes. Cells do not store large quantities of ATP, but rather
produce it when it is needed. Thus, most cells of the body need to regulate the
concentration of ATP within them. This occurs via the effects of ATP, and its immediate
breakdown product ADP (adenosine diphosphate), on the enzymes responsible for
synthesizing ATP: when more ATP is used, its concentration falls, and that of ADP rises,
leading to the activation of the enzyme which synthesizes more ATP. This in turn requires
more oxygen to be used, and nutrients to be broken down.

An example of the complex integration of metabolism is provided by considering the

processes involved in muscle contraction during exercise. This involves the brain and
other parts of the nervous system in the initiation of voluntary muscle contraction and
movement. Contraction can occur only if ATP is available within the muscle cells. As the
ATP already present is used, so the concentration of ADP will rise, which stimulates more
ATP production. At the same time the contraction of the muscles stimulates the
breakdown of the intramuscular glycogen, and may also stimulate the uptake of glucose
and fatty acids from the blood. The increased availability of these fuels is accompanied
by stimulation of their oxidation, so the ATP concentration is maintained, and muscle
contraction continues, supported by an increase in aerobic energy metabolism. For this to
be possible, it is also necessary for the supply of blood to the muscles to increase, in
order to deliver more oxygen and carry away more carbon dioxide and heat; the action of
chemical products of local metabolism, which dilate local blood vessels, effectively links
flow to requirement.
The above examples illustrate the complexity of metabolism in the human body, and
show that for normal function it is essential that local processes are co-ordinated and
integrated throughout the body.
I. A. Macdonald
The processes of interconversion of chemical compounds in the body. Anabolism is the
process of forming larger and more complex compounds, commonly linked to the
utilization of metabolic energy. Catabolism is the process of breaking down larger
molecules to smaller ones, commonly oxidation reactions linked to release of energy.
There is approximately a 30% variation in the underlying metabolic rate (basal metabolic
rate) between different individuals, determined in part by the activity of the thyroid gland.
See also energy.
The sum total of all the chemical reactions that take place in the body. Metabolism
includes anabolic reactions which manufacture substances needed for growth and repair,
and catabolic reactions which break down substances to release energy. See also basal
metabolic rate.
Japanese architectural movement founded in 1960 by Tange. With members including
Kikutake, Kurokawa, and Maki, it was concerned with the nature and expression of
private and public spaces, with flexibility, and changeable use. Prefabrication, advanced
technology, and industrialization were employed to create small capsules or living-units
for private spaces, connected to service-towers and circulation-areas, as in Kurokawa's
Nagakin Capsule Tower, Tokyo (1972).

metabolism, sum of all biochemical processes involved in life. Two subcategories of
metabolism are anabolism, the building up of complex organic molecules from simpler
precursors, and catabolism, the breakdown of complex substances into simpler
molecules, often accompanied by the release of energy. Organic molecules involved in
these processes are called metabolites, and their interconversions are catalyzed by
enzymes. The transformation of one molecule into another, and then into another and
another in sequence, is termed a metabolic pathway; the intermediates in these pathways
are often identified with the aid of a chemical tracer. Exercise, food, and environmental
temperature influence metabolism. Basal metabolism is the caloric expenditure of an
organism at rest; it represents the minimum amount of energy required to maintain life at
normal body temperature. The basal metabolism rate is usually measured indirectly by
calculation from measurements of the amounts of oxygen and carbon dioxide exchanged
during breathing under certain standard conditions, i.e., complete rest in a room
temperature of 68F (20C), 12 to 14 hours after ingestion of food. A less cumbersome
method of estimating basal metabolic rate involves the quantitative assay of the hormone
thyroxine, known to regulate the body's rate of metabolism. Often the word metabolism is
associated with a particular organic compound or class of compounds, as in
phenylalanine metabolism or amino acid metabolism. In this usage the word refers to the
sum of all interconversions, both anabolic and catabolic, in which the particular
compound or class of compounds is involved.

Structure of the coenzyme adenosine triphosphate, a central intermediate in energy

Metabolism is the set of chemical reactions that occur in living organisms to maintain
life. These processes allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures,
and respond to their environments. Metabolism is usually divided into two categories.
Catabolism breaks down organic matter, for example to harvest energy in cellular
respiration. Anabolism, on the other hand, uses energy to construct components of cells
such as proteins and nucleic acids.

The chemical reactions of metabolism are organized into metabolic pathways, in which
one chemical is transformed into another by a sequence of enzymes. Enzymes are crucial
to metabolism because they allow organisms to drive desirable but thermodynamically
unfavorable reactions by coupling them to favorable ones, and because they act as
catalysts to allow these reactions to proceed quickly and efficiently. Enzymes also allow
the regulation of metabolic pathways in response to changes in the cell's environment or
signals from other cells.
The metabolism of an organism determines which substances it will find nutritious and
which it will find poisonous. For example, some prokaryotes use hydrogen sulfide as a
nutrient, yet this gas is poisonous to animals.[1] The speed of metabolism, the metabolic
rate, also influences how much food an organism will require.
A striking feature of metabolism is the similarity of the basic metabolic pathways
between even vastly different species. For example, the set of carboxylic acids that are
best known as the intermediates in the citric acid cycle are present in all organisms, being
found in species as diverse as the unicellular bacteria Escherichia coli and huge
multicellular organisms like elephants.[2] These striking similarities in metabolism are
most likely the result of the high efficiency of these pathways, and of their early
appearance in evolutionary history.[3][4]

Key biochemicals
Further information: Biomolecule, cell (biology) and biochemistry

Structure of a triacylglycerol lipid

Most of the structures that make up animals, plants and microbes are made from three
basic classes of molecule: amino acids, carbohydrates and lipids (often called fats). As
these molecules are vital for life, metabolism focuses on making these molecules, in the
construction of cells and tissues, or breaking them down and using them as a source of
energy, in the digestion and use of food. Many important biochemicals can be joined

together to make polymers such as DNA and proteins. These macromolecules are
essential parts of all living organisms. Some of the most common biological polymers are
listed in the table below.
Type of
Amino acids
Nucleic acids

Name of monomer
Examples of polymer
Name of polymer forms
Proteins (also called
Fibrous proteins and
Amino acids
globular proteins
Starch, glycogen and

Amino acids and proteins

Proteins are made of amino acids arranged in a linear chain and joined together by
peptide bonds. Many proteins are the enzymes that catalyze the chemical reactions in
metabolism. Other proteins have structural or mechanical functions, such as the proteins
that form the cytoskeleton, a system of scaffolding that maintains the cell shape.[5]
Proteins are also important in cell signaling, immune responses, cell adhesion, active
transport across membranes, and the cell cycle.[6]

Lipids are the most diverse group of biochemicals. Their main structural uses are as part
of biological membranes such as the cell membrane, or as a source of energy.[6] Lipids are
usually defined as hydrophobic or amphipathic biological molecules that will dissolve in
organic solvents such as benzene or chloroform.[7] The fats are a large group of
compounds that contain fatty acids and glycerol; a glycerol molecule attached to three
fatty acid esters is a triacylglyceride.[8] Several variations on this basic structure exist,
including alternate backbones such as sphingosine in the sphingolipids, and hydrophilic
groups such as phosphate in phospholipids. Steroids such as cholesterol are another major
class of lipids that are made in cells.[9]


Glucose can exist in both a straight-chain and ring form.

Carbohydrates are straight-chain aldehydes or ketones with many hydroxyl groups that
can exist as straight chains or rings. Carbohydrates are the most abundant biological
molecules, and fill numerous roles, such as the storage and transport of energy (starch,
glycogen) and structural components (cellulose in plants, chitin in animals).[6] The basic
carbohydrate units are called monosaccharides and include galactose, fructose, and most
importantly glucose. Monosaccharides can be linked together to form polysaccharides in
almost limitless ways.[10]

The polymers DNA and RNA are long chains of nucleotides. These molecules are critical
for the storage and use of genetic information, through the processes of transcription and
protein biosynthesis.[6] This information is protected by DNA repair mechanisms and
propagated through DNA replication. A few viruses have an RNA genome, for example
HIV, which uses reverse transcription to create a DNA template from its viral RNA
genome.[11] RNA in ribozymes such as spliceosomes and ribosomes is similar to enzymes
as it can catalyze chemical reactions. Individual nucleosides are made by attaching a
nucleobase to a ribose sugar. These bases are heterocyclic rings containing nitrogen,
classified as purines or pyrimidines. Nucleotides also act as coenzymes in metabolic
group transfer reactions.[12]


Structure of the coenzyme acetyl-CoA.The transferable acetyl group is bonded to the

sulfur atom at the extreme left.
Further information: Coenzyme
Metabolism involves a vast array of chemical reactions, but most fall under a few basic
types of reactions that involve the transfer of functional groups.[13] This common
chemistry allows cells to use a small set of metabolic intermediates to carry chemical
groups between different reactions.[12] These group-transfer intermediates are called
coenzymes. Each class of group-transfer reaction is carried out by a particular coenzyme,
which is the substrate for a set of enzymes that produce it, and a set of enzymes that
consume it. These coenzymes are therefore continuously being made, consumed and then

One central coenzyme is adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the universal energy currency of
cells. This nucleotide is used to transfer chemical energy between different chemical
reactions. There is only a small amount of ATP in cells, but as it is continuously
regenerated, the human body can use about its own weight in ATP per day.[14] ATP acts as
a bridge between catabolism and anabolism, with catabolic reactions generating ATP and
anabolic reactions consuming it. It also serves as a carrier of phosphate groups in
phosphorylation reactions.
A vitamin is an organic compound needed in small quantities that cannot be made in the
cells. In human nutrition, most vitamins function as coenzymes after modification; for
example, all water-soluble vitamins are phosphorylated or are coupled to nucleotides
when they are used in cells.[15] Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH), a derivative
of vitamin B3 (niacin), is an important coenzyme that acts as a hydrogen acceptor.
Hundreds of separate types of dehydrogenases remove electrons from their substrates and
reduce NAD+ into NADH. This reduced form of the coenzyme is then a substrate for any
of the reductases in the cell that need to reduce their substrates.[16] Nicotinamide adenine
dinucleotide exists in two related forms in the cell, NADH and NADPH. The
NAD+/NADH form is more important in catabolic reactions, while NADP+/NADPH is
used in anabolic reactions.

Structure of hemoglobin. The protein subunits are in red and blue, and the ironcontaining heme groups in green. From PDB 1GZX.

Minerals and cofactors

Further information: Metal metabolism and bioinorganic chemistry
Inorganic elements play critical roles in metabolism; some are abundant (e.g. sodium and
potassium) while others function at minute concentrations. About 99% of mammals' mass

are the elements carbon, nitrogen, calcium, sodium, chlorine, potassium, hydrogen,
phosphorus, oxygen and sulfur.[17] The organic compounds (proteins, lipids and
carbohydrates) contain the majority of the carbon and nitrogen and most of the oxygen
and hydrogen is present as water.[17]
The abundant inorganic elements act as ionic electrolytes. The most important ions are
sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, phosphate, and the organic ion
bicarbonate. The maintenance of precise gradients across cell membranes maintains
osmotic pressure and pH.[18] Ions are also critical for nerves and muscles, as action
potentials in these tissues are produced by the exchange of electrolytes between the
extracellular fluid and the cytosol.[19] Electrolytes enter and leave cells through proteins in
the cell membrane called ion channels. For example, muscle contraction depends upon
the movement of calcium, sodium and potassium through ion channels in the cell
membrane and T-tubules.[20]
The transition metals are usually present as trace elements in organisms, with zinc and
iron being most abundant.[21][22] These metals are used in some proteins as cofactors and
are essential for the activity of enzymes such as catalase and oxygen-carrier proteins such
as hemoglobin.[23] These cofactors are bound tightly to a specific protein; although
enzyme cofactors can be modified during catalysis, cofactors always return to their
original state after catalysis has taken place. The metal micronutrients are taken up into
organisms by specific transporters and bound to storage proteins such as ferritin or
metallothionein when not being used.[24][25]

Catabolism :-

(The breakdown of muscle tissues)

Further information: Catabolism

Catabolism is the set of metabolic processes that break down large molecules. These
include breaking down and oxidising food molecules. The purpose of the catabolic
reactions is to provide the energy and components needed by anabolic reactions. The
exact nature of these catabolic reactions differ from organism to organism and organisms
can be classified based on their sources of energy and carbon (their primary nutritional
groups), as shown in the table below. Organic molecules being used as a source of energy
in organotrophs, while lithotrophs use inorganic substrates and phototrophs capture
sunlight as chemical energy. However, all these different forms of metabolism depend on
redox reactions that involve the transfer of electrons from reduced donor molecules such
as organic molecules, water, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide or ferrous ions to acceptor
molecules such as oxygen, nitrate or sulfate.[26] In animals these reactions involve
complex organic molecules being broken down to simpler molecules, such as carbon
dioxide and water. In photosynthetic organisms such as plants and cyanobacteria, these
electron-transfer reactions do not release energy, but are used as a way of storing energy
absorbed from sunlight.[6]

Classification of organisms based on their metabolism

sunlight photoenergy
organoelectron compound
donor inorganic
heterocarbon compound
source inorganic
The most common set of catabolic reactions in animals can be separated into three main
stages. In the first, large organic molecules such as proteins, polysaccharides or lipids are
digested into their smaller components outside cells. Next, these smaller molecules are
taken up by cells and converted to yet smaller molecules, usually acetyl coenzyme A
(acetyl-CoA), which releases some energy. Finally, the acetyl group on the CoA is
oxidised to water and carbon dioxide in the citric acid cycle and electron transport chain,
releasing the energy that is stored by reducing the coenzyme nicotinamide adenine
dinucleotide (NAD+) into NADH.

Further information: Digestion and gastrointestinal tract
Macromolecules such as starch, cellulose or proteins cannot be rapidly taken up by cells
and need to be broken into their smaller units before they can be used in cell metabolism.
Several common classes of enzymes digest these polymers. These digestive enzymes
include proteases that digest proteins into amino acids, as well as glycoside hydrolases
that digest polysaccharides into monosaccharides.
Microbes simply secrete digestive enzymes into their surroundings,[27][28] while animals
only secrete these enzymes from specialized cells in their guts.[29] The amino acids or
sugars released by these extracellular enzymes are then pumped into cells by specific
active transport proteins.[30][31]

A simplified outline of the catabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats

Energy from organic compounds

Further information: Cellular respiration, fermentation, carbohydrate catabolism, fat
catabolism and protein catabolism
Carbohydrate catabolism is the breakdown of carbohydrates into smaller units.
Carbohydrates are usually taken into cells once they have been digested into
monosaccharides.[32] Once inside, the major route of breakdown is glycolysis, where
sugars such as glucose and fructose are converted into pyruvate and some ATP is
generated.[33] Pyruvate is an intermediate in several metabolic pathways, but the majority
is converted to acetyl-CoA and fed into the citric acid cycle. Although some more ATP is
generated in the citric acid cycle, the most important product is NADH, which is made
from NAD+ as the acetyl-CoA is oxidized. This oxidation releases carbon dioxide as a
waste product. In anaerobic conditions, glycolysis produces lactate, through the enzyme
lactate dehydrogenase re-oxidizing NADH to NAD+ for re-use in glycolysis. An
alternative route for glucose breakdown is the pentose phosphate pathway, which reduces
the coenzyme NADPH and produces pentose sugars such as ribose, the sugar component
of nucleic acids.
Fats are catabolised by hydrolysis to free fatty acids and glycerol. The glycerol enters
glycolysis and the fatty acids are broken down by beta oxidation to release acetyl-CoA,
which then is fed into the citric acid cycle. Fatty acids release more energy upon
oxidation than carbohydrates because carbohydrates contain more oxygen in their
Amino acids are either used to synthesize proteins and other biomolecules, or oxidized to
urea and carbon dioxide as a source of energy.[34] The oxidation pathway starts with the
removal of the amino group by a transaminase. The amino group is fed into the urea

cycle, leaving a deaminated carbon skeleton in the form of a keto acid. Several of these
keto acids are intermediates in the citric acid cycle, for example the deamination of
glutamate forms -ketoglutarate.[35] The glucogenic amino acids can also be converted
into glucose, through gluconeogenesis (discussed below).[36]

Energy transformations
Oxidative phosphorylation

Structure of ATP synthase. The proton channel and rotating stalk are shown in blue and
the synthase subunits in red.
Further information: Oxidative phosphorylation, chemiosmosis and mitochondrion
In oxidative phosphorylation, the electrons removed from food molecules in pathways
such as the citric acid cycle are transferred to oxygen and the energy released is used to
make ATP. This is done in eukaryotes by a series of proteins in the membranes of
mitochondria called the electron transport chain. In prokaryotes, these proteins are found
in the cell's inner membrane.[37] These proteins use the energy released from passing
electrons from reduced molecules like NADH onto oxygen to pump protons across a
Pumping protons out of the mitochondria creates a proton concentration difference across
the membrane and generates an electrochemical gradient.[39] This force drives protons
back into the mitochondrion through the base of an enzyme called ATP synthase. The

flow of protons makes the stalk subunit rotate, causing the active site of the synthase
domain to change shape and phosphorylate adenosine diphosphate - turning it into ATP.[14]

Energy from inorganic compounds

Further information: Microbial metabolism and nitrogen cycle
Chemolithotrophy is a type of metabolism found in prokaryotes where energy is obtained
from the oxidation of inorganic compounds. These organisms can use hydrogen,[40]
reduced sulfur compounds (such as sulfide, hydrogen sulfide and thiosulfate),[1] ferrous
iron (FeII)[41] or ammonia[42] as sources of reducing power and they gain energy from the
oxidation of these compounds with electron acceptors such as oxygen or nitrite.[43] These
microbial processes are important in global biogeochemical cycles such as acetogenesis,
nitrification and denitrification and are critical for soil fertility.[44][45]

Energy from light

Further information: Phototroph, photophosphorylation, chloroplast
The energy in sunlight is captured by plants, cyanobacteria, purple bacteria, green sulfur
bacteria and some protists. This process is often coupled to the conversion of carbon
dioxide into organic compounds, as part of photosynthesis, which is discussed below. The
energy capture and carbon fixation systems can however operate separately in
prokaryotes, as purple bacteria and green sulfur bacteria can use sunlight as a source of
energy, while switching between carbon fixation and the fermentation of organic
In many organisms the capture of solar energy is similar in principle to oxidative
phosphorylation, as it involves energy being stored as a proton concentration gradient and
this proton motive force then driving ATP synthesis.[14] The electrons needed to drive this
electron transport chain come from light-gathering proteins called photosynthetic reaction
centres or rhodopsins. Reaction centers are classed into two types depending on the type
of photosynthetic pigment present, with most photosynthetic bacteria only having one
type, while plants and cyanobacteria have two.[48]
In plants, algae, and cyanobateria, photosystem II uses light energy to remove electrons
from water, releasing oxygen as a waste product. The electrons then flow to the
cytochrome b6f complex, which uses their energy to pump protons across the thylakoid
membrane in the chloroplast.[6] These protons move back through the membrane as they
drive the ATP synthase, as before. The electrons then flow through photosystem I and can
then either be used to reduce the coenzyme NADP+, for use in the Calvin cycle which is
discussed below, or recycled for further ATP generation.[49]

(Repairing of muscle tissues)
Anabolism is the set of constructive metabolic processes where the energy released by
catabolism is used to synthesize complex molecules. In general, the complex molecules
that make up cellular structures are constructed step-by-step from small and simple
precursors. Anabolism involves three basic stages. Firstly, the production of precursors
such as amino acids, monosaccharides, isoprenoids and nucleotides, secondly, their
activation into reactive forms using energy from ATP, and thirdly, the assembly of these
precursors into complex molecules such as proteins, polysaccharides, lipids and nucleic
Organisms differ in how many of the molecules in their cells they can construct for
themselves. Autotrophs such as plants can construct the complex organic molecules in
cells such as polysaccharides and proteins from simple molecules like carbon dioxide and
water. Heterotrophs, on the other hand, require a source of more complex substances,
such as monosaccharides and amino acids, to produce these complex molecules.
Organisms can be further classified by ultimate source of their energy: photoautotrophs
and photoheterotrophs obtain energy from light, whereas chemoautotrophs and
chemoheterotrophs obtain energy from inorganic oxidation reactions.

Carbon fixation
Further information: Photosynthesis, carbon fixation and chemosynthesis

Plant cells (bounded by purple walls) filled with chloroplasts (green), which are the site
of photosynthesis
Photosynthesis is the synthesis of carbohydrates from sunlight and carbon dioxide (CO2).
In plants, cyanobacteria and algae, oxygenic photosynthesis splits water, with oxygen
produced as a waste product. This process uses the ATP and NADPH produced by the
photosynthetic reaction centres, as described above, to convert CO2 into glycerate 3phosphate, which can then be converted into glucose. This carbon-fixation reaction is

carried out by the enzyme RuBisCO as part of the Calvin Benson cycle.[50] Three types
of photosynthesis occur in plants, C3 carbon fixation, C4 carbon fixation and CAM
photosynthesis. These differ by the route that carbon dioxide takes to the Calvin cycle,
with C3 plants fixing CO2 directly, while C4 and CAM photosynthesis incorporate the
CO2 into other compounds first, as adaptations to deal with intense sunlight and dry
In photosynthetic prokaryotes the mechanisms of carbon fixation are more diverse. Here,
carbon dioxide can be fixed by the Calvin Benson cycle, a reversed citric acid cycle,[52]
or the carboxylation of acetyl-CoA.[53][54] Prokaryotic chemoautotrophs also fix CO2
through the Calvin Benson cycle, but use energy from inorganic compounds to drive
the reaction.[55]

Carbohydrates and glycans

Further information: Gluconeogenesis, glyoxylate cycle, glycogenesis and glycosylation
In carbohydrate anabolism, simple organic acids can be converted into monosaccharides
such as glucose and then used to assemble polysaccharides such as starch. The generation
of glucose from compounds like pyruvate, lactate, glycerol, glycerate 3-phosphate and
amino acids is called gluconeogenesis. Gluconeogenesis converts pyruvate to glucose-6phosphate through a series of intermediates, many of which are shared with glycolysis.[33]
However, this pathway is not simply glycolysis run in reverse, as several steps are
catalyzed by non-glycolytic enzymes. This is important as it allows the formation and
breakdown of glucose to be regulated separately and prevents both pathways from
running simultaneously in a futile cycle.[56][57]
Although fat is a common way of storing energy, in vertebrates such as humans the fatty
acids in these stores cannot be converted to glucose through gluconeogenesis as these
organisms cannot convert acetyl-CoA into pyruvate; plants do, but animals do not, have
the necessary enzymatic machinery.[58] As a result, after long-term starvation, vertebrates
need to produce ketone bodies from fatty acids to replace glucose in tissues such as the
brain that cannot metabolize fatty acids.[59] In other organisms such as plants and bacteria,
this metabolic problem is solved using the glyoxylate cycle, which bypasses the
decarboxylation step in the citric acid cycle and allows the transformation of acetyl-CoA
to oxaloacetate, where it can be used for the production of glucose.[58][60]
Polysaccharides and glycans are made by the sequential addition of monosaccharides by
glycosyltransferase from a reactive sugar-phosphate donor such as uridine diphosphate
glucose (UDP-glucose) to an acceptor hydroxyl group on the growing polysaccharide. As
any of the hydroxyl groups on the ring of the substrate can be acceptors, the
polysaccharides produced can have straight or branched structures.[61] The
polysaccharides produced can have structural or metabolic functions themselves, or be
transferred to lipids and proteins by enzymes called oligosaccharyltransferases.[62][63]

Fatty acids, isoprenoids and steroids

Further information: Fatty acid synthesis, steroid metabolism

Simplified version of the steroid synthesis pathway with the intermediates isopentenyl
pyrophosphate (IPP), dimethylallyl pyrophosphate (DMAPP), geranyl pyrophosphate
(GPP) and squalene shown. Some intermediates are omitted for clarity.
Fatty acids are made by fatty acid synthases that polymerize and then reduce acetyl-CoA
units. The acyl chains in the fatty acids are extended by a cycle of reactions that add the
actyl group, reduce it to an alcohol, dehydrate it to an alkene group and then reduce it
again to an alkane group. The enzymes of fatty acid biosynthesis are divided into two
groups, in animals and fungi all these fatty acid synthase reactions are carried out by a
single multifunctional type I protein,[64] while in plant plastids and bacteria separate type
II enzymes perform each step in the pathway.[65][66]
Terpenes and isoprenoids are a large class of lipids that include the carotenoids and form
the largest class of plant natural products.[67] These compounds are made by the assembly
and modification of isoprene units donated from the reactive precursors isopentenyl
pyrophosphate and dimethylallyl pyrophosphate.[68] These precursors can be made in
different ways. In animals and archaea, the mevalonate pathway produces these
compounds from acetyl-CoA,[69] while in plants and bacteria the non-mevalonate pathway
uses pyruvate and glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate as substrates.[68][70] One important reaction
that uses these activated isoprene donors is steroid biosynthesis. Here, the isoprene units
are joined together to make squalene and then folded up and formed into a set of rings to
make lanosterol.[71] Lanosterol can then be converted into other steroids such as
cholesterol and ergosterol.[71][72]

Further information: Protein biosynthesis, amino acid synthesis
Organisms vary in their ability to synthesize the 20 common amino acids. Most bacteria
and plants can synthesize all twenty, but mammals can synthesize only the ten
nonessential amino acids.[6] Thus, the essential amino acids must be obtained from food.
All amino acids are synthesized from intermediates in glycolysis, the citric acid cycle, or
the pentose phosphate pathway. Nitrogen is provided by glutamate and glutamine. Amino
acid synthesis depends on the formation of the appropriate alpha-keto acid, which is then
transaminated to form an amino acid.[73]
Amino acids are made into proteins by being joined together in a chain by peptide bonds.
Each different protein has a unique sequence of amino acid residues: this is its primary
structure. Just as the letters of the alphabet can be combined to form an almost endless
variety of words, amino acids can be linked in varying sequences to form a huge variety
of proteins. Proteins are made from amino acids that have been activated by attachment
to a transfer RNA molecule through an ester bond. This aminoacyl-tRNA precursor is
produced in an ATP-dependent reaction carried out by an aminoacyl tRNA synthetase.[74]
This aminoacyl-tRNA is then a substrate for the ribosome, which joins the amino acid
onto the elongating protein chain, using the sequence information in a messenger RNA.

Nucleotide synthesis and salvage

Further information: Nucleotide salvage, pyrimidine biosynthesis, and purine metabolism
Nucleotides are made from amino acids, carbon dioxide and formic acid in pathways that
require large amounts of metabolic energy.[76] Consequently, most organisms have
efficient systems to salvage preformed nucleotides.[76][77] Purines are synthesized as
nucleosides (bases attached to ribose). Both adenine and guanine are made from the
precursor nucleoside inosine monophosphate, which is synthesized using atoms from the
amino acids glycine, glutamine, and aspartic acid, as well as formate transferred from the
coenzyme tetrahydrofolate. Pyrimidines, on the other hand, are synthesized from the base
orotate, which is formed from glutamine and aspartate.[78]

Xenobiotics and redox metabolism

Further information: Xenobiotic metabolism, drug metabolism and antioxidants
All organisms are constantly exposed to compounds that they cannot use as foods and
would be harmful if they accumulated in cells, as they have no metabolic function. These
potentially damaging compounds are called xenobiotics.[79] Xenobiotics such as synthetic
drugs, natural poisons and antibiotics are detoxified by a set of xenobiotic-metabolizing
enzymes. In humans, these include cytochrome P450 oxidases,[80] UDPglucuronosyltransferases,[81] and glutathione S-transferases.[82] This system of enzymes

acts in three stages to firstly oxidize the xenobiotic (phase I) and then conjugate watersoluble groups onto the molecule (phase II). The modified water-soluble xenobiotic can
then be pumped out of cells and in multicellular organisms may be further metabolized
before being excreted (phase III). In ecology, these reactions are particularly important in
microbial biodegradation of pollutants and the bioremediation of contaminated land and
oil spills.[83] Many of these microbial reactions are shared with multicellular organisms,
but due to the incredible diversity of types of microbes these organisms are able to deal
with a far wider range of xenobiotics than multicellular organisms, and can degrade even
persistent organic pollutants such as organochloride compounds.[84]
A related problem for aerobic organisms is oxidative stress.[85] Here, processes including
oxidative phosphorylation and the formation of disulfide bonds during protein folding
produce reactive oxygen species such as hydrogen peroxide.[86] These damaging oxidants
are removed by antioxidant metabolites such as glutathione and enzymes such as
catalases and peroxidases.[87][88]

Thermodynamics of living organisms

Further information: Biological thermodynamics
Living organisms must obey the laws of thermodynamics, which describe the transfer of
heat and work. The second law of thermodynamics states that in any closed system, the
amount of entropy (disorder) will tend to increase. Although living organisms' amazing
complexity appears to contradict this law, life is possible as all organisms are open
systems that exchange matter and energy with their surroundings. Thus living systems are
not in equilibrium, but instead are dissipative systems that maintain their state of high
complexity by causing a larger increase in the entropy of their environments.[89] The
metabolism of a cell achieves this by coupling the spontaneous processes of catabolism to
the non-spontaneous processes of anabolism. In thermodynamic terms, metabolism
maintains order by creating disorder.[90]

Regulation and control

Further information: Metabolic pathway, metabolic control analysis, hormone, regulatory
enzymes, and cell signaling
As the environments of most organisms are constantly changing, the reactions of
metabolism must be finely regulated to maintain a constant set of conditions within cells,
a condition called homeostasis.[91][92] Metabolic regulation also allows organisms to
respond to signals and interact actively with their environments.[93] Two closely linked
concepts are important for understanding how metabolic pathways are controlled. Firstly,
the regulation of an enzyme in a pathway is how its activity is increased and decreased in
response to signals. Secondly, the control exerted by this enzyme is the effect that these
changes in its activity have on the overall rate of the pathway (the flux through the
pathway).[94] For example, an enzyme may show large changes in activity (i.e. it is highly

regulated) but if these changes have little effect on the flux of a metabolic pathway, then
this enzyme is not involved in the control of the pathway.[95]

Effect of insulin on glucose uptake and metabolism. Insulin binds to its receptor (1)
which in turn starts many protein activation cascades (2). These include: translocation of
Glut-4 transporter to the plasma membrane and influx of glucose (3), glycogen synthesis
(4), glycolysis (5) and fatty acid synthesis (6).
There are multiple levels of metabolic regulation. In intrinsic regulation, the metabolic
pathway self-regulates to respond to changes in the levels of substrates or products; for
example, a decrease in the amount of product can increase the flux through the pathway
to compensate.[94] This type of regulation often involves allosteric regulation of the
activities of multiple enzymes in the pathway.[96] Extrinsic control involves a cell in a
multicellular organism changing its metabolism in response to signals from other cells.
These signals are usually in the form of soluble messengers such as hormones and growth
factors and are detected by specific receptors on the cell surface.[97] These signals are then
transmitted inside the cell by second messenger systems that often involved the
phosphorylation of proteins.[98]
A very well understood example of extrinsic control is the regulation of glucose
metabolism by the hormone insulin.[99] Insulin is produced in response to rises in blood
glucose levels. Binding of the hormone to insulin receptors on cells then activates a
cascade of protein kinases that cause the cells to take up glucose and convert it into
storage molecules such as fatty acids and glycogen.[100] The metabolism of glycogen is
controlled by activity of phosphorylase, the enzyme that breaks down glycogen, and
glycogen synthase, the enzyme that makes it. These enzymes are regulated in a reciprocal
fashion, with phosphorylation inhibiting glycogen synthase, but activating phosphorylase.
Insulin causes glycogen synthesis by activating protein phosphatases and producing a
decrease in the phosphorylation of these enzymes.[101]

Further information: Molecular evolution and phylogenetics

Evolutionary tree showing the common ancestry of organisms from all three domains of
life. Bacteria are colored blue, eukaryotes red, and archaea green. Relative positions of
some of the phyla included are shown around the tree.
The central pathways of metabolism described above, such as glycolysis and the citric
acid cycle, are present in all three domains of living things and were present in the last
universal ancestor.[2][102] This universal ancestral cell was prokaryotic and probably a
methanogen that had extensive amino acid, nucleotide, carbohydrate and lipid
metabolism.[103][104] The retention of these ancient pathways during later evolution may be
the result of these reactions being an optimal solution to their particular metabolic
problems, with pathways such as glycolysis and the citric acid cycle producing their end
products highly efficiently and in a minimal number of steps.[3][4] The first pathways of
enzyme-based metabolism may have been parts of purine nucleotide metabolism, with
previous metabolic pathways being part of the ancient RNA world.[105]
Many models have been proposed to describe the mechanisms by which novel metabolic
pathways evolve. These include the sequential addition of novel enzymes to a short
ancestral pathway, the duplication and then divergence of entire pathways as well as the
recruitment of pre-existing enzymes and their assembly into a novel reaction pathway.[106]
The relative importance of these mechanisms is unclear, but genomic studies have shown
that enzymes in a pathway are likely to have a shared ancestry, suggesting that many
pathways have evolved in a step-by-step fashion with novel functions being created from
pre-existing steps in the pathway.[107] An alternative model comes from studies that trace
the evolution of proteins' structures in metabolic networks, this has suggested that
enzymes are pervasively recruited, borrowing enzymes to perform similar functions in
different metabolic pathways (evident in the MANET database)[108] These recruitment
processes result in an evolutionary enzymatic mosaic.[109] A third possibility is that some
parts of metabolism might exist as "modules" that can be reused in different pathways
and perform similar functions on different molecules.[110]

As well as the evolution of new metabolic pathways, evolution can also cause the loss of
metabolic functions. For example, in some parasites metabolic processes that are not
essential for survival are lost and preformed amino acids, nucleotides and carbohydrates
may instead be scavenged from the host.[111] Similar reduced metabolic capabilities are
seen in endosymbiotic organisms.[112]

Investigation and manipulation

Further information: Protein methods, proteomics, metabolomics and metabolic network

Metabolic network of the Arabidopsis thaliana citric acid cycle. Enzymes and
metabolites are shown as red squares and the interactions between them as black lines.
Classically, metabolism is studied by a reductionist approach that focuses on a single
metabolic pathway. Particularly valuable is the use of radioactive tracers at the wholeorganism, tissue and cellular levels, which define the paths from precursors to final
products by identifying radioactively labelled intermediates and products.[113] The
enzymes that catalyze these chemical reactions can then be purified and their kinetics and
responses to inhibitors investigated. A parallel approach is to identify the small molecules
in a cell or tissue; the complete set of these molecules is called the metabolome. Overall,
these studies give a good view of the structure and function of simple metabolic
pathways, but are inadequate when applied to more complex systems such as the
metabolism of a complete cell.[114]
An idea of the complexity of the metabolic networks in cells that contain thousands of
different enzymes is given by the figure showing the interactions between just 43 proteins
and 40 metabolites to the right: the sequences of genomes provide lists containing
anything up to 45,000 genes.[115] However, it is now possible to use this genomic data to

reconstruct complete networks of biochemical reactions and produce more holistic

mathematical models that may explain and predict their behavior.[116] These models are
especially powerful when used to integrate the pathway and metabolite data obtained
through classical methods with data on gene expression from proteomic and DNA
microarray studies.[117] Using these techniques, a model of human metabolism has now
been produced, which will guide future drug discovery and biochemical research.[118]
These models are now being used in network analysis, to classify human diseases into
groups that share common proteins or metabolites.[119][120]
A major technological application of this information is metabolic engineering. Here,
organisms such as yeast, plants or bacteria are genetically modified to make them more
useful in biotechnology and aid the production of drugs such as antibiotics or industrial
chemicals such as 1,3-propanediol and shikimic acid.[121] These genetic modifications
usually aim to reduce the amount of energy used to produce the product, increase yields
and reduce the production of wastes.[122]

Further information: History of biochemistry and history of molecular biology

Santorio Santorio in his steelyard balance, from Ars de statica medecina, first published
The term metabolism is derived from the Greek "Metabolismos" for
"change", or "overthrow".[123] The history of the scientific study of metabolism spans
several centuries and has moved from examining whole animals in early studies, to
examining individual metabolic reactions in modern biochemistry. The concept of
metabolism dates back to Ibn al-Nafis (1213-1288), who stated that "the body and its
parts are in a continuous state of dissolution and nourishment, so they are inevitably
undergoing permanent change."[124] The first controlled experiments in human
metabolism were published by Santorio Santorio in 1614 in his book Ars de statica
medecina.[125] He described how he weighed himself before and after eating, sleep,
working, sex, fasting, drinking, and excreting. He found that most of the food he took in
was lost through what he called "insensible perspiration".

In these early studies, the mechanisms of these metabolic processes had not been
identified and a vital force was thought to animate living tissue.[126] In the 19th century,
when studying the fermentation of sugar to alcohol by yeast, Louis Pasteur concluded
that fermentation was catalyzed by substances within the yeast cells he called "ferments".
He wrote that "alcoholic fermentation is an act correlated with the life and organization of
the yeast cells, not with the death or putrefaction of the cells."[127] This discovery, along
with the publication by Friedrich Whler in 1828 of the chemical synthesis of urea,[128]
proved that the organic compounds and chemical reactions found in cells were no
different in principle than any other part of chemistry.
It was the discovery of enzymes at the beginning of the 20th century by Eduard Buchner
that separated the study of the chemical reactions of metabolism from the biological
study of cells, and marked the beginnings of biochemistry.[129] The mass of biochemical
knowledge grew rapidly throughout the early 20th century. One of the most prolific of
these modern biochemists was Hans Krebs who made huge contributions to the study of
metabolism.[130] He discovered the urea cycle and later, working with Hans Kornberg, the
citric acid cycle and the glyoxylate cycle.[131][60] Modern biochemical research has been
greatly aided by the development of new techniques such as chromatography, X-ray
diffraction, NMR spectroscopy, radioisotopic labelling, electron microscopy and
molecular dynamics simulations. These techniques have allowed the discovery and
detailed analysis of the many molecules and metabolic pathways in cells.

Muscle Volumizing = Muscle Anabolism

August 27, 2008

It has been known for quite some time that cell swelling provokes a biosynthetic
response. That is, giving cells an agent that makes them take up water from their
surroundings (to the point where they actually inflate with water) also causes them
to increase their production of new proteins as well as to retard the degradation of
existing proteins - an overall anabolic response.
Most importantly for the purposes of this blog, creatine monohydrate is one of the
most effective swelling agents that stimulates cell anabolism. In fact, the most
widely accepted side effect attributed to creatine supplementation is a process known
as muscle volumizing; muscles increasing in volume (size) because of creatine
Learn which of creatines side effects have been actually validated by scientific study

at the following link:
Muscle volumizing is nothing more than individual muscle cells swelling with water
that when translated to our entire muscle mass make us look larger and more
pumped. Downstream, muscle volumization will contribute to a global anabolic
response. In brief, muscle volumizing increases muscle size (volume) and provokes a
broad anabolic response.
Off hand, I can image a few mechanisms that will enable a cell to respond in an
anabolic fashion to an increase in cell volume:
First, cell inflation might directly serve as a mechanical cue that stimulates cellular
anabolism. No one would disagree with the notion that mechanical stimulation
promotes muscle growth; after all, what is exercise? Explicitly how mechanical
stimuli are translated into a biosynthetic response, however, will be the subject of a
subsequent post.
Alternatively, the cell might interpret an increase in cell volume as a natural form of
growth. It might then respond by increasing its production of new proteins as well as
slowing the destruction of old proteins to accommodate the expansion of its physical
boundaries .
In reality, it is very difficult to get into the psyche of a cell and understand what it
was really thinking at any point in time. It is likely that a combination of several
processes all contribute to the cellular anabolic response to cell swelling.
Increased cell hydration, however, cannot account for all of creatines anabolic
attributes, since other agents that also induce cell swelling (to a comparable extent)
do not exert such a strong protein-accumulating effect. Certainly, creatine is doing
other things within the muscle cell that adds to its registered anabolic effect. These
will be the topic of subsequent posts.
Visit the Creatine Information Center for more information about creatine and other
popular nutritional supplements:

CFM whey protein isolate is the cleanest form of whey protein. Isolation of the whey,
using cross-flow microfiltration is the next processing step after concentration. It has
a higher protein per serving ratio than whey concentrate . Whey isolates yield over
90 grams of protein per 100 grams of whey. It is virtually fat and lactose free. CFM
Whey isolate yields a higher amount of BCAA, half of which come from the essential
amino acids. Extremely digestible with a good taste.
Whey protein isolate can be manufactured using different methods. The Protein
Factory carries two different whey isolate proteins. Thus we feel the need to inform
our customers of each different method. Cross-Flow Microfiltration is a natural, high
tech manufacturing process that uses ceramic filters to remove the fat, lactose, and
other unwanted materials, hence isolating the protein. The protein is NOT subjected
to chemicals, therefore protein is left unharmed and in its original state. This leads to
added benefits over ion-exchange whey isolate, here are a few.
1. Cross-flow microfiltration possesses more calcium and less sodium than ionexchange. Thus, women and athletes on performance enhancement drugs might
want to consider cross-flow microfiltration as their choice for obvious reasons.
Concentrate (Whey)
Derived from high quality mozzarella cheese, instantized whey protein concentrate
(WPC) is 80% protein. Instantized WPC 80% is manufactured from fresh, sweet dairy
whey that is concentrated and spray dried. The product is a homogenous, free
flowing, semi-hygroscopic powder with a clean, bland flavor. The addition of lecithin
in the instantization process improves the dispersibility of the product.
WPC is the most commonly used source of whey protein, used by over 99.5% of
supplement companies. WPC is higher in fat, carbs, and lactose than WPI, which
results in less assimilation by the stomach and intestines. Therefore, many users of
WPC report bloating and gas with supplementation. Many also consider WPC as the
economical source of whey protein and great for athletes with low budgets or those
who require high amounts of protein per day. WPC is typically used by college, high
school, and beginner to intermediate bodybuilders.

Whey Protein vs. Casein Protein

Casein protein
When it comes to protein supplements, the most commonly purchased and talked about is
whey protein. Whey protein is the most rapidly digestible protein and as such is

commonly used by athletes and bodybuilders post workout. However, although whey
protein is great for rapid delivery to refuel your muscle after exercise, what do you do if
you want something that digests more slowly?
The reason we discuss slow versus rapid digestions is two-fold. First, rapid digestions
mean that the protein is delivered immediately to your starving muscles so that they can
repair and rebuild. The caveat to this is that rapidly digested proteins also dont last very
long and as a result they are consumed within hours if not minutes. In some cases, it is
important to fuel your body more slowly so that it can continually feed. One such
example would be overnight or during long trips when you dont have time to eat often.
Another example could be in the morning, when you might not have time for a full
breakfast but dont want to be starving by 10:00. Whey protein works great otherwise,
but it is not optimal in this circumstance.
Casein protein is underrated for this very reason, because it is digested slowly so that
your muscles can feed throughout an entire day or evening. Like whey, casein is a dairy
product, but it is composed of a different part of a cows milk. Actually, 80% of cows
milk is casein, and therefore it is not only readily available, but can also be cheaper than
whey in some cases.
Casein protein has a high dose of amino acids, including branch chain amino acids
(BCAAs) and is the best option when it comes to slow digesting proteins. It sits in the
gut and slowly releases protein and amino acids over time so that your body stays full and
provides a constant source of fuel to your muscles. As stated before, one of the best times
to supplement with casein is before bed or in the morning. Bodybuilders do this often so
that they are building muscle while they sleep.
When left without protein, the body will feed itself on your muscle, which is far from
optimal. The goal is to provide your body with enough protein and amino acids so that it
feeds on carbohydrates and fat, resulting in a leaner and more muscular body. When used
in conjunction with whey protein, casein helps round out your daily supplement regimen
and caps off the perfect diet.
There are a variety of great casein proteins, but you are far better off buying online than
you are buying in a local nutrition or health food store. Buying in bulk can often save you
as much as 50%, this is important when you might buy many supplements on a monthly
basis. Casein isnt usually as beneficial as whey protein after a workout, but if you want
to experiment you can combine the two for the perfect slow and fast blend. I like to mix
them together to make sure that my body can absorb as much protein throughout the day
as possible.
Just because people dont talk about casein protein doesnt mean that it doesnt have its
place. The truth is that most dont talk about it because they simply dont know about it.
Help educate your friends and let them know how important a casein supplement can be
for their bodybuilding or exercise routine. Regardless of your style, casein will benefit

you tremendously. It can be found in many flavors and comes in powder form for easy
mixing and consumption

What is the difference between Whey protein Isolate and Whey

Protein Concentrate?
This is a very commonly asked question and also an important one. Many whey powders are
made up of either whey protein isolate, concentrate or a mixture of the two and it is important
to have an understanding of the two.
The main difference is that whey protein Isolate is processed further in order to remove the fat
and lactose. This provides a purer protein; in fact over 90% of whey protein isolate is protein
(by weight.) This is beneficial as lower levels of fat are a plus for the diets of bodybuilders and
when whey is being used for weight loss. Lower lactose levels are also a plus for those who
are lactose intolerant and also reduce the chance of a bloated feeling that can accompany
some protein supplements.
It is not all positive for Whey Protein Isolate however. Because of its higher protein ratio,
isolate comes generally at a higher retail price. Biologically, the filtering process isolate
undertakes removes some of the alpha lactoglobulins and lactoferrins that are important
immune boosters.
Whey Concentrate has lower protein availability, anything from 29% up to 89% in some
cases. Concentrate is high in levels of lactose and anyone suffering from lactose intolerance
needs to be very cautious. Concentrate however can cost less so can be better depending on
what your budget is. Whey Concentrate also is low in levels of cholesterol, which is another
advantage in consideration to diets.
Overall, dietary and medical conditions need to be taken into account when selecting the type
of whey protein you choose. Isolate may have the slight edge in terms of biological value and
will give you more value for money if you are requiring a higher dosage per serving, as you
will get more servings from your product.

Whey Protein Isolate Vs Whey Protein

With so much marketing hype surrounding protein powders, it is easy to see why people
would get confused in choosing the best protein shake for muscle growth. There are two
main types of whey protein on the market, whey protein concentrate and whey protein
isolate. In this article I will hopefully show you the differences between the two and help
you decide which one is best for you.
Whey protein is a dairy protein produced as a by product of cheese making. Raw whey is
filtered and processed to remove as much lactose and fat as possible. The main difference
between whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate is that the isolate is more
pure, containing more protein, less lactose and less fat than whey protein concentrate.
Whey protein isolate usually contains around 90-94% protein while whey protein
concentrate typically has around 70-85% protein. On paper you would assume that whey
protein isolate is much better than concentrate but considering the price difference I do

not think that is necessarily true. Just because the whey protein isolate is more pure, it
does not mean that it will necessarily produce much more muscle growth. During the
filtration process whey protein actually isolate loses some of the growth and immune
boosting protein subfractions. If you are lactose intolerant then isolate would be a better
choice but for everyone else, the purity of the protein does not really justify the additional
cost. When building muscle you have to consider that you will need to consume a huge
amount of whey protein over the course of the month and the difference in cost between
whey protein concentrate and isolate really adds up. Even though I get most of my
protein from food sources, I still consume around 5kg of whey protein per month so I
choose to use concentrate as a matter of financial necessity.
From experience I really dont feel that there is very much difference between the two
types of whey protein and I would advise you to buy the cheapest and best tasting protein
powder. The only time I would really recommend isolate over concentrate is if you are
lactose intolerant. Around 20% of the worlds population are lactose intolerant and for
those people whey protein isolate may cause you less intestinal discomfort than
concentrate. Although whey protein concentrate contains less protein than isolate in terms
of percentages it actually contains a lot of interesting compounds not found in whey
isolates. Whey protein concentrates contain more growth factors like IGF-1 along with
higher levels of Conjugated Linoleic Acid, immunoglobins and lactoferrin. Studies are
not conclusive but generally suggest that these compounds may have many health
benefits for athletes and bodybuilders.
When buying any supplement, you always have to consider that people are trying to
make money and a lot of marketing goes into selling sports supplements. Be careful when
reading promotional literature from sports supplement companies who tell you that you
their protein powder is somehow much more effective than any other. In truth all protein
powders are pretty much the same and you should find one that best suits your budget
and tastes. Protein is protein at the end of the day and most of the supplement companies
source their whey protein from the same places anyway. As long as you are getting
enough protein from whole foods and supplements then the difference between protein
powders starts to get pretty insignificant.
If you pick up any muscle magazines you will hear top bodybuilders telling you that they
only use one type of protein power and that somehow it is streets ahead of everything else
on the market. The thing you have to bear in mind is that top bodybuilders are paid by
supplement companies to tell you this and in truth they rely far more heavily on whole
foods than supplements. Top bodybuilders consume a fair bit of whey, but the majority of
their protein comes from food sources like steak, chicken and fish. Never believe any
outrageous statements about a protein powder when the person making the claim is being
paid big money to endorse them.
Considering the difference in cost, most people would be better advised to just stick to
using whey protein concentrate unless lactose intolerance is an issue. Whey protein
concentrate is much cheaper and contains more grow factors than whey protein isolate.
Dont get fooled into thinking you need to pay big money for your whey protein

supplements. In general they are all pretty similar but protein companies will use any
tricks they can to bump up the price of their supplements. I would recommend buying all
your whey protein in bulk because it will probably save you a small fortune. If you live in
the UK then has a great range of bulk high quality protein powders at
massive discounts. If you use a lot of protein powder then buying in bulk will save you a
small fortune. Dont get duped into thinking that whey protein concentrate is inferior to
whey protein isolate because at the end of the day there is not really much difference
between the two types of protein.
Concentrate vs. Isolate
A processed whey protein product will generally fall in one of two categories: Whey Protein
Concentrate (WPC) or Whey Protein Isolate (WPI). Which one will work better for you? Isolatehands down. If you are a serious athlete or bodybuilder, a concentrate will not deliver what you
need to maintain your competitive edge.
For one thing, WPIs have a higher protein-per-serving ratio than WPCs. For every 100 grams of
whey, isolate processing yields over 90 grams of protein, whereas concentrate processing only
yields between 34 and 80 grams. In other words, WPIs are over 90 percent ultra-pure protein, with
minimal lactose content and virtually no fat! Concentrates, on the other hand, max out at 80
percent protein, and that's with pretty high levels of lactose and fat left over from the original milk
product.(13) Even with ultra-filtration processing-used to reduce a concentrate's lactose and fat
content-a WPC can't come close to a WPI's pure protein content.
The other difference between WPCs and WPIs is their level of protein "biological activity," as
determined by their individual processing techniques. Research has found that only whey proteins in
their natural, undenatured state have the ability to perform their characteristic biological functions.
(14) And so, much of what makes whey such a phenomenal source of protein, such as immune
boosting and anti-cancer properties, is easily forsaken if the product is not processed very
delicately. For full biological activity, whey must be processed under low temperature and/or low
acid conditions-a common arrangement for WPI processing but less so for concentrates.

Whey protein isolate and whey protein powder concentrate is an inquiry very
frequently asked. This question without a doubt is one that has crossed the minds of many aspiring weight lifters
when staring at the shelves of various kinds of whey protein powder available in the health food supermarket.
Which whey protein is the one for you; concentrate or isolate?
The most significant difference between the two is that Isolate powder is processed at deeper levels so that the
fat and lactose are detached. This more complicated technique provides a better quality of protein. The fact is
that over 90% of whey protein powder isolate is protein calculated by weight.
This is precious as smaller levels of fat are an advantage for the standard daily diet of bodybuilders and when
whey is utilized for the principle of losing mass.
A low level in lactose levels are also a benefit for individuals who are lactose intolerant and can also reduce the
chance of that bloated feeling that can go along with some protein compounds. There are some side effects to
using whey protein isolate nonetheless.
Since it is high in protein ratio, isolate powder requires you to pay a higher retail price. The filtering procedure
isolate goes through is significantly more intensive to remove the components that are known as alpha
lactoglobulins and lactoferrins which is significant immune boosters.

Whey concentrate has smaller protein available ad this can range from anywhere between 29% all the way up to
89% in some brands. Concentrate is higher in levels of lactose so anyone who suffers from lactose intolerance
should to be very cautious.
Whey protein concentrate powder does have an advantage because it cost less so this can be a better substitute
depending on what your financial plan is. Whey concentrate protein powder also contains small levels of
cholesterol, which is another benefit to think about for your diet.
On the whole, dietary and medical circumstances call for action to be taken into consideration when choosing the
type of whey protein powder you choose.
Isolate whey powder may have the slight edge in regards to the biological value (BV) and will make available to
you with more value for your money if you are needing a higher dosage per serving of whey protein.

What is Micellar Casein protein?

Micellar Casein is a slow digesting and rich protein source that continues to feed your muscles
long after whey proteins have dropped off. Studies have shown Micellar Casein protein to sustain
steady amino acid elevations for an incredible 7 hours. It was shown to offer a strong anticatabolic effect not noticed with fast digesting whey protein, and actually fostered a much more
positive overall net protein balance in comparison.

How is Micellar Casein protein made?

Micellar casein is the natural, undenatured form of casein found in milk. It is separated from milk
by means of ultrafiltration, without the use of chemicals, which increases the amount of bioactive
milk peptides that support immune function as well as enhance muscle growth.

Micellar Casein Protein vs. Whey protein.

Whey is a fast digesting form of protein and will increase protein synthesis to a very high degree,
higher then casein protein. But scientists are now recognizing that casein protein plays a much
more important role in preventing muscle breakdown. Casein is extremely slow digesting,
releasing protein and amino acids slowly which prevents muscle catabolism over a sustained
period of 7 hours.
Micellar Casein is not designed to be used instead of whey, its designed to be used with it. Whey
and casein are completely different products and will help you build and maintain muscle in
different ways.

How you should use Casein protein.

As previously mentioned, micellar casein is best used in conjunction with whey. Because casein
is slow digesting, its not suitable for post workout. For post workout shakes, stick to whey. The
best time to use casein protein is before bed and during the day. Casein is known as night time
protein, as many strength athletes and bodybuilders use it before bed. Casein is also great for
meal replacements, where it can be mixed with complex carbs and essential oils for a nutritious

Importance of slow release protein at night.

Bodybuilders know the importance of nutrition frequency, and they also know that the majority of
muscle repairing and rebuilding takes place during sleep. For optimal muscle recovery, the body
needs a constant supply of nutrients, and most importantly, protein. When taken before bed,
whey protein will be absorbed within about 45 mins, leaving the body without a protein source for
up to 8 hours. Micellar Casein will provide the body with a protein source for up to 7 hours, greatly
reducing muscle catabolism.

Casein protein is basically the most important protein that we find in milk. When talking
about cow milk you should know that 80% of the protein it contains is casein protein
while the other 20% is whey protein. What you need to know is that casein protein
comes to the table with a great amino acid profile. You should also be aware of the fact
that this type of protein is really well known due to the fact that it is very slowly digested.
This property comes with some advantages and disadvantages of using it.
When casein protein reaches your stomach it will form a special gel. It will eventually
release amino acids over a long period of time. If you take casein protein you will gain
the biggest concentration of amino acids around 3 hours after you consume it. On the
whole the entire quantity will be digested in around 8 hours. As a simple comparison, you
should know that whey protein will be totally absorbed in 1 hour with the peak of amino
acids reached in around 40 minutes.
The trick in getting the best possible combination of protein for bodybuilding stands in
combining slow digesting protein with fast digesting protein. We need fast digesting
protein right after our workout and the moment we wake up. Slow digesting protein is
needed at night, right before we go to bed. The best possible combination we can have in
our bodybuilding nutrition plan is to take whey protein in the morning and right after
workouts and casein protein before we go to bed. This will give us all the juice needed
for the best possible muscle growth and basically bodybuilding achievements.
We also recommend that any protein shake that you take as a meal replacement is made
out of whey protein and casein protein in a 50-50 percent combination.

Whey Protein FAQ's

Whey protein is not something new and has been available for hundreds of years to individuals who valued
the role of a nutritious diet in achieving optimal health. During the last 15-20 years the value of whey
protein has become more widely known, especially in the area of sports nutrition. More recently, whey
protein has been singled out as a super-star ingredient for other types of products including ones formulated
for weight loss, infant nutrition and immune support. To learn more about whey protein and why it should
be part of your regular diet program please click on any of the following questions.

Q: What is whey protein?

A: Whey protein is a high quality protein powder from cow's milk. Milk has two proteins: Casein
(approximately 80%) and Whey Protein (approximately 20%). Whey protein is more soluble than
casein and also has a higher quality rating. It is often referred to as the "Gold Standard" of protein
as it is the most nutritious protein available.

Q: How is whey protein made?

A: Whey protein is a co-product of the cheese making process. Listed below is a brief description
of the steps involved in making BiPro pure whey protein isolate.
1. Fresh milk is tested, approved by Quality Assurance experts and pasteurized.
2. The casein, or "curd", and a portion of the milk-fat are separated out to make cheese.
3. The remaining liquid whey goes through a series of fine, specialty filters to separate the
whey protein from the lactose and other ingredients in the liquid whey.
4. Concentrated liquid whey enters an ion exchange tower to further concentrate and purify
the whey protein. Ion exchange is a gentle process and does not denature, or "break
down", the whey protein.
5. Next, the product enters a drying tower to remove water.

6. The final step is to package the pure whey protein isolate powder into various size
containers for use.

Q: Is there a difference between whey protein concentrate and isolate?

A: Yes, there may be a large difference between the two. Whey protein isolate is the most pure
and concentrated form of whey protein available. It contains 90% or more protein and very little (if
any) fat and lactose. Whey protein concentrate has anywhere between 29% and 89% protein
depending upon the product. As the protein level in whey protein concentrate decreases the
amounts of fat and/or lactose usually increase.

Q: Why do I need protein?

A: Protein is an important nutrient needed by everyone of a daily basis. It is made up of essential
and non-essential amino acids, which are the "building blocks" for healthy bodies. Protein has a
number of different roles in the body including the following:
Repair body cells
Build and repair muscles and bones
Provide a source of energy
Control many of the important processes in the body related to metabolism

Q: How are essential and non-essential amino acids different?

A: The body is able to make non-essential amino acids from other amino acids in the body.
However, the body is not able to make essential amino acids and the only way to get them is by
eating high quality protein foods. Protein sources that contain all of the essential amino acids are
called complete proteins. Whey protein is a naturally complete protein.

Q: How much protein does a person need each day?

A: Protein needs vary by person depending upon age, weight, sex, activity level and overall
health. Athletes and individuals with special medical needs often need more protein than the
recommended dietary allowance, or RDA. To help estimate your individual protein needs click on
the protein calculator.

Q: Is whey protein good for athletes and people who


A: Whey protein is a high quality, complete protein, with all the

essential amino acids. Whey protein is also the richest known
source of naturally occurring branched chain amino acids (leucine,
isoleucine and valine). These are important for active individuals,
individuals who exercise and professional athletes. The body
requires higher amounts of branched chain amino acids during and
following exercise as they are taken up directly by the skeletal
muscles versus first being metabolized through the liver, like other amino acids. Low BCAA levels
contribute to fatigue and they should be replaced in one-hour or less following exercise or
participation in a competitive event. Many athletes consume a BiPro beverage both before and
immediately after exercise or an event to help repair and rebuild lean muscle tissue.

Q: Is whey protein compatible with a low-carbohydrate diet?

A: Yes. Whey protein is not only compatible with low-carbohydrate diets it is an ideal choice. Be
sure to select whey protein isolate which provides high quality protein without the carbohydrates
and fat often limited in low carbohydrate diets.

Q: Will whey protein help me lose weight?

A: Adding whey protein to the diet is a great way to jump-start a weight loss program. Whey
protein is a key ingredient in numerous weight loss and meal replacement products and whey
protein isolate (with no fat or carbohydrates) is often the preferred choice. Studies have found
that individuals who combine diets with leucine rich protein foods, like whey protein, and exercise
have more lean muscle tissue and they lose more body fat. As they lose fat their metabolic rate
increases and they naturally burn more calories each day. Another way that whey protein helps
manage weight is by promoting satiety, or a feeling of fullness. One recent study showed that
whey protein was superior to casein, the other protein in cow's milk, in promoting satiety.

Q: Is whey protein a good protein choice following bariatric weight loss surgery?
A: Following bariatric surgery it is important to follow a special diet designed by a physician
and/or nutrition professional. Protein plays an essential role in that diet as it is the primary food
source following surgery. Inadequate amounts may contribute to hair loss, muscle loss, and poor
skin tone. Whey protein isolate is an excellent protein choice post surgery as it is very easy to
digest and efficiently absorbed into the body. It doesn't sit in the stomach for long periods of time
like beef and other protein foods that may upset the system.

Q: How does whey protein compare to other types of proteins?

A: Protein foods are not equal and can vary in a number of ways including the following:

Number and quantity of essential amino acids

Digestion and absorption rates
Fat content

Whey protein is a very high quality complete protein with rich amounts of all the essential amino
acids. Whey protein isolate is the purest form of whey protein, which is why it is absorbed so
quickly and efficiently into the body.
Click here to view a table listing various protein sources and their protein quality scores. As you
will see, all of the commonly used protein quality-scoring methods show whey protein to be an
excellent, high quality source of protein.

Q: How does whey protein compare to soy protein?

A: Here are some of the differences between whey protein and soy protein.

Whey protein is a nutritionally complete protein. It contains bioactive ingredients, like

immunoglobulins and lactoferrin, that help support the immune system.
Athletes prefer whey protein to soy protein due to its rich abundance of branched chain
amino acids and its quick absorption rate. These are important to help repair and rebuild
muscles after a workout or competitive event.
Whey protein has a fresh, neutral taste compared and will not change the taste of foods
you add it to.
Whey protein does not contain isoflavones or any other components with potential
hormonal effects.

Q: I eat a lot of fish, chicken, eggs, soy and beef. Why do I still need whey protein?
A: Healthy diets should regularly include high quality, low fat sources of protein, like whey
protein. Calories do count and you want to make sure that you are getting the most benefit from
the calories you consume. Compared to other proteins, on a gram-to-gram basis whey protein
isolate delivers more essential amino acids to the body but without the fat or cholesterol. Nutrition
experts recommend a diet with a variety of protein foods but for optimal results make sure that
one of them is whey protein.

Q: Can I get enough whey protein by drinking milk?

A: Milk is a highly nutritious beverage however, it only contains about 1% of whey protein. In
order to get all the benefits of whey protein, you need to take a concentrated whey protein
powder like whey protein isolate.

Q: Are all whey proteins the same?

A: No. There may be a major difference in the qualify of whey protein based upon the following

Source of Milk
Production Method
Type of Cheese Produced
Individual Manufacturer Specifications
Added Ingredients

Q: What individual components are found in whey protein?

A: Whey protein is a combination of a number of individual protein components. In recent years
new technology has allowed manufacturers to isolate and further purify many of these for use in

new and exciting nutrition and oral care products. Click on any of the individual whey protein
components below to learn more about their unique properties and benefits.

Q: How much fat and cholesterol are in whey protein?

A: BiPro whey protein isolate contains less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving and only 5
milligrams of cholesterol. It is a healthy choice for individuals on a reduced fat diet. The American
Heart Association standards suggest you limit cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams per
Q: Is whey protein easy to digest?

A: Whey protein is a soluble, very easy to digest protein. It quickly enters the body to provide the
important essential amino acids needed to nourish muscles and other body tissues. This is one of
the reasons it is a common ingredient in infant formula and protein supplements for medical use.

Q: What is hydrolyzed whey protein?

A: When whey protein is hydrolyzed the protein chains are broken down into smaller segments
called "peptides". Hydrolyzed whey protein is still a high quality protein however, it is less likely to
cause an allergic reaction than non-hydrolyzed whey protein. It is most commonly used in infant
formulas and specialty protein supplements for medical use.

Q: If I'm lactose intolerant should I avoid whey protein?

A: Individuals with lactose intolerance should select a pure whey protein isolate, which has less
than 0.1 gram of lactose per tablespoon (20 grams). This is less lactose than the amount found in
a cup of yogurt and research has shown that most people with lactose intolerance have no
trouble taking this very small amount of lactose. Individuals with lactose intolerance should avoid
whey protein concentrates as they usually contain lactose and the amount can vary greatly from
product to product.

Q: Is whey protein a good choice for vegetarians?

A: Yes, whey protein is an excellent choice for vegetarians who include dairy products in their

Q: Does whey protein contain gluten or wheat protein?

A: No, pure whey protein does not contain any gluten. However, protein bars and beverages
often contain gluten so always check the product ingredient label prior to purchase if it is not
allowed in your diet.

Q: What are the side effects of taking whey protein?

A: There are no documented side effects provided a person does not have an allergy to dairy
proteins or does not need to restrict dairy products for medical reasons. If you are allergic to dairy
proteins please consult with a physician prior to consuming any type of whey protein.

Q: Is whey protein safe for pregnant women and children?

A: Whey protein is a complete high quality protein and should be an acceptable protein source
for healthy pregnant women and children, provided they are not allergic to dairy proteins. The
second most abundant component in whey protein is alpha-lactalbumin, which is one of the main
whey proteins in human breast milk. Infant formulas often contain whey protein, including special
formulas for premature infants. Prior to taking whey protein, both pregnant women and parents of
young children should consult a physician to be sure whey protein is right for them.

Whey Protein, Soy and Casein Protein and more...

For nutritional benefits, you should consider protein and protein supplements such
as whey protein, soy and casein in your diet. Protein is an essential macronutrient that
the body requires on a daily basis. Large quantities, considered to be in excess of 1.5 grams
per pound of body weight, can be difficult for the body to digest. Individual activity levels
require additional protein requirements. This is especially true when one's goal is to gain lean
body mass. The busy schedules of today demand convenience and nutritionally dense super
foods. This is where protein powder supplements play a vital role in a physically active and
demanding fitness lifestyles.
Protein powder can be broken down into 5 main categories; Buckwheat Protein, Casein
Protein, Egg Protein, Soy Protein and Whey Protein. Below you will find brief descriptions of
Buckwheat protein consists of well-balanced amino acids with high biological value, although
its digestibility is relatively low. BWP contains 2.8-fold more arginine than casein. The content
of arginine in BWP is equivalent to the content of casein supplemented with 15 g/kg arginine.
BWP has a high content of dietary fiber which helps the body eliminate cholesterol, which in
turn increases blood flow and therefore lowers blood pressure. Although other grains contain
protein, the buckwheat protein has been shown to be particularly powerful in preventing the
accumulation of fat in the body. BWP also contains other minor components such as lipids and
fiber. BWP is fairly new to the supplement maket, having only a few protein supplements
containing this ingredient.
Casein is the principal protein of cow's milk. It is the curd that forms when milk is left to sour.
It is the most commonly used milk protein in the food industry and contains 21 amino acids.
Since casein itself will not dissolve in water you will more likely see caseinates, which are the
salts of casein, on ingredients labels. They are made by dissolving acid casein in a suitable
hydroxide and drying it to make a water soluble product. Ammonium caseinate is used mainly
in bakery products, therefore, it does not have to be listed on the ingredients label. Calcium
caseinate is used as a nutrient supplement. It is used in creamed cottage cheese, powdered
diet supplements, nutritional beverages, processed cheese, and frozen desserts because it has
a milky appearance and smooth feel in the mouth. Calcium caseinate breaks down slowly in
the digestive system making it a great night-time protein. Caseinates coagulate in the
stomach so that the protein peptides and amino acids pass more slowly through the gut. This
improves satiety (appetite satisfaction) while prolonging the supply of nitrogen to the muscle
tissue, thus preventing muscle wastage.

Egg protein is extracted from pure egg whites and has one of the highest P.E.R. (Protein
Efficiency Ratio) at 3.9.
This is an important point because the higher the P.E.R. the better the body utilizes the
protein. Egg protein has the longest history of use among weightlifters and bodybuilders due
to its high ratio of absorption and its time-proven results; not to mention that for many years
it was the only type of protein powder other than milk.
Like the Whey and Soy Proteins, Egg Protein offers the full spectrum of amino acids in an
efficient form that is readily used by the body while being fat and cholesterol free. As far as
protein powders are concerned, it is not very soluble and used to require a blender. Today with
the advancement of emulsifiers, it can be mixed with a spoon. The cost of Egg Protein is
usually in the same range as WPI. If you are ever in doubt about which protein powder to
choose, this is always a good choice.
Soy Protein is extracted from the soybean. New processing techniques which use a slightly
alkaline pH, followed by precipitation, washing and drying phases yields what is called "Soy
Protein Isolate". This process retains about ninety (90) percent of the protein. Soy Protein is
an abundant, economical protein source. Soy products offer numerous additional health
benefits, from lowering the risk of cancer, osteoporosis and other chronic diseases to easing
the symptoms of menopause. This type of protein is especially good for women who are
looking to balance hormone levels. Soy protein isolates are a highly digestible source of amino
acids: the protein building blocks essential for human health. Soy protein is low in fat, calories
and cholesterol. The cost is usually somewhere between the Whey Protein Isolate and Egg
Whey proteins comprise one of the two major protein groups of bovine milk, the other group
being the caseins. Caseins account for about 80% of the total protein in bovine milk, while
whey proteins account for the remaining approximately 20%. Whey is derived as a natural
byproduct of the cheese-making process. In addition to proteins, the raw form contains fat,
lactose and other substances. The raw form is processed to produce protein-rich whey protein
concentrates (WPC) and whey protein isolates (WPI), among other things.
Whey proteins are comprised of high-biological-value proteins and proteins that have different
functions. The main whey proteins are beta-lactoglobulin and alpha-lactoglobulin, two small
globular proteins that account for about 70 to 80% of total whey protein. Proteins present in
lesser amounts include the immunoglobulins IgG, IgA and IgM, but especially IgG,
glycomacropeptides, bovine serum albumin, lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase and lysozyme. Whey
proteins also contain smaller peptides derived from various proteins which are called
There are various processes for preparing whey protein isolates. Ion-exchange whey protein
isolates are high in protein but low in glycomacropeptides, lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase and
some bioactive peptides. Microfiltration/ultrafiltration whey protein isolates have higher
amounts of glycomacropeptides, lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase and the bioactive peptides, but
are lower in bovine serum albumin. Interestingly, bovine serum albumin, along with betalactoglobulin and IgG1, are proteins with abundant glutamylcysteine sequences.
Glutamylcysteine is the precursor to glutathione. Cross-flow microfiltration gives a whey
protein isolate which is greater than 90% in protein that is undenatured and that retains all
important sub-fractions in natural ratios, with no fat or lactose.

Whey Protein comes in three different types: Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Isolate, Whey Protein
Isolate, and Whey Protein Concentrate.
In the whey protein family, Hydrolyzed Whey Protein is the most readily digestible. While
having the highest efficacy of all the whey proteins it is also the most expensive. HWPI is
partially utilized to aid in the human digestive process, which makes it very soluble. The
problem with HPWI is that it has an extremely bitter taste that is impossible to overcome with
sweeteners or flavorings, which prevent it from possibly ever becoming a primary ingredient in
this class of protein supplementation. HPWI still can be found in some supplements but as one
of the lesser ingredients.
Whey Protein Isolate is a whole other story. WPI has a good taste and is also extremely
digestible. WPI is almost entirely void of fat and is lactose free. The latter is of great
importance to individuals with lactose intolerance. The process of cross-flow microfiltration
helped to revolutionize this type of protein. This is the phase in processing which follows the
"concentration" phase to "isolate" the whey protein.
Whey Protein concentrates have a variety of different problems associated with them.
Symptoms from users of WPC included bloating, gas and in some cases diarrhea. There is a
very large variance in the protein content itself. Actual protein content can vary widely from
twenty-five (25) to eighty (80) percent that is a direct result of the dependence on the quality
and cost.
If you were to compare WPI to WPC you will find that WPC has higher concentrations of fat,
carbohydrate and lactose. The absorption is also reduced due to the lower assimilation in the
stomach and intestines.
Due to the lower cost of manufacturing and the reduced quality and quantity of the protein
content, this is the most economical.
With proper nutrition, a balanced diet and exercise you will improve the quality of your life.
When this is accomplished, any individual can enhance their health. At Supplement Central, it
is easy to find just what you need and get information about protein and protein
supplements such as whey protein, soy and casein and other nutritional
supplementation. If you have questions, or are ready to start experiencing these benefits in
your life contact us today.