Anabolism – Metabolic Process: Definition, Functions and Related Diseases


Anabolism refers to anabolic metabolic processes in the body. The anabolic and catabolic processes are closely related.

It is characterized by the formation of high-energy compounds and complexes from simple molecules with energy input.

Therefore, photosynthesis in plants is an anabolic metabolic process. Using solar energy, simple compounds such as water, carbon dioxide, and minerals are converted into carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

However, anabolic metabolic processes are constantly being carried out in plants and animals, and human organisms.

In part, the term anabolism is vaguely defined; however, as a standard criterion of definition, the structure of connections arises under energy consumption.

In human and animal organisms, complex molecules rich in energy such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats accumulate under energy consumption.


At the same time, however, humans and animals ingest carbohydrates, proteins, and fats with food, which decompose when the energy is released.

These catabolic metabolic processes generate energy for the operations of life and at the same time as water and carbon dioxide, as well as simple products of organic degradation, such as pyruvate, which can be used again as starting materials for the constitution of their body substances.

In this case, however, energy is required, obtained from catabolic metabolic processes and transmitted through power in the new compounds.

Function and task

Anabolism is essential for the organism. In the strictest sense, anabolism means the construction of muscle proteins. However, it refers to all the building processes that produce the body’s proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

It does not always have to be complex connections. In addition, the new synthesis of an intermediate pyruvate glucose molecule is already an anabolic process because energy is necessary for this.

The structure of the body’s substances, on the one hand, serves to structure and the growth of the body and, on the other hand, to store energy. Amino acids are necessary for bodybuilding, mainly proteins and basic building blocks.

The amino acids are derived from the degradation processes of the ingested proteins.

As part of an anabolic process, the individual amino acids are reassembled in the body’s proteins. The unnecessary amino acids are converted into simple compounds such as carbon dioxide, water, urea, or metabolic metabolites such as pyruvate.

Pyruvate can be further degraded or used as a starting compound to produce glucose, amino acids, or fatty acids. In this way, the amino acids can become glucose.

The catabolic and anabolic processes are related. Glucose can be stored in polymeric storage of glucose in the liver and muscles. Glycogen serves as a storehouse of potential energy when necessary.

The newly formed fatty acids can be converted by esterification with glycerol into fat, stored in the adipocytes as an energy reserve. All construction processes require energy.

The energy comes from catabolic metabolic processes. Hormones control the complex metabolic processes in the body.

Some hormones promote catabolism. Thyroid hormones or hormones that promote anabolism include insulin, growth hormones, or sex hormones.

Anabolic processes can also cause catabolic processes and vice versa. For example, muscle-building promotes fat loss. On the other hand, muscle breakdown is often associated with fat accumulation.

Diseases related to anabolism

Diseases related to anabolism are often due to hormonal imbalances. Internal or external causes can cause hormonal imbalances.

A well-known example of an external cause is the abuse of anabolic steroids. Athletes often use anabolics for performance and strength to promote muscle building.

They are substances similar to hormones. A commonly used anabolic is the male sex hormone testosterone. Testosterone promotes muscle growth in men and women.

However, many consequential damages are known. In men, the constant administration of hormones reduces endogenous testosterone production. After the breakdown of the anabolic, there is a rapid decline in performance and muscle degradation.

The hormonal synthesis of the body is no longer potentiated. The results include:

  • Low testosterone deficiency.
  • Male breast augmentation.
  • Mental health problems.
  • Skeletal and skeletal muscle degradation.
  • Increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Liver damage.
  • Decreased testicles that develop infertility.

In women, the menstrual cycle can be altered; the clitoris increases.

When anabolism is disturbed by internal causes, hormonal imbalances often play an essential role.

These can be hereditary or caused by severe diseases of the hormone-producing glands.

Typical examples are the deficiency and overproduction of the growth hormone somatropin. Short stature results are obtained if there is already a deficiency of somatropin in childhood.

The overproduction of this hormone produces excellent growth, and in adulthood, acromegaly is associated with the excessive change of hands, feet, ears, nose, chin, or external genitalia.

The lack of function in adulthood increases the loss of muscle and bone mass.

At the same time, however, fat tissue is increasing; also, in the so-called Cushing syndrome, more proteins in the body are degraded.