Anabolism refers collectively to all processes of chemical reactions that build larger molecules from smaller molecules or atoms; these processes are also referred to as anabolic processes or anabolic pathways.
The opposite of anabolism is catabolism, the series of processes that break down larger molecules into smaller ones. Anabolism and catabolism are the two types of metabolic pathways. Metabolic pathways are a series of chemical reactions that take place in the cell. Anabolic pathways use up energy while catabolic pathways release energy.
Function Of Anabolism
Anabolic pathways in a cell result in the formation of larger, more complex molecules from smaller ones. First, catabolic pathways are required to break down nutrient molecules from food into small building blocks.
These smaller molecules are then joined together to form different, larger molecules called macromolecules. Anabolic pathways involve the supply of energy needed to form chemical bonds between smaller molecules to make macromolecules.
Molecules built from anabolism are then used to build structures within the cell or even to build new cells. Anabolism and catabolism are controlled by circadian rhythms and both are important for the development, growth and maintenance of an organism’s cells.
Anabolic hormones are chemicals that cause cell growth by activating anabolic pathways. Two examples of anabolic hormones are testosterone and insulin. Hormones can also be made artificially in the laboratory; This is how anabolic steroids are created.
Examples of anabolic processes
Proteins are macromolecules that perform cellular activities encoded by an organism’s genes. They have many different functions in the body, including DNA replication, aiding in chemical reactions (as enzymes), transporting materials around the cell, cell growth and signaling, and providing physical structure. Every cell in the human body contains around 1 to 3 billion proteins.
Proteins are synthesized from smaller molecules called amino acids in a cell’s ribosomes. Each protein is a chain of a specific sequence of amino acids. Because proteins are larger molecules made up of smaller ones, the process of protein synthesis is anabolic.
Deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA is the genetic material of an organism. It is a macromolecule made up of smaller molecules called nucleic acids, which themselves are made up of a nucleotide base attached to a deoxyribose sugar and a phosphate molecule.
DNA synthesis is an anabolic process that takes place in the nucleus just before the cell divides. It involves unzipping the double strands of DNA and appending new matching nucleotides to each half of the unzipped strand, creating two new strands, each containing half of the old strand of DNA.
growth of bones and muscles
On a larger scale, the growth of body parts like bones and muscles is anabolic. Bone growth, or ossification, occurs when bone is formed from cells called osteoclasts. It is then mineralized by cells called osteoblasts. This process is also anabolic; During mineralization, osteoblasts produce calcium phosphate crystals that are incorporated into bone structure, making bones hard and strong.
Muscle growth, also called muscle hypertrophy, occurs when skeletal muscle cells called myocytes increase in size. It occurs through strength training exercises such as lifting weights. Factors like gender, age, and diet all affect hypertrophy. During hypertrophy, there is increased protein synthesis of actin and myosin, and the volume of sarcoplasmic fluid in myocytes increases.
Anabolic steroids are androgenic hormones that are natural (e.g. testosterone) or synthetically produced and mimic the effects of testosterone. Androgens are anabolic; They increase protein in muscle cells, resulting in an increase in muscle mass.
Anabolic steroids are used to treat certain conditions such as delayed puberty in boys, and they can also be used for muscle growth, stimulating appetite, creating secondary sex characteristics in transgender men, and treating certain conditions that can lead to loss in muscle mass, like cancer and AIDS.
However, sometimes anabolic steroids are also abused by athletes who want to build more muscles quickly. Most major sports organizations prohibit doping, the use of anabolic steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs to prevent steroid abuse.
Although steroid use can increase muscle mass, it also comes with many adverse side effects. These range from acne to high blood pressure to aggression (“roid rage”) and even psychosis. Steroids can affect the structure of the heart, which can lead to congestive heart failure or a heart attack.
They also have adverse effects on cholesterol levels, can affect height, and cause liver damage in high doses.
In women, steroids can cause masculinization; H. the development of secondary male sex characteristics such as a deeper voice, increase in body hair, an enlarged clitoris (the clitoris in women is homologous to the penis in men), and a transient disruption of the penile menstrual cycle.
However, in men, steroids can cause feminization, including the development of breast tissue and a decrease in testicle size. This happens because testosterone can be converted into estradiol, a female sex hormone. The effects of masculinization and feminization are generally reduced/reversed when a person stops taking steroids and their hormone levels return to normal.