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What Is The Difference Between Anabolism And Catabolism In Detail…

While anabolism builds large molecules from smaller ones, catabolism is a reduction reaction where a complex molecule is converted into a simpler one.

What Is Anabolism?

The word anabolism comes from the Greek ana , which means ‘up’, and ballein , which we can translate as ‘throw’.Anabolism is one of the two parts that metabolism is divided into, which is also known by the name of biosynthesis.Anabolism is a constructive chemical reaction where complex molecules are synthesized from simpler ones that can be organic or inorganic. Thus molecules can grow and renew, or be stored as energy reserves .This metabolic construction process , where energy is consumed to obtain large molecules from smaller ones, is possible thanks to the energy contribution of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).In these reactions, the most oxidized compounds are reduced. Through anabolism, living things can form proteins from amino acids and thus maintain body tissues.

Anabolism Functions

Increase muscle mass.

Form the components and cellular tissues of growth.

Store energy.

In the first stage, precursors are produced, such as amino acids, monosaccharides and others.

The precursors are then activated, using energy from adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

In the third stage, more complex molecules are produced, such as proteins, polysaccharides, lipids, and nucleic acids.

What Is Catabolism?

Catabolism is a word that comes from the Greek kato , which means ‘downwards’, and ballein , which means ‘to launch’.Catabolism is the part of the metabolic process by which different organic nutrients are degraded, reduced or oxidized to their simplest forms so that the body assimilates them and transforms them into energy. This energy is essential for the functioning of anabolism.The energy that is released is stored in molecules of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and thus the cell can perform vital actions such as muscle contraction and the synthesis of molecules.It is a destructive phase of reduction where, from a complex organic molecule, such as carbohydrates and lipids, other simpler ones such as H 2 O, CO 2 , lactic acid or ammonia are obtained.A catabolic process is digestion , in it large molecular complexes are broken down and transformed into simpler forms so that they can be used as raw material and energy in anabolic processes. Therefore, digestion is essential for anabolism to function properly.

Catabolism Functions

Degrade organic nutrients.

Extract chemical energy from degraded nutrients to be used by the body.

Nourish the body using tissues when there is a lack of food.

Stages Of Catabolism

Large organic molecules, such as proteins, polysaccharides or lipids, are degraded to amino acids, monosaccharides and fatty acids.

Small molecules are carried into cells and transform into even simpler molecules, releasing energy during the process.

Eventually, the coenzymes in the electron transport chain are oxidized.

Differences Between Anabolism And Catabolism

It should be noted that metabolism is the set of chemical and biological processes that occur continuously in the living cells of an organism. This allows cells to carry out their main activities, such as reproduction, growth, maintenance of their structures and the response to the stimuli they receive.The functioning of metabolism is due to two different processes, but they are coupled and dependent on each other, they are anabolism and catabolism. However, despite the fact that these processes are closely related, they are different processes and with different functional characteristics.As can be seen, there are several differences found between anabolism and catabolism, the two fundamental processes of metabolism. In summary we have to:

Anabolism is a synthetic reaction while catabolism is a degradative reaction.

During catabolism energy is released while in anabolism energy is consumed.

Anabolism is a reduction reaction while catabolism is an oxidative process.

Metabolism is all the biochemical reactions and physical-chemical processes that, in short, give way to life. In fact, this process or series of processes begins at the moment of conception and stops at death. The body gets the energy it needs to carry out a myriad of activities from metabolizing nutrients from food. These processes take place within the cells of all living organisms and allow activities such as growing, thinking, responding to stimuli, and reproducing to take place. Metabolism is divided into two phases, catabolism and anabolism.

Comparison table
Anabolism Catabolism
Also called… Constructive metabolism, constructive phase. Destructive metabolism, destructive phase.
Definition It is the phase of metabolism concerning chemical reactions in which simple substances are transformed into complex substances. It is the process of construction, growth, manufacture, storage or synthesis. Thanks to this, body tissues are maintained and energy reserves are created for future uses. It is also the basis of the growth of each of the cells of a living being. On the contrary, they are all chemical reactions in which a complex organic compound is transformed into even simpler substances. It is the process where the energy necessary to live is produced. In this, large molecules are decomposed and energy is obtained. This energy is the fuel that anabolism needs to happen. It also allows you to move the body, warm it, etc.
Relationship with energy Requires energy

It is consumed by the body.

Releases energy.

Releases it for the body.

What kind of reaction is it? In the case of anabolism, it is an endergonic reaction, reduction and synthesis. Catabolism, on the other hand, is an exergonic, degradative, and oxidative reaction.
Reaction Endergonic, reduction and synthesis or construction. Exergonic, degrading or destructive and oxidative.
Molecules Complex molecules are produced from simple molecules. Simple molecules are produced from complex molecules.
  • Estrogen
  • Insulin.
  • Growth hormone.
  • Testosterone.
  • Adrenalin.
  • Cortisol
  • Cytokines
  • Glucagon
Examples Photosynthesis is an example of anabolism.


When amino acids are converted to protein, glucose to glycogen and fatty acids to triglycerides.

On the other hand, fermentations are examples of catabolism.


When proteins are converted to amino acids, proteins to glucose, glycogen to glucose, and triglycerides to fatty acids.

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