Differences Between Catabolism and Anabolism

Anabolism and catabolism are two different metabolic methods, which collectively constitute the entire metabolism process. Anabolism represents a series of reactions that produces the biomolecules a human body needs to function properly.

On the other hand, catabolism is involved in breaking down complex molecules like proteins, glycogen, etc. into simple molecules. It also breaks down monomers like amino acid, fatty acid, and glucose.

Anabolism and Catabolism Definition

  • Anabolism: Anabolism is a series of biochemical reactions that synthesise molecules from smaller components. These are endergonic reactions, which means they are not spontaneous. They require energy to progress.

The hydrolysis of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) powers several anabolic reactions. Generally, condensation and reduction are the mechanisms responsible for anabolism.

  • Catabolism: It is also a series of biochemical reactions that breaks down complex molecules into simple ones. Additionally, this process is spontaneous and thermodynamically favourable. Thus, human body cells use this process to generate energy for anabolism. 

Additionally, catabolism is exergonic. It works through hydrolysis and oxidation, releasing heat in the process.

Cells often store various complex molecules and raw materials. Catabolism breaks these down to create new products. For instance, catabolism of polysaccharides, nucleic acids and protein generates monosaccharides, nucleotides and amino acids, respectively.

Examples of Anabolism and Catabolism

Examples of anabolism are –

  1. Fatty acid and glycerol react to produce a fatty acid.

  2. Amino acids join together to prepare dipeptides.

  3. Simple sugars combine to synthesise water and disaccharides.

  4. Water and carbon dioxide react to produce glucose and oxygen for photosynthesis.

Examples of catabolism are –

  1. Oxygen and glucose react during cellular respiration to yield water and carbon dioxide.

  2. With the help of catabolism, hydroxide peroxide decomposes within cells to form water and oxygen.

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Anabolic Vs Catabolic - The Primary Differences 

1. Definition

The first point of difference between anabolism and catabolism is their definition. Anabolism is the metabolic process which transforms simple substances into complex molecules. On the other hand, catabolism is where complex and large molecules are broken down into small ones.

2. Role in Metabolism

Catabolism is the destructive phase of metabolism, whereas anabolism is the constructive one.

3. Energy and Heat Requirement

Another significant difference between metabolism catabolism and anabolism is the heat and energy requirements. Anabolism is an endergonic reaction. It means this reaction requires ATP energy as it absorbs heat.  

However, catabolism being an exergonic reaction releases ATP energy and does not require any heat. 

4. Hormones Responsible

The hormones responsible for anabolism are estrogen, testosterone, insulin, etc. Hormones accountable for catabolism are adrenalin, cortisol, cytokines, etc.

5. Oxygen Utilisation

Catabolic and anabolic reactions can be different based on their use of oxygen. Anabolism does not use oxygen, but catabolism does.

6. Energy Conversion

Energy conversion is another point where anabolism and catabolism differences are noticeable. In the case of anabolism, kinetic energy is converted to potential energy. On the other hand, for catabolism, the energy conversion is precisely opposite.

7. Functionality

Catabolism is functional during activities, but anabolism is functional during rest or sleep.

8. Effect on the Human Body

The last point of difference between anabolism and catabolism is their effect on the human body. Anabolism repairs and furnishes tissues and subsequently increases the muscle mass. On the other hand, catabolism burns calories and fats. Additionally, it uses the foods stored within cells to generate energy. 

In order to define anabolism and catabolism, it can be mentioned that these two contrasting functions are essential for a human being to survive. These two constitute metabolism which ensure growth, reproduction and allow every living organism to sustain.

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are Anabolism and Catabolism?

Ans. Anabolism and catabolism are two metabolic processes that take place within a human body. In simpler words, anabolism produces complex molecules from simple substances. Catabolism, on the other hand, breaks down complex molecules into simpler ones.

2. Relationship Between Catabolism and Anabolism

Ans. The relationship between these two processes is contrasting. In a nutshell, anabolism is a constructive process, whereas catabolism is a destructive one.

3. What is the Effect of these Two Processes on the Human Body?

Ans. The effect of this process on a human body is precisely opposite. Catabolism scorches calories and fats. Additionally, it uses the foods deposited within a cell to generate energy. On the other hand, anabolism preserves and furnishes tissues and subsequently grows muscle mass.