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The following article discusses basic metabolic function, how it affects our normal biological processes, and metabolism definition. To learn about metabolism meaning, buy Metabolism & Medicine here. Find further metabolism definition and the intersection of metabolic performance and modern physics in volume one and volume two of Dr. Brian Fertig’s magnum opus on the metabolic landscape of health and disease.

When we talk about metabolic response — whether it’s a fast or slow metabolism — we’re talking about the biological and chemical function that occurs when the body synthesizes food nutrients into energy. This highly intricate, complex phenomenon uses oxygen and caloric content to generate the energy that allows our bodies to perform its many functions.

Metabolism Definition

Every living creature needs energy to sustain life. To maintain cellular performance, a living organism exhibits a continuous synthesis of chemical compounds, a phenomenon known as metabolism. The metabolic response exchanges environmental chemicals and their transformations within a living organism’s cells.

How does metabolism work?

Our metabolic function is always occurring. Whether we are awake or sleeping, our bodies are always converting caloric intake into energy and using that energy to perform the following essential biologic tasks:

  • Blood circulation
  • Body temperature regulation
  • Breathing
  • Cellular function
  • Cellular growth
  • Cellular repair
  • Digestion
  • Hormone level regulation

One of the ways we measure metabolic function is the basal metabolic rate (BMR). Your BMR is the lowest number of calories necessary for your body to perform its normal functions during rest. Different people have different BMRs. You need to achieve between 60 – 70 percent of your daily BMR in order to meet your body’s energy needs.

Losing weight quickly and reducing your calorie intake aggressively will decrease your BMR. This factor contributes to weight loss challenges and the phenomenon commonly known as “plateauing,” when weight loss is consistent until a certain point when it stalls.

Roughly one-tenth of your energy is used to convert food into fuel. The rest of your energy is used to drive the body’s physical motion.

What is a fast metabolism?

Metabolic speed is an extremely common source of blame for weight loss challenges. However, most healthy people’s metabolic function adjusts to their bodies’ needs; metabolic rate (independently of overall physical health) is not primarily the driver of weight gain. When the body uses more calories than it takes in, weight loss will occur. According to studies of people with high body mass indices (BMI) due to adipose tissue, people who are overweight or obese can have relatively fast metabolic rates due to their need for additional energy to keep their bodies functioning. A person with a fast metabolism will use a high number of calories during rest. A person with a slow metabolism does not require many calories to perform physical functions.

Certain medical conditions can affect metabolic speed, such as underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) and endocrine disorders like cystic fibrosis.

While metabolic function is an extremely complicated process, it is nonetheless important to have a basic understanding of how our metabolic health contributes to overall health and physical performance.

For nearly 30 years, Dr. Brian Fertig has been amongst the foremost experts in human metabolic function. He established the Diabetes & Osteoporosis Center in Piscataway, New Jersey in 1994, and currently serves as its chairman and president.

With over 34 years’ experience in diabetes, endocrinology, and metabolism, including internships, residency programs, fellowships, and private practice, Dr. Fertig has a wealth of knowledge in these areas. In addition to his role as a Professor at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Dr. Fertig also serves as Chairman of the Department of Diabetes & Endocrinology at Hackensack Meridian Health – JFK University Medical Center in Hackensack, NJ.

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