Energy: Sources and Uses in the Body


Rightly defined as the ability to do work, energy is very important in all biological processes carried out by the human body. Every task in the body from respiration to digestion requires a certain amount of energy to be initiated and completed. Energy is important in every human activity, both internal and external. The major function of food in the human body is to supply the necessary amount of energy required to carry out all metabolic processes.

Use-your-bodyNatural energy can be derived from food sources such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and minerals contained in the food we eat. Fat is the most concentrated of all listed food sources of energy. Fat is known to provide twice the amount of energy provided to the body by the same quantity of carbohydrate and protein.

Energy Flow in the Biosphere

All cellular chemical processes are called metabolism. The degradation or breakdown of very complex organic molecules to produce simple molecules and give up energy is known as catabolism. The total biosynthetic processes that lead to the production of large complex molecules from simple molecules are known as anabolism.

Anabolic processes need energy to be completed because work is being done to create order. Both catabolism and anabolism naturally occur concurrently because the energy required for anabolism is made available through catabolism.

The energy from the sun is utilized by plants in a process known as photosynthesis to manufacture larger molecules from smaller ones. Animals and humans, however use these plants for food. The larger molecules are subsequently catabolized to make energy available.

Uses of Energy in the body cells

The importance of energy in the body and cells are varied. All mechanical works carried out in the body require energy. These mechanical works involve change in orientation or location of a particular body part of the cell itself. A good example is the energy used during muscle contraction.


Transportation of molecules within the cells equally requires some amount of energy. When molecules are moved from areas of higher concentration to areas of lower concentrations, energy is always required because this movement is not the normal movement of molecules in the body. A good example is the movement of nutrients into the cells and the movement of waste materials out of the cell.

Energy is also needed for synthesizing complex biochemical molecules. Biosynthesis is all about forming many new molecules from simpler ones. New cells are produced both during active growth periods and in existing structures to replace and repair damaged molecules. From all these, it can be seen that energy is very vital to the day-to-day functioning of our entire body system. This great role that energy plays in the smooth running of all body activities makes a very vital part of our natural well-being.

Without adequate amount of energy, most organs in the body will shut down, which will lead to death. Eating the right energy-giving foods will ensure the body gets all the energy it needs to remain active and functional all day long.

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