Metabolism refers to all of the chemical processes that take place in the body, such as the burning of sugars (glucose) for energy and the release of digestive enzymes to break down food. Metabolism results in growth, the elimination of waste products (in urine and stool), healing of wounds, and other necessary activities of the body.

Many things can affect the rate of metabolism, including exercise, diet, temperature, and hormones.

When problems occur with any of the normal metabolic processes, changes in the body can occur (such as diabetes or thyroid disease). Changes in metabolism can affect the entire body.

Current as of: February 20, 2015

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator & Colleen O'Connor, PhD, RD - Registered Dietitian