URL of this page: //medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002257.htm


Metabolism refers to all the physical and chemical processes in the body that convert or use energy, such as:

  • Breathing
  • Circulating blood
  • Controlling body temperature
  • Contracting muscles
  • Digesting food and nutrients
  • Eliminating waste through urine and feces
  • Functioning of the brain and nerves



Tortora GJ, Derrickson BH. Metabolism. In: Tortora GJ, Derrickson BH. Principles of Anatomy and Physiology. 14th ed. Hoboken, NJ: John H Wiley and Sons; 2013:chap 25.

Review Date 8/17/2014

Updated by: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.