Thursday, January 11, 2007

How your body works #1

The processes the human body employs to obtain, store, utilise and distribute energy are, to use the correct scientific terminology, 'more complex than a very complex thing'.

The major energy-users in your body are the hundreds of muscles that help you, and bits and pieces in your body, move. Muscles do this by contracting, converting chemical energy into mechanical energy.

The basic source of chemical energy for muscles is adenosine triphosphate or ATP. When the phosphate bonds are broken, energy is released, and the actin and myosin filaments of your muscles use this energy to slide past each other causing a contraction... oh... are you getting bored? Thought so.

The truth is that there are millions of little men continually carrying sacks of fuel around your body. There are other little men who release the energy from that fuel. And even more little men who remove the resulting by-products.

To these little men your body is their house, so they are keen to keep it in one piece. They're also rather lazy, so they don't want to work any harder than they have to.

If more stuff comes in than is needed, they will stockpile it for later (primarily as fat). Also, if they think that your body isn't getting enough food (and this is the main point of this blog entry) they'll slow down your metabolism to save energy.

There's more to it than that, but I've already exceeded the official 'average blog-reader attention span' word-count.

We'll continue the subject in HYBW #2.