Difference Between Anabolism and Catabolism

Metabolism is a vital chemical process in the body to sustain life. These chemical reactions or processes happens in the cells of the body.


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Metabolism plays a crucial role in the growth and functionality of the body. It is a biochemical process that makes the body grow, live, and adapt to the existing and changing environment.

Metabolism is categorized into two types: Anabolism and Catabolism. Both processes have their ways of using the molecules of the body.

Anabolism vs Catabolism

Anabolism is the metabolic reaction that builds molecules, such as proteins, nucleic acids, and carbohydrates, from smaller units. These reactions require energy in the form of ATP and are responsible for cell growth, repair, and maintenance. Catabolism reactions break down molecules, such as carbohydrates and fats, to release energy as ATP.

Anabolism vs Catabolism

The anabolic process creates complex molecules from simpler ones, also called biosynthesis. The catabolic process, in turn, breaks the molecules for the body’s use which is again created through the catabolic process.


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonAnabolismCatabolism
Chemical ProcessAnabolism creates complex molecules from simpler ones to help with the body’s functionality.Catabolism breaks the complex molecules for the use of the body.
Energy requirementAnabolic Process requires energy to create complex moleculesCatabolic Process releases energy while it breaks the complex molecules
Effects on BodyAnabolic activities help create body massCatabolic activities help burn fat and calories
Oxygen usageAnabolism utilizes oxygen for the chemical processCatabolism does not utilize oxygen for its chemical process
Process Functioning TimeAnabolic Process functions majorly during resting or sleepingCatabolic Process functions during body activities


What is Anabolism?

Anabolism is a collective set of chemical reactions synthesizing complex molecules from simpler ones. Anabolism is entirely a constructive process.

Anabolism requires energy for its chemical process and is thus called an endergonic process. The anabolic process is a step-by-step function that builds organs and tissues in the body.

The complex molecules created are vital for cells’ growth, development, and differentiation. The process mineralizes the bones and builds muscle mass.

The hormones involved in the anabolic process are insulin, steroid, and growth hormone. The process of anabolism is also called a biochemical process.

Ideally, anabolism undergoes three stages; in the first stage, the precursors are produced. The precursors are activated by Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is followed by reactive forms that create complex molecules like nucleic acid, polypeptides, and lipids.

Anabolic Process happens during the resting period or while sleeping. Indeed, the process converts kinetic energy to potential energy.

Anabolism is mainly required for the growth and maintenance of the body. The process helps to produce proteins and carbohydrates in the body.

It is an enzyme-catalyzed reaction that happens in the body. As many metabolic processes involve hormones, the anabolic process also involves the same.

The anabolic hormones involved in the process are Estrogen, Testosterone, insulin, and growth hormone. This helps regulate the functionality of the body smoothly.


What is Catabolism?

Catabolism is a collective set of chemical reactions that breaks down complex molecules into smaller units. Catabolism is ultimately a destructive process.

Catabolism releases energy and heat during its chemical process and is thus called an exergonic process.

The small molecules produced by the destruction of the complex ones either release energy by oxidation or it is also used as precursors for the other anabolic process.

The catabolic process also releases the chemical energy required for anabolism. Cellular wastes like urea, ammonia, lactic acid, acetic acid, and carbon dioxide are also produced.

Catabolism involves certain hormones for its functionality. Glucagon, adrenaline, and cortisol are involved in the catabolic process.

Catabolism is a series of chemical reactions that convert macromolecules into monomers. The catabolic process happens during anybody’s activity.

The primary catabolic process is digestion. The nutrients in the food are broken down into simpler molecules for the use of the body.

Catabolism utilizes the energy stored for body activity. In simple terms, catabolism converts potential energy into kinetic energy.

Catabolic Process burns fats and calories. It utilizes the stored food to generate the energy required by the body. Catabolism breaks down proteins to amino acids, glycogen to glucose. Catabolism happens when there is an activity in the body.

Main Differences Between Anabolism and Catabolism

  1. Metabolism involves anabolism and catabolism; the difference between anabolism and catabolism is the synthesis of complex molecules by using smaller ones for the body’s functionality, whereas catabolism breaks down complex molecules into smaller ones.
  2. They both can be called constructive and destructive processes, respectively. In the case of anabolism, there is a requirement for energy for the process to happen, while in catabolism, the destructive process breaks the complex molecules to release the energy and heat required by the body.
  3. There is also a difference in the energy conversion aspect. Anabolism is a biochemical process that converts kinetic energy to potential energy, whereas catabolism is a series of chemical reactions that converts potential energy to kinetic energy. Both these energy conversion processes are called endergonic and exergonic.
  4. Anabolism mainly focuses on the growth of the body and also maintenance. Catabolism is used for activities in the body to be performed smoothly.
  5. Anabolism uses oxygen for its chemical process and functions while the body is resting or sleeping, and catabolism does not utilize oxygen for its process and functions during anybody’s activity.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0197458098000335
  2. https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-1-2-12
  3. https://portlandpress.com/biochemj/article-pdf/178/1/1/570783/bj1780001.pdf
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