The Currency in Your Body

To say that a lot is going on in your body is an understatement. It is a beehive of activity. Just your energy pathway – the manner in which your body consumes food and converts it into energy – has a zillion reactions going on all at once. Your body has to respond to your choice of food intelligently. Eating at a gastronomic Michelin starred restaurant? Perhaps what you put into your month may differ from satiating your desires with a quick bite from a roadside vendor. The quality, composition and variety of food would all vary. Your body would have almost no warning and would have to respond to digest the food regardless.

As you may be aware, carbon is the primary source of energy in your food. Carbon does not spontaneously convert into energy as its activation point is high (the reason you set a log on fire to activate the carbon inside). Since you can’t be lighting fires inside your body, this role is played by enzymes which lower the activation point of the carbon enough for it to convert into energy. There are dozens of enzymes within your body to direct the varied sources of carbohydrates, protein and lipids.

Your body is designed brilliantly. To avoid the chaos that might ensue if you were to have to create an enzyme for every type of food you ate it created an intermediary coenzyme called ATP and NADH. These coenzymes play a role similar to the Dollar. Each time you want to buy or sell something, the dollar acts as the medium of exchange. In much the same way, each time a type of food has to be converted into energy, the coenzymes act as your energy currency, breaking the food down and directing the food to its end state. This saves you from needing a separate enzyme for every morsel you put in.

For all those who live to eat, remember you would not have been able to include variety in your food had it not been for coenzymes. And you had not even heard of them?


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.