What is Intermediary Metabolism?

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  • Written By: Christine Hudson
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 09 September 2019
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Intermediary metabolism is an important part of the working human body. This term refers to the complexity of the mechanism by which cells use glucose. It is basically the reason why a person who eats too many sweets or is not active usually gains weight rapidly. The way glucose, obtained from the food and drinks a person consumes, is distributed in the body is determined by his or her intermediary metabolism. Just as with regular metabolism, the faster intermediary metabolism is, the faster glucose is distributed and burned off.

This metabolism includes the intermediate steps in which food is metabolized and converted into cellular components or burned from the body. This is the means by which the body derives energy, and vitamins and minerals must be consumed in order to keep the metabolic process in the body working normally. When there is a lack or imbalance in this process, it begins to show itself as the person starts to gain weight.


Eating unhealthily may be a cause for the intermediary metabolism in the body to slow over time. Meals are recommended to be based around fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole foods for the best results and to avoid changing the intermediary metabolic rate. There are also certain ailments which have been known to have an effect here. This is because a number of different enzymes may compete to modify the same molecule when a person is unhealthy or when her nervous and immune systems are thrown off. This may cause a change in the reaction of the intermediary metabolism functions.

When a person lives an inactive or sedentary lifestyle, there is a direct and negative effect on the metabolism and intermediary metabolism. For this reason, it is highly recommended that a person strive to eat healthily and get enough physical activity to counteract glucose and caloric intake. Otherwise, a person may put her health in jeopardy and possibly change her metabolism rate permanently. When a person takes care of himself and ensures he stays in the best of health, the metabolism rate stands a better chance of functioning normally.

It is also possible that certain medications will have an effect on the intermediary metabolism. Those which slow the metabolism may be counteracted with a better diet and more exercise. Supplements may help a person regain normal metabolism functions, but are generally not an adequate substitute for healthy life practices such as aerobic exercise and less sugar intake.


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Post 2

@runner101 - I had just started looking at vitamin b, B12 (in particular) supplements and I read that vitamin B12 functions as a coenzyme in none other than intermediary metabolism!

Though I can't say that fact means it helps your intermediary metabolism or speeds it up but I would think so...

Post 1

I played soccer with girl who no matter what she tried to eat she could not gain weight; so while she was trying to gain weight we were all wishing for her metabolism! Though I understand her wanting to gain weight (you get tired of being pushed around on the soccer field) I always wondered what about her metabolism worked so well.

Now I wonder if her intermediary metabolism pathways for distributing glucose were extremely efficient.

I do not have the same metabolism that my teammate had but I try to maintain an active lifestyle to avoid a sedentary lifestyle, which I knew would affect my general metabolism, but now know it would also affect my intermediary metabolism.

Are there any vitamins or supplements that can also help your intermediary metabolism?

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