The roles of carbohydrate in the body includes providing energy for working muscles, providing fuel for
the central nervous system, enabling fat metabolism, and preventing protein from being used as
energy. Carbohydrate is the preferred source of energy or fuel for muscle contraction and biologic
Foods containing carbohydrate are in the grains, fruit, and milk groups. Vegetables have a small
amount of carbohydrate.
After carbohydrate is eaten, it is broken down into smaller units of sugar (including glucose, fructose
and galactose) in the stomach and small intestine. These small units of sugar are absorbed in the small
intestine and then enter the bloodstream where they travel to the liver. Fructose and galactose are
converted to glucose by the liver. Glucose is the carbohydrate transported by the bloodstream to the
various tissues and organs, including the muscles and the brain, where it will be used as energy.

Carbohydrate spares the use of protein as an energy source. When
carbohydrate consumption is inadequate, protein is broken down to make glucose to maintain a
constant blood glucose level. However, when proteins are broken down they lose their primary role as
building blocks for muscles. In addition, protein breakdown may result in an increased stress on the
kidneys, where protein byproducts are excreted into the urine.
Finally, glucose is essential for the central nervous system. The brain primarily uses glucose as its
energy source, and a lack of glucose can result in weakness, dizziness, and low blood glucose
(hypoglycemia). Reduced blood glucose during exercise decreases performance and could lead to
mental as well as physical fatigue.
Carbohydrates in the Body
All living cells contain glucose. For glucose to enter the cells it needs help from a hormone called
insulin. Insulin acts as gatekeeper and is released once carbohydrate is ingested. It signals the cells to
absorb the glucose. The glucose is then used for energy, stored in the liver and the muscles as
glycogen, or stored as fat.

Glycogen stores are essential
for athletic performance, because they serve as an energy reservoir when blood glucose levels are
decreased due to high intensity exercise or inadequate carbohydrate intake. Glycogen stores become
depleted as the intensity and duration of the exercise increases. It is imperative for the athlete,
whether a sprinter or endurance athlete, to restore glycogen by consuming carbohydrate on a regular

In contrast. . waxes and steroids (like cortisone). Lipids are an important component of living cells. the low carbohydrate diet (black line) did not replenish the glycogen and subsequent bouts of training decreased glycogen stores progressively. and 25 grams circulate in the blood as glucose. glycogen stores are used to raise blood glucose levels. and glycolipids. Glycogen stores are a readily available source of energy to support the demands of physical activity and exercise.2. The number of carbon atoms are almost always an even number and are usually unbranched. neutral fats. Fats (and the fatty acids from which they are made) belong to this group as do other steroids. waxes. phospholipids forming cell membrane components etc. and chloroform. For prolonged high intensity exercise. approximately 400 grams are stored as muscle glycogen. Lipids include fatty acids. Cholesterol and triglycerides are lipids.3-trihydroxypropane) and 3 fatty acids to form a triester. Lipids are easily stored in the body. one receiving a low carbohydrate diet and the other a high carbohydrate diet. Glycogen stores are optimized by consuming a high carbohydrate diet (~60% of total kcal from carbohydrates). Fatty acids Fatty acids are long chain carboxylic acids (typically 16 or more carbon atoms) which may or may not contain carbon-carbon double bonds. Fats and oils are composed of triacylglycerols or triglycerides.basis. The diagram below shows the impact of diet on muscle glycogen content throughout 3 days with 2 hour training bouts (indicated by the dotted lines) daily. E. glycolipids and phospholipids. These include neutral fats. it cannot borrow glycogen from other resting muscles. Because glycogen is readily used as fuel source during exercise. When the body needs more glucose than is available in bloodstream to support energy demands. Lipids are molecules that can be extracted from plants and animals using nonpolar solvents such as ether. However. ether. it is important to optimize glycogen stores before exercise and replenish them after exercise. Eat more fruit. and grains to include more carbohydrate in the diet. Hydrolyzable/Non-hydrolyzable lipids Lipids that contain a functional group ester are hydrolysable in water.g. For low intensity exercise (distance running etc. A. With the high carbohydrate diet (red line). glycogen stores can provide energy for approximately 20 minutes. Compound lipids (lipids complexed with another type of chemical compound) comprise the lipoproteins. Triglycerides are found in blood tests. vegetables. Nonhydrolyzable lipids lack such functional groups and include steroids and fat-soluble vitamins (e. Together with carbohydrates and proteins. They serve as a source of fuel and are an important constituent of the structure of cells. it is important to note that the glycogen stored in muscle is used directly by that muscle during exercise. These are composed of glycerol (1. Of this. phospholipids.) glycogen stores can last as long as 90 minutes. Athletes on the low carbohydrate diet most likely had very little energy in the final 2-hour exercise bout. chloroform and acetone.) A lipid is chemically defined as a substance that is insoluble in water and soluble in alcohol. For diet recommendations see Pre/During/Post game meal. Complete hydrolysis of triacylglycerols yields three fatty acids and a glycerol molecule. Athletes were divided into two groups. LIPIDS Lipid: Another word for "fat. 90-110 grams as liver glycogen. Oleic acid is the most abundant fatty acid in nature. D. glycogen levels were almost completely replenished after each training bout. How quickly glycogen stores might be depleted depends on the duration and intensity of the exercise." (Please see the various meanings of fat. A well-nourished adult can store approximately 500 grams or 2000 kcal of carbohydrates. and K). lipids are the main constituents of plant and animal cells.

Thus the boiling points of unsaturated fats is lower. with the remainder being proteins. which is not found in plant cells. The main biological functions of lipids include storing energy as lipids may be broken down to yield large amounts of energy. oils are mainly present in plants and sometimes in fish. There are. some essential lipids that need to be obtained from the diet. Synthesis and function of lipids in the body Lipids are utilized or synthesized from the dietary fats. There are in addition numerous biosynthetic pathways to both break down and synthesize lipids in the body. Oleic acid is monounsaturated. Mono/poly unsaturated and saturated Those fatty acids with no carbon-carbon double bonds are called saturated. fats are mainly present in animals. however. Unsaturated fats assume a particular geometry that prevents the molecules from packing as efficiently as they do in saturated molecules.The membrane that surrounds a cell is made up of proteins and lipids. Saturated fats are typically solids and are derived from animals. Oils are triglycerides that appear as a liquid at room temperature. Lipids also form the structural components of cell membranes and form various messengers and signalling molecules within the body. while unsaturated fats are liquids and usually extracted from plants. lipids can make up anywhere from 20 to 80 percent of the membrane. Cholesterol. is a type of lipid that helps stiffen the membrane. Fat is the name given to a class of triglycerides that appear as solid or semisolid at room temperature. Image Credit: National Institute of General Medical Sciences Waxes/fats and oils These are esters with long-chain carboxylic acids and long-alcohols. Nucleic acids . Depending on the membrane’s location and role in the body. Those that have two or more double bonds are called polyunsaturated.

showing the helices and nucleobases each employs. where they function in encoding.[2] Nucleic acids are biopolymers. or genetic information via protein synthesis. the polymer is RNA. a phosphate group.[1] Later. and a nitrogenous base. or large biomolecules. If the sugar is ribose. transmitting and expressing genetic information—in other words. Each nucleotide has three components: a 5-carbon sugar. Nucleic acids. information is conveyed through the nucleic acid sequence. Strings of nucleotides strung together in a specific sequence are the mechanism for storing and transmitting hereditary. .A comparison of the two principal nucleic acids: RNA (left) and DNA (right). are made from monomers known as nucleotides. The Swiss scientist Friedrich Miescher discovered nucleic acids (DNA) in 1869. the polymer is DNA. Together with proteins. he raised the idea that they could be involved in heredity. essential for all known forms of life. or the order of nucleotides within a DNA or RNA molecule. nucleic acids are the most important biological macromolecules. If the sugar is deoxyribose. which include DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and RNA (ribonucleic acid). each are found in abundance in all living things.

[14] for example peptide nucleic acids. [11] The basic component of biological nucleic acids is the nucleotide. plasmids. This gives nucleic acids directionality. as well as a wide range of complex tertiary interactions.[19] Nucleic acids are linear polymers (chains) of nucleotides. and guanine are found in both RNA and DNA.[3] Experimental studies of nucleic acids constitute a major part of modern biological and medical research. Well-studied biological nucleic acid molecules range in size from 21 nucleotides (small interfering RNA) to large chromosomes (human chromosome 1 is a single molecule that contains 247 million base pairs[16]). [20] Topology Double-stranded nucleic acids are made up of complementary sequences.[18] and. The sugars and phosphates in nucleic acids are connected to each other in an alternating chain (sugarphosphate backbone) through phosphodiester linkages. Molecular composition and size[15] Nucleic acids are generally very large molecules. [22] Nucleic acid molecules are usually unbranched. Nucleic acid types differ in the structure of the sugar in their nucleotides–DNA contains 2'-deoxyribose while RNA contains ribose (where the only difference is the presence of a hydroxyl group).Nucleic acids were discovered by Friedrich Miescher in 1869. however—some viruses have genomes made of doublestranded RNA and other viruses have single-stranded DNA genomes. single-stranded RNA and DNA molecules are not constrained to a regular double helix. Transfer RNA (tRNA) molecules contain a particularly large number of modified nucleosides. [9] Although first discovered within the nucleus of eukaryotic cells. in some circumstances. mitochondria. and a nucleobase. a phosphate group. members of a family of biopolymers.[12] Nucleic acids are also generated within the laboratory. the carbons to which the phosphate groups attach are the 3'-end and the 5'-end carbons of the sugar. but usually not both. and form a foundation for genome and forensic science.[17] There are numerous exceptions. as well as the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.[21] In contrast. cytosine. archaea. viruses and viroids. chloroplasts. each of which contains a pentose sugar (ribose or deoxyribose). and can adopt highly complex three-dimensional structures that are based on short stretches of intramolecular base-paired sequences that include both Watson-Crick and noncanonical base pairs.[15] In conventional nomenclature.[8] and is synonymous with polynucleotide. the nucleobases found in the two nucleic acid types are different: adenine. The chemical methods also enable the generation of altered nucleic acids that are not found in nature. a pentose sugar. The nucleobases are joined to the sugars via an N-glycosidic linkage involving a nucleobase ring nitrogen (N-1 for pyrimidines and N-9 for purines) and the 1' carbon of the pentose sugar ring. in which extensive WatsonCrick base pairing results in a highly repeated and quite uniform double-helical three-dimensional structure. Non-standard nucleosides are also found in both RNA and DNA and usually arise from modification of the standard nucleosides within the DNA molecule or the primary (initial) RNA transcript. Also.[7] Nucleic acid sequences Main article: Nucleic acid sequence . but both circular and branched molecules can result from RNA splicing reactions. mitochondrial DNA and chloroplast DNA are usually circular double-stranded DNA molecules. DNA molecules are probably the largest individual molecules known. In most cases. nucleic acids are now known to be found in all life forms as well as some nonliving entities. nucleic acid structures with three or four strands can form. Nucleic acids were named for their initial discovery within the nucleus. and the ends of nucleic acid molecules are referred to as 5'-end and 3'-end.[4][5][6] Occurrence and nomenclature[7] The term nucleic acid is the overall name for DNA and RNA. including within bacteria. and may occur as linear and circular molecules. and for the presence of phosphate groups (related to phosphoric acid).[11] Most RNA molecules are linear. The substructure consisting of a nucleobase plus sugar is termed a nucleoside. while viruses contain either DNA or RNA. Each nucleotide consists of three components: a purine or pyrimidine nucleobase (sometimes termed nitrogenous base or simply base). Indeed. while thymine occurs in DNA and uracil occurs in RNA. through the use of enzymes[13] (DNA and RNA polymerases) and by solid-phase chemical synthesis. single-stranded molecules. and a phosphate group.[10] All living cells contain both DNA and RNA (except some cells such as mature red blood cells). bacterial chromosomes. while chromosomes of the eukaryotic nucleus are usually linear double-stranded DNA molecules. For example. naturally occurring DNA molecules are double-stranded and RNA molecules are singlestranded.

the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI. bases). Within the chromosomes. Artificial nucleic acid analogs Main article: Nucleic acid analogues Artificial nucleic acid analogs have been designed and synthesized by chemists. Nucleotide sequences are of great importance in biology since they carry the ultimate instructions that encode all biological molecules. The DNA segments carrying this genetic information are called genes.and locked nucleic acid. helping control which parts of the DNA are transcribed.nih. molecular assemblies. fungi. Eukaryotic organisms (animals. Enormous efforts have gone into the development of experimental methods to determine the nucleotide sequence of biological DNA and RNA molecules.One DNA or RNA molecule differs from another primarily in the sequence of nucleotides. providing each cell its own complete set of chromosomes. antiparallel. http://www. directing protein synthesis. In addition to maintaining the GenBank nucleic acid sequence database. DNA consists of two long polymers of simple units called nucleotides. as well as glycol nucleic acid and threose nucleic acid.[23][24] and today hundreds of millions of nucleotides are sequenced daily at genome centers and smaller laboratories worldwide. and include peptide nucleic provides analysis and retrieval resources for the data in GenBank and other biological data made available through the NCBI Web site [25] Types of nucleic acids Deoxyribonucleic acid Main article: DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a nucleic acid containing the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . Each of these is distinguished from naturally occurring DNA or RNA by changes to the backbone of the molecule . many other classes of RNA are now known. other DNA sequences have structural purposes. and catalyzes peptide bond formation. During cell division these chromosomes are duplicated in the process of DNA replication. with backbones made of sugars and phosphate groups joined by ester bonds. Likewise. and directly enable cognition. It is the sequence of these four nucleobases along the backbone that encodes information.ncbi. morpholino. Within cells DNA is organized into long structures called chromosomes. This information is read using the genetic code. The code is read by copying stretches of DNA into the related nucleic acid RNA in a process called transcription. subcellular and cellular structures. memory and behavior (See: Genetics). Attached to each sugar is one of four types of molecules called nucleobases (informally. and ribosomal RNA (rRNA). In addition. DNA is one of the three major macromolecules that are essential for all known forms of life. which specifies the sequence of the amino acids within proteins. or are involved in regulating the use of this genetic information. plants. Ribosomal RNA is a major component of the ribosome. and protists) store most of their DNA inside the cell nucleus and some of their DNA in organelles. such as mitochondria or chloroplasts. and is responsible for decoding the mRNA. therefore.[1] In contrast. organs and organisms.nlm. The three universal types of RNA include transfer RNA (tRNA). Along with RNA and proteins. chromatin proteins such as histones compact and organize DNA. These two strands run in opposite directions to each other and are. prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea) store their DNA only in the cytoplasm. Messenger RNA acts to carry genetic sequence information between DNA and ribosomes. Transfer RNA serves as the carrier molecule for amino acids to be used in protein synthesis. Ribonucleic acid Main article: RNA Ribonucleic acid (RNA) functions in converting genetic information from genes into the amino acid sequences of proteins. messenger RNA (mRNA). These compact structures guide the interactions between DNA and other proteins.

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