ATP: Energy Currency

Undoubtedly, the most important molecule in our body in terms of energy production is ATP (adenosine triphosphate: an adenyl nucleotide containing three residues of phosphoric acid and formed in the mitochondria).

In fact, every cell in our body retains and uses energy for biochemical reactions through ATP, so ATP can be considered a universal currency for biological energy. All living beings need continuous power supply to support the synthesis of protein and DNA, metabolism and transport of various ions and molecules, maintenance of vital functions of the body. Muscle fibers during strength training also require readily available energy. As already mentioned, energy for all these processes is supplied by ATP. However, in order to form ATP, our cells require raw materials. People get this raw material through calories by oxidizing the food they eat. To obtain energy, this food must first be processed into an easily used molecule – ATP.

Before use, the ATP molecule must pass through several phases.

First, with the help of special coenzyme, one of the three phosphates (each of which contains ten energy calories) is separated, thereby releasing a large amount of energy and forming the adenosine diphosphate (ADP) reaction product. If more energy is required, the next phosphate group is separated, forming adenosine monophosphate (AMP).

When rapid production of energy is not required, an inverse reaction occurs – with ADP, phosphogen and glycogen, the phosphate group rejoins the molecule, thereby forming ATP. This process involves the transfer of free phosphates to other substances in the muscles, such as glucose and creatine. At the same time, glucose is taken from the stores of glycogen and splits.

The energy obtained from this glucose helps to re-convert glucose into its original form, after which the free phosphates can be reattached to ADP to form a new ATP. After completion of the cycle, the newly created ATP is ready for the next use.

In essence, ATP acts as a molecular battery, saving energy when it is not needed, and releasing it if necessary. Indeed, ATP is similar to a fully rechargeable battery.

The ATP molecule consists of three components:

  • Ribose (the same five-carbon sugar that forms the basis of DNA)

The ribose molecule is located in the center of the ATP molecule, the edge of which serves as the base for adenosine.

A chain of three phosphates is located on the other side of the ribose molecule. ATP saturates long, thin fibers containing the protein myosin, which forms the basis of our muscle cells.

In an average adult human body, about 200-300 moles of ATP are used daily (mole is a chemical term for the amount of substance in a system that contains as many elementary particles as there are carbon atoms in 0,012 kg of carbon-12 isotope). The total amount of ATP in the body at each individual moment is 0,1 moles. This means that ATP should be reused 2000-3000 once a day. ATP can not be saved, so the level of its synthesis is almost equal to the level of consumption.

In view of the importance of ATP from an energy point of view, and because of its wide use in the body, there are various ways of producing ATP. These are three different biochemical systems. Consider them in order:

When the muscles have a short but intense period of activity (about 8-10 seconds), a phosphagenic system is used – ATP is combined with creatine phosphate. Phosphagenic system ensures the constant circulation of a small amount of ATP in our muscle cells.

Muscle cells also contain high-energy phosphate-creatine phosphate, which is used to restore the level of ATP after a short-term, high-intensity activity. The creatine kinase enzyme removes the phosphate group from creatine phosphate and quickly transfers it to ADP to form ATP. So, the muscle cell turns ATP into ADP, and phosphogen quickly restores ADP to ATP. The level of creatine phosphate begins to decrease already in 10 seconds of high intensity activity, and the energy level drops. An example of the work of a phosphagenic system is, for example, a sprint at 100 meters.

System of glycogen and lactic acid

The glycogen and lactic acid system supplies the body with energy at a slower rate than the phosphagenic system, although it works relatively quickly and provides enough ATP for about 90 seconds of high intensity activity. In this system, lactic acid is formed from glucose in muscle cells as a result of anaerobic metabolism.

Given the fact that in an anaerobic state the body does not use oxygen, this system gives short-term energy without activation of the cardio-respiratory system in the same way as the aerobic system, but with time savings. Moreover, when the muscles work quickly in anaerobic mode, they are powerfully reduced, they block the flow of oxygen, because the vessels are compressed.

This system is sometimes called anaerobic breathing, and a good example in this case is the 400-meter sprint.

If physical activity lasts more than a minute, an aerobic system is included in the work, and the muscles receive ATP first from carbohydrates, then from fat and finally from amino acids (proteins). The protein is used to produce energy mainly in conditions of hunger (diets in some cases).

In aerobic respiration, the production of ATP passes most slowly, but the energy is enough to maintain physical activity for several hours. This is because, in aerobic respiration, glucose breaks down into carbon dioxide and water without experiencing resistance from lactic acid in the glycogen and lactic acid system. Glycogen (accumulated form of glucose) in aerobic respiration comes from three sources:

  1. Absorption of glucose from food in the gastrointestinal tract, which through the circulatory system gets into the muscles.

If you ever thought about where we get the energy to perform a variety of activities under different conditions, then the answer will be – mainly due to ATF. This complex molecule assists in converting various food components into easily used energy.

Without ATP our body simply could not function. Thus, the role of ATP in the production of energy is multifaceted, but at the same time simple.

Hello, I'm here for your advice. There is a suspicion that after intensive training with heavy weights, retinal detachment began. I decided to take a one-week break, but 8-week training began as three weeks ago, how can I spend this restful week profitably so as not to lose muscle and continue the 8-week course?

Hello, how can I build a pure dry muscle mass? Without fat? Weight is but a little is not enough, I would not like to add muscle to fat and lose the existing relief?

Hello, why did you stop printing new articles?

Hello. New articles are planned to be released after the holidays.

Hello, I wanted to ask advice. What exercises can increase the thickness of the back, not width, and thickness, taking into account the fact that the hall is not very rich in simulators?


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