Energy Metabolism Is Important For The Maintenance Of Life

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Energy metabolism is a process that is essential in the maintenance of life and has obvious roles with regards to sporting/exercise performance. The body can produce energy both aerobically and anaerobically and the regulatory mechanisms underlying these pathways of energy modulation are complex (40). Under aerobic conditions the Krebs cycle is crucial for energy production, the hydrogen’s removed during the cycle are transferred to the electron transport chain and the energy released during electron transport is utilised in the formation of ATP (1). Oxygen’s role in aerobic respiration is to act as the final hydrogen/electron accepter to form water. If this is not present the whole aerobic pathway cannot occur and so the body will rely on energy produced anaerobically. The question instantly raised is to whether oxygen is ever in short supply, does it become a limiting factor for energy metabolism? Or are other factors limiting? Can increasing or maintaining NAD+ concentrations sustain the action of the Krebs cycle and bring about the continuation of oxidative phosphorylation and therefore reducing build up of lactate as a consequence? If this hypothesis were to be true then this could have advantageous implications in sporting performance (Fig. 1).
Arterial oxygen content does not decrease at exercise intensities <75% of VO2max (49). VO2max is a measure of the ability of working muscles to oxidise metabolic substrates, with eventually a plateau in oxygen uptake occurring
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