5 Facts about cellular nutrition

Feeding is a vital need, so it is for any living being. Every time an organism is obtaining food, it is directly nourishing its cells so that they continue to develop and fulfill their functions. In this way, the body will function as best as possible and will continue to fulfill its vital functions until it completes its life cycle.

If you want to learn more about what cellular nutrition is and its phases , continue reading this interesting article.

What is cellular nutrition

Cells need to obtain nutrition in order to perform their functions optimally. Through nutrition, every cell obtains matter and energy to grow, replenish itself and divide .

Living organisms can be autotrophs or heterotrophs. Autotrophic beings are all those with the ability to produce their own food, while heterotrophic beings need to satisfy this need using matter from other living beings, since they are incapable of synthesizing it to feed themselves.

The cellular nutrition process is similar to that described. Autotrophic cells can manufacture or synthesize food from organic compounds with the help of solar energy. Autotrophs need to use organic foods that have already gone through the manufacturing process by other organisms, and only then can they synthesize the matter that gives them energy.

Plants are characterized by being autotrophic beings, but all animals, bacteria and fungi are heterotrophic organisms.


Cellular nutrition is the process by which cells obtain and utilize nutrients to support their growth, metabolism, and overall function. Here are some facts about cellular nutrition:

  1. Nutrient Absorption: Cells obtain nutrients from the extracellular environment. Different types of cells have specific mechanisms for nutrient absorption. For example, intestinal cells have specialized structures called microvilli that increase their surface area for efficient absorption of nutrients from the digestive tract.
  2. Nutrient Transport: Once absorbed, nutrients are transported across the cell membrane into the cytoplasm. This is often facilitated by specific transport proteins or channels that allow the passage of specific nutrients. For example, glucose is transported into cells through glucose transporters.
  3. Metabolism: Once inside the cell, nutrients are metabolized to provide energy and raw materials for cellular processes. For example, glucose is broken down through a series of chemical reactions in cellular respiration to produce ATP, the cell’s main energy currency.
  4. Essential Nutrients: Cells require a variety of essential nutrients for proper function. These include carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, vitamins, minerals, and water. Carbohydrates provide energy, proteins are involved in cell structure and function, lipids are important for membrane formation and energy storage, vitamins and minerals serve as cofactors in biochemical reactions, and water is necessary for maintaining cellular hydration and facilitating chemical reactions.
  5. Nutrient Storage: Cells can store excess nutrients for later use. For example, liver cells store excess glucose in the form of glycogen, which can be broken down to release glucose when needed. Adipose (fat) cells store excess lipids as triglycerides for energy storage.
  6. Nutrient Deficiencies: Inadequate intake or absorption of nutrients can lead to nutrient deficiencies, which can negatively impact cellular function and overall health. For example, vitamin C deficiency can impair collagen synthesis, leading to weakened connective tissues and impaired wound healing.

In summary, cellular nutrition involves the absorption, transport, and metabolism of nutrients by cells. It is essential for providing energy and raw materials for cellular processes, supporting growth, and maintaining overall cellular function. Nutrient deficiencies can have detrimental effects on cellular health and the body as a whole.

Phases of cellular nutrition

In general, the nutrition process of a cell consists of a series of phases, which are ingestion, permeability, endocytosis, digestion, metabolism and excretion.

Ingestion or uptake

Nutrients, fluids, proteins and other essential molecules are introduced into the cell through two processes: by permeability or by endocytosis.

  • Permeability: tiny molecules cross the plasma membrane and enter directly into the cytoplasm.
  • Endocytosis: in this process, the cell envelops the nutrient to ingest it. The cell membrane curves and forms a kind of mouth that pushes the particle, surrounds it and allows it to be ingested.

There are two basic types of endocytosis; In phagocytosis the particles are large and are enveloped by two extensions of the cytoplasm called pseudopodia, forming a digestive bag or vacuole. Pinocytosis is a similar process, with the difference that the particles are smaller and remain dissolved in liquids. In this case, pinocytic bags or vacuoles are formed.

Any endocytosis process requires a modest expenditure of energy. In eukaryotic cells, nutrition is assisted by proteins called dynamins and lipids.

Once the cell membrane begins to take a curved shape, the dynamins and lipids are positioned together, subsequently the lipids move in such a way that the agglomeration is slowly relieved, that is, the separation between dynamins and lipids increases. As this occurs the membrane continues to curve and forms the mouth-shaped structure that will surround the nutrient.

Protozoa called paramecia feed in a very interesting way. In these organisms that inhabit aquatic environments, the cilia that emerge from an orifice move continuously until they produce a whirlpool in the water, which carries the nutritional particles with it until they are brought closer to the organism. In this way it can ingest them through phagocytosis.


The molecules break down into smaller particles and are transformed into other substances. To understand it better: organelles called lysosomes release enzymes that act on nutrients and these end up converted into molecules that are easily used to obtain energy.


In this phase, cells process nutrient molecules. Complex molecules are broken down to produce energy and the cell uses this to make other complex molecules and to carry out functions such as respiration.


Substances that are not useful are expelled.

Unlike animals, plants are autotrophic organisms. The nutrition of plant cells is a process that begins when the plant captures substances from water and soil through the roots and ingests the nutrients through phagocytosis or by passing them through the plasma membrane.

Cellular nutrition is an essential part of the growth and health of living beings. Researchers believe that if, for example, endocytosis is performed incorrectly or abnormally, there is a probability of suffering from diseases such as leukemia and Alzheimer’s.

Nutrients necessary for cellular nutrition

Organisms need different types of nutrients . For example, these are some of the nutrients that our body needs for the nutrition of cells:

  • carbohydrates
  • Proteins
  • Fats
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins
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