The Best Biochemistry Book: Learn the Chemistry of Life

The Best Biochemistry Book: Learn the Chemistry of Life

People can become quite frustrated when it comes to choosing the course of their education and the career they are going to pursue.

Whatever your career plans may be, you should not only try to find the best study programs and books and earn a degree but it is also essential to try and backup that degree with a reasonable amount of experience and some related skills.

Biochemistry might be a great choice as it helps you become proactive and truly engage with the world around you.

If you are interested in biochemistry, there are a great college and university programs you can enroll to, but you can also pursue your passion for this branch of science on your own – all you need is a good book that will help you understand the fascinating world of biochemistry to the best of your possibilities.

Here are the best biochemistry books written so far and my personal opinions on them. But, first things first.




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Biochemistry Defined

Before we move on to the list of five best biochemistry books, let’s make sure that we all understand what the biochemistry is and how it has developed to this day.

Biochemistry is the branch of science which examines the chemical processes that occur within all the living organisms.

We can, therefore, say that biochemistry is the chemistry of life.

In essence, it is a fusion of biology and chemistry and is mostly based on laboratory experiments and research. Biochemists use their knowledge in chemistry to apply different techniques and resolve numerous biological problems.

Biochemistry helps us understand the world by defining processes which take place on a molecular level or inside the cells. Thanks to the biochemistry, we have learned how the structure of a molecule correlates to its function as well as how the molecules interact with each other.

It also helped us understand how our cells fight diseases such as viruses or infections, but also how they communicate during our growth or development.

Still cannot understand what biochemistry is?

Watch this video.

What scientific disciplines are covered by biochemistry?

Biochemistry is a broad term as this science covers an array of scientific disciplines such as:

General Topics in Biochemistry

Every science is more or less related to the biochemistry as biochemistry is everywhere around us. It is therefore not easy to define the topics in biochemistry.

You already know that biochemistry aims to explain the processes of life and how various chemical reactions create or support life. Therefore, every ‘ology’ has something to do with this fascinating science; however, the general topics in biochemistry are the medicine, nutrition, molecular biology and plant, and animal biology.

The Short History of Biochemistry

Some of the first biochemistry projects were not yet classified as such as the term was coined later on. One such example is the study completed by Eduard Buchner in 1896 that explored alcoholic fermentation, the chemical processes that allow an organism to survive or create a new compound.

In 1903, Carl Neuberg, who is assumed to be the father of biochemistry, became the first man ever to use this term in the science world. His research aimed to explain cellular processes such as the transport of soluble chemicals in cells. Thanks to his finding, scientist and people alike could finally understand the processes (such as respiration) which are essential for the life of all living creatures.

Soon after, in the mid-1900s, biochemistry bloomed. Scientists have become more interested in the underlying processes behind life, and that resulted in the speedy development of medicine, nutrition, and microbiology.

The research has included a study related to the function of large chemical molecules such as carbohydrates, amino acids, and lipids as well as their correlation. These findings led to the understanding of the protein function and structure which opened the door for one of the most important discoveries in this field that took part in the 20th century – the discovery of deoxyribonucleic acid, or the DNA.

What Will You Do if You Become a Biochemist?

If you study biochemistry or become a biochemist, you will certainly have a better idea of how life works, and if you pursue a career in this field, you can also contribute by conducting research and experiments of your own.

Your ideas could help people understand how to prevent or fight off diseases, as well as how the food they eat can help them become a better version of themselves.

You could be working alongside chemists, health professionals, physicists, as well as engineers and numerous other professionals in an array of highly important institutions.

Where Do Biochemists Work?

If you choose to study biochemistry and become a professional, you could end up working in hospital laboratories, medical or biochemistry research institutes, but also in education at schools, colleges or universities.

You could be working on the development of drugs for numerous diseases, or in forensic laboratories investigating crimes. The cosmetic industry also has a place for biochemists, as well as the food industry.

The leading employers of biochemistry graduates are the Environment Agency, the National Health Service as well as public health laboratories, forensic science services, research institutes, and universities. Of course, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, agricultural, food, and water companies offer positions for biochemists as well.

The outlook of a career in biochemistry is quite good at this time. Furthermore, the developments and breakthroughs in this field are not only possible but would result in improving the quality of life of all people, what greater honor could you wish for?

What Should the Best Biochemistry Book Be Like?

It is hard to define what the best biochemistry book should be like as that depends on your personal needs. It should, however, definitely cover a broad range of subjects with a decent amount of depth.

Easy to follow and comprehend

Besides decent coverage, all the principles should be explained in such a manner that you can understand them with as little effort as possible and be able to use them and move forward to more advanced levels in a reasonable amount of time.

Well Illustrated

Illustrations and graphs are also important as visual learning is one of the best ways to acquire knowledge. Short quizzes are also a great way to check your comprehension and certify your knowledge.

Classic and Modern

The best biochemistry book should contain all the important research from the past as well as the modern findings in this field. Access to the online resource is a must for millennials as well.

Top 5 Biochemistry Books For College Students

Here are my top 5 recommended biochemistry books and my personal opinions of them. Check them out!

Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry – The Seventh Edition

by Albert L. Lehninger, David L. Nelson, Michael M. Cox – A Bestseller For A Reason

The seventh edition of Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry is truly one of the best books that deal with this subject and has deserved to be a bestseller. It offers clear and easy to follow explanations to all you need to know about biochemistry from the introduction of the human genome to a thorough understanding of the metabolic processes.

In comparison to the past editions, the content is somewhat simplified but also enhanced with a new and innovative graphical style. Besides explaining the never changing principles of biochemistry, the new edition includes groundbreaking new advances in this field and real-life case studies as well.

Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry is a great companion for any introductory biochemistry course because it offers clarity and coherence, comprehensive explanations of difficult concepts, but also enables you to solve problems on your own and master the new techniques.

There is just the right amount of information without the overpowering discussions or superfluous details plus access to online resources for further information that might interest you.




Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry


Biochemistry, the Eighth Edition

by Lubert Stryer, Jeremy M. Berg, John L. Tymoczko, Gregory J. Gatto Jr. – Visual Masterpiece

The eighth edition of this classic biochemistry book should definitely be on the list of the top five best biochemistry books due to the exceptional easy-to-grasp content. The writing is clear and easy to follow, adapted to the modern reader and yet true to the original text of Lubert Stryer.

The graphics are the true treasure this book has to offer but not its only asset. The book covers all the latest research techniques as well as the newest advances in this field. Everything is linked to real life, and the physiological and medical relevance is always drawn.

It offers assessable biochemistry case studies which will help you enhance your critical thinking skills and apply what you have learned.

The book is well organized but can sometimes overwhelm you with excess detail or distract you with too much wordiness. If you buy it with LaunchPad, you will be able to use an eBook, multimedia content and online assessment quizzes as well.





Biochemistry, the Eighth Edition


CliffsQuickReview Biochemistry I – 1st edition

by Frank Schmidt – A Great Small Companion

As the name of the book already suggests, CliffsQuickReview Biochemistry is a concise overview of the most important principles of biochemistry packed in a pocket size book. Therefore, if you study biochemistry, you can use this book only as a supplement together with your course book as it will help you put things in a perspective more easily.

The book presents the outline of biochemistry principles from basic biochemical structures to basic interactions, and a great number of comprehensive illustrations, figures, and formulas. The review questions are well thought of and will help you self-assess what you have learned.

The content is contemporary and paints a picture of the common origin and connections between all living creatures. It will make an understanding of genetic replication, biomolecular structure, biosynthetic and catabolic reactions much easier through a well-organized content.

There are no frivolously long words, but unfortunately, this book cannot replace your 1000+ words course book completely!





CliffsQuickReview Biochemistry I, 1st edition


Principles of Biochemistry – the 5th Edition

by Laurence A Moran, H. Robert Horton, K. Gray Scrimgeour, Marc D. Perry – A Good Resource, With Minor Flaws

The 5th edition of the Pearson’s Biochemistry does not offer some great changes such as improved key concept margin notes which highlight important information you should focus on, as well as new photos and ribbon art which illustrate the text. There are new further reading suggestions at the end of every chapter as well.

Principles of Biochemistry will inform you of everything you need to know in just about the right amount of detail and with great accuracy and clarity of exposition. Unfortunately, the proofreading was not given the same amount of attention, and there are grammar errors that might distract you. All the research included is contemporary, and the emphasis is on the experimental nature of this science.

The layout is user-friendly and easy to get by. The common procedure in this book is to first establish a framework of key principles, illustrate them and then explain their medical relevance or commercial applications. In this way, you are encouraged to understand the correlation between the structure and function rather than merely memorize facts.





Principles of Biochemistry - the 5th Edition


Biochemistry – the 4th Edition

by Donald Voet and Judith G. Voet – A Fantastic Book, But Not For Beginners

This expansive Biochemistry textbook requires some solid knowledge in chemistry, organic chemistry, as well as general biology. Understanding of basic biochemical concepts is also a must. Otherwise, this book will hit you like a ton of bricks! The amount of texts surpasses every other book reviewed here, and the figures and illustrations are almost equally detailed.

That being said, no other book will offer as much advanced content as this book. The biochemical concepts are explained in the utmost detail, and you are presented with a unified presentation of life as well as its variation through evolution. Both current and classical research are included.

The text might be massive, but the explanations are easy to follow and understand. If you are more of a visual learner, fear not as this book offers an array of very detailed figures and illustrations bursting with color. There are interactive exercises for you to assert your knowledge as well as Integrated Biochemical Interactions CD.





Biochemistry - the 4th Edition


The Best Biochemistry Book Is…

It is definitely Biochemistry, the 5th Edition by Donald Voet and Judith G. Voet as it is a true “gold standard” in Biochemistry textbooks. If you find it too overwhelming, any other book from the Top 5 list will do!

What do you think about my choice? Would you go with a different book for your upcoming college biochemistry course? Let me know in the comments below!

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