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7 Absolute Best Biochemistry Textbooks

William Cohen
Published by William Cohen
Last Updated On: December 31, 2021

Whether you’re an undergraduate or graduate student preparing for your exam or getting ready for the MCAT, you need a good biochem textbook to help you achieve your goal.

Here’s what you should know about each one to make your choice.

 

Table of Contents
Editor's Choice
Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry
Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry
Price
4.5
Score Improvement Rating
5.0
Beginner Friendly
5.0
Enjoyability
4.5
Overall Score
4.8
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#2nd Best Choice
Voet’s Fundamentals of Biochemistry
Voet’s Fundamentals of Biochemistry
Price
4.5
Score Improvement Rating
4.0
Beginner Friendly
4.0
Enjoyability
4.5
Overall Score
4.3
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#3rd Best Choice
Garrett Grishman Biochemistry
Garrett Grishman Biochemistry
Price
5.0
Score Improvement Rating
4.0
Beginner Friendly
3.0
Enjoyability
4.0
Overall Score
4.0
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Our Top Biochemistry Products

1 - Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry

Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry

Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry is a must-have for an intro biochem course.

Many professional and medical schools use it to teach introductory biochemistry.

For example, the University of Cambridge lists it as one of the leading general biochemistry texts [1].

This book will give you all the clarity and comprehension you need to pass your biochemistry course successfully.

It has full-color illustrations, and it’s 1300 pages long.

It makes the book an excellent resource for anyone wanting to get familiar with biochem processes and also for professionals doing biochem research.

With clear writing, detailed explanation of challenging concepts, new techniques, and important discoveries, Albert Lehninger made this book indispensable for biochem students.

Today, its 7th edition remains a best-seller for an introductory biochemistry course, and maintaining the original quality.

David Nelson and Michael Cox expand on Lehninger’s work.

They offer an updated survey of the most important principles in biochem and add new findings without overwhelming by details.

If you’re just encountering biochem and have little knowledge, this book’s clear writing and careful explanations will help you.

Note: This is also a great choice for medical students, or students studying for the MCAT, as it has medicine boxes throughout the chapters which correlate biochemistry to diseases.

Pros
  • Full-color illustrations
  • Detailed explanations
  • Up to date research and reviews
  • A good resource for medical students
Cons
  • Some versions have missing pages

2 - Voet’s Fundamentals of Biochemistry

Voet’s Fundamentals of Biochemistry

My choice #2 is Voet’s Fundamentals of Biochemistry.

It’s another highly acclaimed book, and it focuses on structural biology and bioinformatics.

Topics related to science, such as biochemical processes and principles of biochemistry, should be explained in a straightforward manner.

This book achieves this very well and explains how the biochem foundation is rooted in chemistry.

The book is currently in its 5th edition, and it provides new pedagogy, balanced coverage, and even pacing.

Another advantage it provides is excellent graphics, which goes a long way if you’re a visual learner.

Finally, the book also focuses on human health, which is a great feature for medical and undergraduate students.

Pros
  • Provides evenly paced, balanced coverage of key concepts
  • Has a lot of practice problems
  • Makes readers think about the future challenges in science
Cons
  • Bad binding, the book may fall apart quickly

3 - Garrett Grishman Biochemistry

Garrett Grishman Biochemistry

The authors of this biochem textbook, Garrett and Grishman, wanted to show how useful biochem is in everyday life, and they have succeeded.

This is mostly done through the book organization. Garrett Grishman Biochemistry is organized in an innovative way, which helps guide you through the key concepts more easily.

Another significant feature is that the book is integrated with OWLv2, an online learning system for chemistry with book-specific end-of-chapter material.

It helps students be more engaged and is a great tool in mastering the fundamental concepts and achieving higher grades.

The most recent book edition is updated to include revised, streamlined presentations and new materials.

It is a good choice if you’re a medical student, as it also goes into basic chemistry and biochemistry principles.

Note: If you’re a complete beginner, this may not be the biochemistry textbook for you.

You’ll struggle to understand the vocabulary, and it goes into a lot of detail while assuming you have previous knowledge.

If, however, you have several years of studying chemistry, you’ll love this one.

Pros
  • Streamlined and revised presentation
  • End-of-chapter questions
  • Integrated with OWL learning
Cons
  • Requires previous knowledge, not for beginners

4 - Molecular Cell Biology

Molecular Cell Biology

The authors of Molecular Cell Biology are well-known researchers and teachers.

They based their approach to biochemistry on experiments and clinical applications. It makes the study matter more interesting to students.

It is another excellent biochemistry textbook if you’re a medical student.

The book uses medical examples where appropriate to show the connection between cell biology and human health and diseases.

The book talks about experiments that define how we understand cell biology.

These breakthroughs define the field of biochemistry and also point to what could happen in the future, which makes it more interesting for the students.

However, if you’re a complete beginner and unfamiliar with the field, you should look for other biochemistry books.

This book is comprehensive but written in a very concise style, at a postgraduate or graduate level.

You’ll have to focus a lot and need a working knowledge of organic and biochemistry, and genetics to understand the material.

Pros
  • Clearly written and concise
  • Excellent illustrations
  • Has compelling arguments
Cons
  • Too wordy and dense

5 - Miesfeld McEvoy Biochemistry

Miesfeld McEvoy Biochemistry

The authors of this biochemistry textbook intended that teachers can use it as a teaching tool and students as a learning tool.

Miesfeld McEvoy Biochemistry is a good choice for a biochemistry course because it helps you clearly understand biochemical concepts by building on top of each other.

This approach resulted in highly readable chapters.

The book won’t bore you with excruciating details about every single thing in biochem but has enough details to help you understand the topic.

Moreover, it helps you build a long-term understanding that won’t go away as soon as you pass the course.

It doesn’t mean the book isn’t detailed, because it is.

Not all explanations are easy to follow, but the text is followed by high-quality graphical representations that help you make sense of it.

I liked how tables of content are processed as a whole, and then in each chapter, the authors show how these processes apply to everyday life.

Pros
  • Great tool for self-study as it doesn’t focus on unimportant details
  • Has a variety of photographs, charts, and illustrations
  • Includes real-life examples from nature
Cons
  • Too difficult to understand without pictures

6 - Fundamentals of Biochemistry

Fundamentals of Biochemistry

Fundamentals of Biochemistry is another book by Voet, but it’s the 4th edition. It mostly focuses on bioinformatics.

The authors wanted to challenge the readers to understand better the reactions that happen in living systems.

The 4th edition covers all the recent research and also has a greater focus on preparing students throughout the course.

The book aims to get students familiar with biochemistry by starting with the DNA information and going through the protein function such as ATP synthesis.

The chemical details of cellular structure and metabolic function are also covered, and students are taught how to explore molecular images.

The book is well-written, and it’s clear a lot of thought has been put into its structure.

The 1400 page book has over 3000 figures, which helps students understand all the details and the research focus.

Pros
  • Great resource for postdoctoral researchers because of strong research emphasis
  • Clear definitions
  • Descriptions accompanied by images
Cons
  • Students report receiving books with broken spines

7 - Harper’s Illustrated Biochemistry

Harper’s Illustrated Biochemistry

Harper’s Illustrated Biochemistry is currently in its 31st edition, which tells a lot. If it’s been around for that long, it must be a good biochemistry textbook.

The 31st edition focuses on the link between chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology, and medical biochemistry.

Medical biochemistry helps readers understand the link between states of disease, pathology, and the clinical practice of medicine.

It talks about biochemistry’s enduring principles and accompanies them with full-color illustrations, which help students understand basic science.

Even if you aren’t a fan of biochemistry, you’ll find this book useful because it explains basic science, critical concepts and delves into organic chemistry.

Pros
  • Each chapter starts with the clinical significance of biochemistry
  • Illustrations help understand definitive discoveries
  • Good for medical students as it related biochemistry to clinical medicine
Cons
  • Written by multiple authors, so it lacks congruence

How to Choose a Biochemistry Textbook

hand view of a person choosing a book from shelf

Here’s what you should consider when choosing the best biochemistry textbook for yourself:

  • Content clarity — This is especially important if you’re a biochem newbie. You want to choose a book that clearly explains biomedical importance and gives you a broad understanding of exciting new findings and basic concepts such as amino acids.
  • Practice tests — Choose a book that has a questionnaire and answers, so you can check if you understand the biochemistry book you’re reading.
  • Illustrations — These will help you understand the terminology, chemical reactions, laboratory tests, and more
  • How comprehensive it is — Everything is connected in science, so choose a comprehensive book that’s a great reference resource and explains how chemistry is related to other sciences.

Interactive exercises — Help students prepare for biochem exams, as they are a great tool for grasping difficult concepts.

Related Articles:

FAQs

What Is Biochemistry?

Biochemistry is the study of chemical processes happening in living organisms. [2]

What’s the Best Biochemistry Book for Medical Students?

The best biochemistry book for medical students is Lehninger’s Principles of Biochemistry.

If you’re planning to go to med school, this book emphasizes medical relevance and provides clinical correlations of biochemistry and medicine.

What’s the Best Biochemistry Textbook for You?

My vote for the best biochem textbook goes to Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry.

It’s a great introduction to biochem, provides helpful problem-solving support, and explains clinical correlations between biochemistry and medicine.

The authors considered all areas, starting from an introduction to organic chemistry to the guide on how to interpret laboratory tests.

The latest seventh edition has revised presentations and a thoroughly updated survey of biochem.

Check it out for yourself, and start your biochem journey today.

Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry

Our #1 Recommendation

Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry

  • Full-color illustrations
  • Detailed explanations
  • Up to date research and reviews
  • A good resource for medical students
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