Each and every bodily process has its base in the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are consumed, and the process of growth is no exception. From the growth and development that takes place in the uterus to infants growing into children to children growing into adolescence and then adulthood, nutrition influences every level of growth. Improper nutrition not only can slow growth, but also can cause birth defects and malformed limbs, as well as a variety of other physical deformities.
The vitamins that make up the vitamin B complex are truly an amazing group. Necessary to many physical and mental structures and functions of the body, including cognitive and emotional functioning, the vitamin B complex is also essential to the proper growth of children. In particular, Vitamin B12, also called cobalamin, due to its cobalt content, is an important part of normal growth in children. It also serves to build genetic material and to maintain the central nervous system. Children need .9 micrograms to 2.4 micrograms, depending on size and age. Folic acid, or Vitamin B9, is also essential to growth, especially in the uterus. Sufficient folic acid taken during the earliest parts of pregnancy can prevent serious birth defects, specifically neural tube defects of the sort that result in spinal bifida. It also serves to create and form DNA.
The mineral zinc is also essential to the normal growth of children, as is iodine, which is essential to the functioning of the thyroid and thus influences body weight. In the developing nations, specifically, where the soil that crops are grown in lack of iodine and iodized salt is not common, retarded growth is all too common. Children, depending on age and size need 10 mg to 15 mg of zinc daily and 70 micrograms to 150 micrograms of iodine each day.
The quality of the growth of bones rests firmly upon the levels of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K present in the body. These nutrients work together, each according to its specific capacities, complementing each other in the creation of the hard surfaces of the bones and teeth. Because the bones are constantly losing calcium, which needs to be continuously replaced, and the rapid growth that occurs from the development in the uterus right through adulthood, maintaining the levels of these nutrients is essential to normal growth.
It can sometimes be difficult to get children and adolescents to consume all the nutrients that are so essential to their growth and health. Nutritional supplements can be a safe and reliable means of seeing that children and adolescents reach the standard recommended daily intake levels of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients each and every day. However, because taking too much of certain vitamins and minerals can cause serious health problems, it is advisable to have the child’s primary health care provider serve as an active participant in devising a nutritional supplement plan that is specific to your child’s dietary needs. Always keep dietary supplements well out of reach of children to avoid any potentially harmful accidents.