The Role of Vitamins in Child Development

Every single bodily function depends on an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals in the bloodstream, including the growth process. Nutrition has a major influence on the quality and speed of cell growth, starting in the uterus and continuing into adulthood. Poor prenatal nutrition will not only retard the growth process, but may also lead to birth defects and other physical abnormalities.

The most important group of vitamins in terms of growth and development are the vitamins that make up the Vitamin B complex. The B complex is critical for normal growth in children, as well as many physical and mental bodily functions. One of the vitamins with the B complex, Vitamin B12, is especially important for normal growth in children due to its supply of cobalt. Vitamin B9, also known as folic acid, is probably the most important of the B vitamins while the child is still inside the uterus. Folic acids are known to prevent birth defects and aids in the proper creation of the child’s DNA.

In order for a child to grow into a healthy body weight, the thyroid must function properly. The key mineral that aids in thyroid health and development is Zinc. Zinc deficiency is commonly seen in third world countries where diets are usually poor and the crops are grown in poor soil quality which is usually short on Zinc. Because of these factors, the percentage of retarded growth among children is unusually high. Depending on age and weight, children should be consuming between 10 and 15 mg of Zinc every day.

For a child’s bones to grow and develop into normal size and hardness, the most important vitamins and minerals, calcium, phosphorous, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, and magnesium, must all be present in sufficient quantity within the body. These vitamins and minerals all have properties that cause them to work as partners in regards to bone structure and density. Taken individually, they will not be as effective as they are when present as a group. Since the bones are continually losing calcium, sustaining the required levels of this group of vitamins and minerals is critical to proper growth.

Anyone with children can tell you that it is not always easy to fit all these nutritional requirements into their daily diet. Kids won’t always eat the healthiest foods, and won’t often eat everything you put in front of them. For this reason, dietary supplements may be an easier and more effective way to ensure that your child will grow properly. However, different children have different dietary needs, so always consult with your family doctor before starting your child on a nutritional supplement program.

Nancy Dean is a freelance author who has worked in the health care industry for several years. She frequently contributes to health and nutritional websites, including, which is an excellent resource on Vitamin Information []

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