Minerals For Height Growth

  • Simmi Anand  MBA Healthcare Services, Sikkim Manipal University, India
  • Linda Nkrumah Biological Sciences with International Year, University of Birmingham, UK


Parenting is a big responsibility and ensuring proper growth for their kids is of utmost importance. Healthy growth comprises height growth, weight growth and ability to perform physical activities as per age. Malnutrition can be a big factor in not achieving any of these milestones. 

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), malnutrition can be of the following types:


Undernutrition manifests in three forms.

  • Wasting: Low weight as essential to height growth. Weight loss due to any disease can be a big cause of this
  • Stunting: Low height as per age. It can occur due to poor living conditions or insufficient feeding
  • Underweight: Low weight as per age. Wasting or stunting can also be a cause

Micronutrient-related malnutrition

This occurs when a healthy diet consisting of essential vitamins and nutrients is not consumed. Calcium, vitamin D, iron, magnesium, potassium, iodine, vitamin A, and vitamin C are some of the essential minerals required by our body.

Diet-related diseases

Obesity, overweight and diet-related diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart diseases etc., can disrupt height and weight growth. Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of height and weight to determine the health of a particular individual. Its unit is kg/m². A BMI below 18.5 is considered underweight. A BMI in the range of 18.5-24.9 is considered normal. A BMI in the range of 25-29.9 is considered overweight. A BMI above 30 is considered obese. 

Importance of height growth

Height growth is as important as weight growth in determining health. There are two phases of height growth in a lifetime: 

  1. Between conception and  2 years of age. Adult height (a measure of current net nutrition) is determined during this phase  
  2. During the adolescence period before puberty.¹A rapid height growth occurs during this phase

Height growth and vitamins

Calcium and height growth

Calcium (Ca) is an important mineral required for growth as it strengthens the bones. Kids need to consume calcium-rich food in their growth years to have strong bones in adulthood. 

Calcium requirements for children are as follows:

  • Age 1-3 years: 700 mg per day
  • Age 4-8 years: 1000 mg per day
  • Age 9-18 years: 1300 mg per day

Calcium requirements for adults is around 700 mg per day. 

A study was conducted on Chinese boys and girls through the adolescent years (12-19 years for boys and 10-17 years for girls) till the adulthood phase to determine the effects of calcium intake on height growth. The height of the kids as well as their parents was measured (without shoes). These kids were mostly given plant-based diets. 

The findings of the study show faster height growth in boys if they had high dietary intake during adolescence. Calcium intake of less than 327 mg per day resulted in low adult height. But, in girls, there was no such significant threshold observed.²

Sources of calcium-rich foods are:

Consuming higher than required amounts might cause diarrhoea or stomach pain. 

Calcium deficiency causes rickets which causes weak bones and bone pain in children. Adults can suffer from osteoporosis or osteomalacia.

Vitamin D and height growth

Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium. So, it is essential to get sufficient vitamin D to have healthy bones and muscles. 

Babies up to 1 year of age require around 340-400 IU ( International unit) of vitamin D per day, while adults require around 400 IU of vitamin D per day

A study was conducted on more than 10000 children in the age group 6-16 to show the correlation between vitamin D intake and height growth. Data was collected at baseline and after a 2 years interval. The results showed that high levels of vitamin D were associated with an increased rate of height growth and reduced chances of low bone mineral density ( BMD).³

Sources of vitamin D from food sources are:

Some countries which do not receive much sunlight in the winters recommend consuming supplements to prevent deficiency as sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D. 

Consuming more than required amounts of vitamin D causes hypercalcaemia, where the calcium levels in the body increases. This can weaken bones.

Whereas, deficiency of vitamin D causes rickets in children or osteomalacia in adults.

Zinc and height growth

Zinc (Zn) helps in regulating body metabolism and wound healing. 

Adult males require around 9.5 mg of zinc per day, while adult females require around 7 mg of zinc per day.

A study was conducted in Thailand to show the effects of zinc supplementation on 130 schoolchildren for a duration of 6 months. All the students enrolled in the study were healthy. On school days, children were given 15 mg of elemental zinc. Some students were placed in a placebo group. A positive effect was seen on body weight and height at the end of the study.⁴

Sources of zinc-rich food are:

  • Meat
  • Bread
  • Dairy products
  • Shellfish

Zinc deficiency can pose a risk of limited growth, diarrhoeal diseases or acute lower respiratory tract infections in children. Whereas, consumption of excessive amounts of zinc can cause anaemia or weak bones. 

Phosphorus and height growth

Phosphorus (P) is another essential mineral required by our body for growth. It is required by cells to make energy to carry out different processes in the body. 

The daily requirement of phosphorus as per age group are:

  • Birth - 6 months: 100 mg
  • 7-12 months: 275 mg
  • 1-3 years: 460 mg
  • 4-8 years: 500 mg
  • 9-18 years: 1250 mg
  • Adults (19+ age): 700 mg

A research was conducted to correlate the increase in height gap between rich and poor countries with their nitrogen and phosphorus intake. Data was collected from the University of Tubingen- World Height Databases. The mean height of adults born in the 1960s,1970s and 1980s were collected from when they were around 21 years old in 80 different countries. 

Annual food intake of nitrogen and phosphorus per person was also collected. Results showed that men born in rich countries consumed more animal-based diets compared to plant-based diets and thus their nitrogen, phosphorus and nitrogen: phosphorous (N:P) intake was high compared to the men born in poor countries.⁵

Sources of phosphorus-rich food are:

  • Dairy products
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Bread
  • Brown rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Cashews
  • Sesame seeds

Phosphorous deficiency can cause anaemia, lack of appetite, muscle weakness, bone pain, increased risk of infection etc.

Consuming excess phosphorus can cause diarrhoea or stomach pain. 

Magnesium and height growth

Magnesium (Mg) is a mineral that converts our food into energy, helps  our body growth and regulates the functioning of the parathyroid glands

Adult males require around 300 mg of magnesium per day, while adult females require around 270 mg of magnesium per day. 

Sources of magnesium rich food are:

  • Spinach
  • Wholemeal bread
  • Nuts

Consuming excess amounts of magnesium for a short period of time can cause diarrhoea. 

Other factors affecting height growth

There are numerous factors affecting the height of the individual apart from vitamins and minerals. Let's check them out.

  • Genetics: Genetics play a huge role in determining the height of the individual. Some genes can affect the growth plates, while some can affect the production of growth hormones
  • Nutrition: Nutrition plays an equally important role in growth. A healthy and balanced diet is essential to maintain growth
  • Hormones: The production of hormones such as growth hormones and thyroid hormones are essential in determining the height of an individual. Deficiency or excess of hormones might create issues in growth
  • Gender: People assigned male at birth (AMAB) usually have tall stature compared to people assigned female at birth (AFAB)
  • Physical activity: Getting ample exercise or physical activity is a good way to ensure height growth
  • Sleep: Sleep is essential for healthy growth. So ensure that your child gets around 10 hours or the recommended sleep as per their age


Which mineral is responsible for height growth?

There are several essential minerals and vitamins responsible for height growth. They are zinc, calcium, vitamin D, phosphorous, nitrogen, magnesium etc.

What boosts growth hormone?

Exercise, diet, rest and supplements can boost growth hormones. 

At what age do we stop growing taller?

Height growth stops around puberty (around 18 years). 

Is height genetic?

Yes. If parents are taller, there are high chances of offspring inheriting the parents' heights.


Height growth is mostly a genetic trait. Tall stature generally runs in families. Apart from that, a healthy and balanced diet is required to achieve good height. Various minerals and vitamins such as calcium, vitamin D, nitrogen, phosphorous, zinc and magnesium are essential for height growth. It is best to achieve the required daily amount of these vitamins and minerals through food. But, in some cases, supplements can be taken. 

** Please consult a doctor before starting any supplements. 

In some countries, winter months are devoid of sunlight. So, the government provides guidelines to consume vitamin D supplements if vitamin D is not taken through diet in sufficient quantities. So, check the regulations and conditions of your country before starting supplements. 

Our body produces growth hormones and thyroid hormones which might aid in gaining height. Excess or deficiency of hormones can wreak havoc on our body. Physical activity throughout the day or getting sufficient exercise can help in proper height growth. 

Sleep is equally important for the body to ensure sufficient growth. So, follow a schedule and ensure your child gets the required hours of sleep every night. You can consult your paediatrician to check how many hours of sleep your child requires.


  1. Perkins JM, Subramanian SV, Davey Smith G, Özaltin E. Adult height, nutrition, and population health. Nutr Rev [Internet]. 2016 Mar [cited 2023 Aug 5];74(3):149–65. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4892290/
  2. Fang A, Li K, Li H, Guo M, He J, Shen X, et al. Low habitual dietary calcium and linear growth from adolescence to young adulthood: results from the china health and nutrition survey. Sci Rep [Internet]. 2017 Aug 22 [cited 2023 Aug 6];7:9111. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5567300/
  3. Xiao P, Cheng H, Wang L, Hou D, Li H, Zhao X, et al. Relationships for vitamin D with childhood height growth velocity and low bone mineral density risk. Frontiers in Nutrition [Internet]. 2023 [cited 2023 Aug 6];10. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2023.1081896
  4. Rerksuppaphol S, Rerksuppaphol L. Zinc supplementation enhances linear growth in school-aged children: A randomized controlled trial. Pediatr Rep [Internet]. 2018 Jan 4 [cited 2023 Aug 6];9(4):7294. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5768092/
  5. Peñuelas J, Janssens IA, Ciais P, Obersteiner M, Krisztin T, Piao S, et al. Increasing gap in human height between rich and poor countries associated to their different intakes of N and P. Sci Rep [Internet]. 2017 Dec 15 [cited 2023 Aug 7];7(1):17671. Available from: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-17880-3
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Simmi Anand

B.Sc. Nuclear Medicine, Manipal University
MBA Healthcare Services, Sikkim Manipal University

An experienced Nuclear Medicine professional with a passion for writing.

She is experienced in dealing with patients suffering from different ailments, mostly cancer.

Simmi took a career break to raise her daughter with undivided attention.

During this time, she fine-tuned her writing skills and started writing stories for her child. Today, Simmi is a published author of 'Story time with proverbs' series for young ones. She also enjoys writing parenting blogs on her website www.simmianand.com.

Simmi hopes to reignite her career as a medical writer, combining her medical knowledge with her zeal for writing to produce informative health articles for her readers.

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