Vitamins For Height Growth

  • Vasilena Ilieva Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences- BSc Biomedical Sciences, University of Kent, England

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Height is the main physical characteristic that can affect someone’s confidence.  Stereotypically, people assigned male at birth are conventionally perceived as more attractive if they are deemed taller, which would, in turn, improve their chances of greater social networking and better experiences in life.

Height growth is a physiological process that is influenced by many external factors such as environment (geographical location), genetics, assigned sex at birth, nutritional availability, and hormones. The availability of certain vitamins is also found to influence the degree of height growth in an individual.

Although height is mainly determined by genetics (passed on from your parents), intake of a specific group of vitamins at the right time could aid in your optimal height growth development.

Outline

Human growth is a physiological process characterised by the growth in height of an individual, which is usually at its peak during puberty. Different factors that affect the degree of height growth include nutrition, genetics, environment, and lifestyle, as well as hormonal fluctuations and quantity. A range of vitamins and minerals are obtained via food consumption or via the intake of supplements that contribute to height growth. Some of them include Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and Vitamin B complex.1

What is height growth?

Height growth is the process of growing taller during a person's lifetime, as people assigned females at birth tend to have their growth spurt usually up to 16 years of age, whereas people assigned males at birth keep on growing taller until 18-21 years of age. 

The growth process starts at fetal age and ends in adolescence when the epiphyseal growth plate fuses. There are four stages in human height growth: fetal, infancy, childhood, and pubertal growth.

What factors affect height growth?

Some of the things that could influence the degree of height growth in an individual are:1

  • Environment (living conditions)
  • Hormones 
  • Nutrition ( vitamins and minerals-rich diet)
  • Genetics- up to 80% of a person's height is determined by their parents

Some of the hormones determining height growth  are:

  • Growth hormone (GH)
  • Insulin-like growth hormone 1 (IGF-1)

What vitamins aid the process of height growth?

Vitamin D 

Vitamin D is a major vitamin whose main function is gut calcium absorption and calcium and phosphorus homeostasis (keeping steady normal rates of both biomolecules).2 Therefore vitamin D is needed for bone growth and remodelling (destruction of old- and formation of new bone). That is why deficiency in vitamin D can result in conditions linked to bone structure and density, such as pediatric rickets (soft and weak bones accompanied by pain) and adult osteomalacia (having softer bones). It has been suggested that vitamin D increases height growth ability, therefore the administration of vitamin D supplements and staying in the sun regularly (one of the best sources of vitamin D) would be beneficial for bone growth and hence height growth.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A, also known as retinol, has a function in the growth process of cells and tissues.3 It is usually supplied in the diet via the consumption of dairy products or in vegetables and fruits- where it is available in the form of beta carotene (precursor of retinol), which is later on converted into vitamin A by the body. Vitamin A is required for the adequate growth of bones, teeth development, good eyesight, reproduction, genetic expression, cell division, and maintenance of a healthy immune system. It is also considered an antioxidant, which could potentially have a role in preventing the onset of cancer. The recommended daily intake of Vitamin A for adults is 900 micrograms for people assigned male at birth and 700 micrograms for people assigned females at birth. There are studies (mainly focused on children and adolescents up to the age of 17-18) which suggested that additional supplements of vitamin A daily contribute towards enhanced height growth compared to people receiving insufficient amounts of vitamin A (e.g. people in third world developing countries), which led to suspended growth.4 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a protein considered to have antioxidative abilities (important for the immune system) and also plays a role in the formation of collagen which is required for bone and teeth structure. This function of vitamin C ( aiding in collagen synthesis) contributes towards height growth via bone development. Therefore, a deficiency in vitamin C, especially in young children, could result in a growth spurt and inhibition of height growth. Vitamin C supplements or intake of vitamin C via food consumption is a way to boost vitamin C availability in your body.5 Some foods rich in vitamin C include beans, guava, quinoa, broccoli, citrus fruits, leafy greens, and salmon.

Vitamin B complex

Vitamin B complexes include a range of vitamins B, such as vitamins B1-9 and B12. Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is the most influential one when considering height growth. It is required for two types of reactions in humans on a biochemical level. Some of the important functions of vitamin B12 can be linked to correct DNA synthesis, nervous system and brain function, as well as production of red blood cells (erythrocytes).6 Cobalamin supplements in turn have been associated with increased chances of height growth, especially in younger children. Vitamin B12 can be acquired not only via supplements but also through breast milk, meat, dairy products, and nutritional yeast.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is really important in calcifying the bone, which means when the bone absorbs calcium and becomes more brittle or when calcium deposits are formed due to excess calcium. Increased intake of vitamin K has been shown to decrease the risk of calcification in the cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels). It plays a major role in bone development and regulates biochemical mechanisms such as blood coagulation (clot formation). The main resources of Vitamin K, accounting for around 40-50% of total intake, are green, leafy vegetables, such as kale, spinach, brussels sprouts, and broccoli.7

FAQs

How do vitamins affect height growth?

Vitamins in the right quantities are very beneficial to human organisms and can, therefore, induce certain biochemical mechanisms such as collagen synthesis, bone cell formation, and calcium absorption, which are important for bone growth and structure. Therefore, the intake of sufficient levels of vitamins can promote optimal height growth.

What vitamins are important for height growth?

  • Vitamin A- cell growth and differentiation
  • Vitamin C- induces collagen synthesis
  • Vitamin D- calcium absorption
  • Vitamin B complex- cell growth
  • Vitamin K- mineralisation of the bones

Can I grow taller just by taking vitamins?

Although vitamins help you get the right amount of nutrients and hence optimize biochemical processes inside the body, the genetic composition of an individual cannot be changed as genetics is the most important factor for height determination.

Can too much vitamin intake cause harm?

Yes. An excessive vitamin intake could lead to the accumulation of biomolecules, which can lead to toxicity and eventually affect certain organs, such as the liver. Therefore, the recommended dose for the specific individual, age, and sex should be determined and applied to escape any complications.

What type of food should I eat to get the highest growth vitamins?

  • Vitamin A- carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach
  • Vitamin C- citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli
  • Vitamin D- fish, dairy products, sun exposure
  • Vitamin B complex- legumes, nuts, leafy greens
  • Vitamin K- soybeans, broccoli, leafy greens

Summary

Vitamins are important for the normal function of the body’s internal mechanisms. They are required in small amounts and can aid in mechanisms throughout the whole body. Excessive intake of vitamins can lead to many health complications and toxicities. Height is a very important physical appearance for people. Although it is affected by many factors, such as genetics and environment, the intake of specific vitamins could help the process. Certain vitamins such as vitamins A, C, B complex, K, and D have been found to aid in the height growth process, especially in younger children, while their bones are still growing and developing.

References:

  1. Esposito S, Leonardi A, Lanciotti L, Cofini M, Muzi G, Penta L. Vitamin D and growth hormone in children: a review of the current scientific knowledge. Journal of Translational Medicine. 2019 Dec;17:1-8. Available from: https://translational-medicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12967-019-1840-4
  2. Xiao P, Cheng H, Wang L, Hou D, Li H, Zhao X, Xie X, Mi J. Relationships for vitamin D with childhood height growth velocity and low bone mineral density risk. Frontiers in Nutrition. 2023 Feb 3;10:1081896. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9935691/
  3. Suychinov A, REBEZOV M, MAKSIMIUK N, KHAYRULLIN M, KULIKOV D, KONOVALOV S, KONOVALOVA O, PENKOVA I, MOLDABAYEVA Z. Vitamins and their role in the human body. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Research (09752366). 2019 Jul 1;11(3). Available from: http://www.ijpronline.com/ViewArticleDetail.aspx?ID=11026
  4. Hadi H, Stoltzfus RJ, Dibley MJ, Moulton LH, West Jr KP, Kjolhede CL, Sadjimin T. Vitamin A supplementation selectively improves the linear growth of Indonesian preschool children: results from a randomized controlled trial. The American journal of clinical nutrition. 2000 Feb 1;71(2):507-13. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002916523070156?via%3Dihub
  5. Purnamaningrum YE, Margono M, Petphong V. The effects of zinc and vitamin C supplementation on changes in height for age anthropometry index on stunting aged 24-59 months. Jurnal Kesehatan Ibu Dan Anak. 2019 Jul 31;13(1):18-27. Available from: http://eprints.poltekkesjogja.ac.id/6743/
  6. Taneja S, Chowdhury R, Kvestad I, Bhandari N, Strand TA. Vitamin B12 and/or folic acid supplementation on linear growth: a 6-year follow-up study of a randomised controlled trial in early childhood in North India. British Journal of Nutrition. 2023 Apr;129(7):1172-9. Available from: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/vitamin-b12-andor-folic-acid-supplementation-on-linear-growth-a-6year-followup-study-of-a-randomised-controlled-trial-in-early-childhood-in-north-india/9D27A863E0AAAE7EFAD87B01B4BA052F
  7. Rajagopal S, Gupta A, Parveen R, Shukla N, Bhattacharya S, Naravula J, Kumar A, Mathur P, Simlot A, Mehta S, Bihari C. Vitamin K in human health and metabolism: A nutri-genomics review. Trends in Food Science & Technology. 2022 Jan 1;119:412-27. Available from: https://www.x-mol.net/paper/article/1469385882241376

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Vasilena Ilieva

Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences- BSc Biomedical Sciences, University of Kent, England

Vasilena is a Biomedical Scientist, with experience in research and laboratory-based projects during her studies at university. She has written an approved dissertation as a final-year project on the differences in the appearance of people from Asian and Caucasian backgrounds, concentrating on their histological, molecular, genetic, and epigenetic basis. She has got a keen interest in Oncology, Dermatology, Investigation of Diseases, and Neuroscience.

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