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The Role of Micronutrients in a Baby’s Growth and Development

The Role of Micronutrients in a Baby’s Growth and Development

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In their initial years, babies undergo rapid physiological changes. During this period, they need adequate nutrients to sustain physical and mental growth. Along with macronutrients, micronutrients play a critical role in healthy growth and development.

Friday, July 20th, 2018

Micronutrients are naturally occurring minerals and vitamins crucial in the process of healthy development of an individual. They are required in minute quantities but play a major role in several key bodily functions. They are the building blocks of a healthy body and mind.

Micronutrients are vital especially during the stages of increased rate of growth. At such stages, adequate nutrition is must since the demand for nutrients is high. Micronutrients like Iron, Zinc, Iodine, Vitamin A, D are some of the essential nutrients necessary during developmental stages. We list out some the important functions of key micronutrients.

1. Vitamin A

  • Vitamin A is crucial for the development of vision, bone growth, cell growth and cell division.
  • It regulates the appropriate functioning of the immune system by aiding the production of white blood cells.
  • The immune system is a line of defence that protects your baby from infectious diseases.
  •  Vitamin A protects organs by the formation of the lining of the eye, respiratory organs, urinary and intestinal tracks.

2. Vitamin D

  • One of the most important functions of Vitamin D is in the absorption of Calcium for stronger bone formation.
  • It is necessary for the smooth function of muscles such as contraction and relaxation.
  • Formation of stronger muscles and bones are necessary during infancy, as the baby will start crawling and walking at this stage.
  • Vitamin D is crucial for the maintenance of the baby’s immune system.
  • Vitamin D also regulates cell growth and differentiation, an important step in the baby’s growth and development.

3. Iron

  • Iron is mainly present in the body as a complex with haemoglobin.
  • Together, they are a component of the red blood cells and helps in carrying oxygen molecules, necessary for cellular functions.
  • Iron is important in the generation of red blood cells.
  • Iron also regulates energy producing reactions in the body.

4. Zinc

  • Zinc is a part of several enzymes that carry out all the essential metabolic activities.
  • Zinc also regulates the metabolism of Vitamin A.
  • Many vital processes such as cell growth and division are regulated by Zinc.
  • Involved in the maintenance of an effective immune system, Zinc is essential in warding off infections and diseases.
  • Zinc also plays a crucial role in wound healing and maintaining healthy skin.

5. Iodine

  • Iodine is a major component of thyroid hormone, necessary for adequate growth and energy generation.
  • Iodine helps in the formation of tissues.
  • It is also necessary for the development of the brain and the nervous system.

6. Folate

  • Folate forms a part of the Vitamin B complex that helps in the formation of new cells.
  • Folate is not only necessary during infancy but also in the later stages of development.

7. Calcium

  • Calcium directly helps in the formation and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth.
  • It is also essential for effective functioning of muscles and nerves.

Deficiency of micronutrients can have a long-lasting effect. It is necessary that your infant’s diet contain complementary food that is rich in micronutrients. 

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