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Role of Micronutrients in Growth and Development

Role of Micronutrients in Growth and Development

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Babies experience rapid growth in the initial years of infancy. Within a few years from birth, your child will learn to walk and communicate through gestures and sounds. Infants also begin to understand their surrounding with their increasing cognitive abilities.

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

Nutrients help in maintaining healthy growth and development at all stages of life. Some nutrients are required in greater quantities and hence are known as macronutrients. Proteins, Fats and Carbohydrates are the major constituents of a healthy development of an individual.

Micronutrients like vitamins and minerals also play an important part in the overall growth and development. They are required in small amounts and are essential in regulating key bodily processes. They are required at every step of development. So much so, that their deficiency causes malnutrition leading to health complications in adults and children.

We discuss the key functions of micronutrients in the growth and development of a child.

1. Physical Growth and Development

Your baby begins to grow in weight and size right from the moment of birth. The development of motor skills is essential for the baby. Body movements like crawling, holding a bowl or a spoon, trying to sit upright, and attempts at walking become a common activity as the child grows. It is important for a healthy baby to have strong bones and efficient muscle movement to carry out all these activities.

Micronutrients like Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Calcium, Phosphorus and Sodium are essential for bodily growth and development. The absorption of Calcium in bones, with the help of Vitamin D, is necessary for the formation of strong bones. Similarly, they are important for muscle development and functioning. Vitamin C, Sodium and phosphorus are essential in creating adequate conditions for muscle movement. Strong muscles help your little one to explore its surrounding. The formation of motor skills keeps your baby active and playful.

2. Development of Immunity.

An effective immune system shields your baby from infectious disease and maladies. Along with the nutrients in breastmilk, micronutrients play an important role in the development and maintenance of the immune system. Vitamin A, Iron, Zinc and magnesium empowers the immunity to fight against diseases.

Vitamin A helps in the formation of white blood cells that detect pathogens and helps in their elimination. It also forms a protective lining of the eye, respiratory organs, urinary and intestinal tract. This layer helps in trapping foreign particles and agents that cause inflammation and infection.

Zinc and Magnesium are important for the functioning of proteins and enzymes. They often participate in mechanisms that help clear out pathogens from the body.

3. Cognitive Development

Babies start learning from an early age. They are keen observers of all the activity that occurs around them. A baby’s brain starts registering and processing information right from infancy. Cognitive skills are not only important in the early stages of growth but crucial in later stages of life.

Vitamin B complex, Iron, Zinc, Iodine are some the micronutrients that aid the formation of cognitive and mental skills. Along with fats, these vitamins and minerals maintain healthy brain development during the lifespan of an individual.

As for babies, the development of speech, hearing abilities, motor skills, and mental processing abilities are important during all stages of growth.

Adequate nutrition is vital for a baby’s growth and development. Ensure that you include food items that are rich in macro and micronutrients.


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