Does vitamin D make you taller?

by   |   Dec 01, 2022

Stop blaming your genes for your poor stature!

Indeed, your genetic structure is just one of the many factors that determine your height. Proper nutrition and nourishment also play a crucial role in fostering optimal height development. Throughout your growing years, your body requires a myriad of proteins, vitamins, and minerals to build strong healthy bones and muscles. Among these nutrients, vitamin D always stands out as a significant material for bone mineralization and is often featured in the ingredients of many height growth supplements. But does vitamin D make you taller? Find out everything you need to know about vitamin D in this article of Howtogrowtaller.

How does vitamin D make you taller? 

While it is common that vitamin D deficiency in adults can lead to bone-related diseases such as osteoporosis and cancer, little was known about the consequences of vitamin D insufficiency in children and teenagers.

Until the late 1800s, the cause of rickets – a widespread disease that inhibits children’s growth by preventing their cartilage and bones from mineralizing properly, remained unknown to most people. They ultimately realized the root of the problem lies in a lack of vitamin D after scientists found that cod liver oil and sunlight could cure this disease. Ever since this discovery, children and teenagers around the world are given foods rich in vitamin D and supplements of this nutrient to ensure proper growth and development.

Does vitamin D make you taller?

Foods rich in vitamin d help increase height

Bone formation happens at a rapid rate during childhood and adolescence, reaching its peak rate at puberty. After this, the formation of bone slows down significantly and stops once the growth plates finish fusing completely. Vitamin D helps our body absorb calcium, a mineral needed for bones to grow properly and stay strong. Upon taking a sufficient amount of calcium and vitamin D into our body, the extra calcium is stored in our blood to replenish teeth and bones whenever needed. Even if the body absorbs enough calcium, it cannot store this mineral in an adequate amount without vitamin D.

Children’s cells also thrive thanks to vitamin D as it regulates genes responsible for controlling cell lifespan, beneficially supporting their overall growth. Moreover, researchers also discovered that vitamin D reduces fatigue and builds strong muscles. Specifically, vitamin D-deficient children reported fewer instances of fatigue and faster recovery from exercise after being treated with vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D-deficient children usually feel weak and tired, which prevents them from partaking in physical activity and negatively affects their optimal growth.

Which vitamin D is best for height growth?

Consisting of a group of fat-soluble seco-sterols, vitamin D has two major forms – vitamin D3 and vitamin D2. The former is also known as cholecalciferol and is synthesized in the skin of humans from 7-dehydrocholesterol. Vitamin D3 is consumed through the dietary intake of animal-based foods whereas vitamin D2, also referred to as ergocalciferol, is largely human-made to add to fortified foods.

Both of these two forms of vitamin D function as prohormones and are commercially synthesized to make fortified foods and dietary supplements. The only difference between vitamin D3 and vitamin D2 is their chain structure. Although said difference does not affect metabolism, the D2 and D3 forms of vitamin D are only equivalent at low doses. When it comes to high doses, vitamin D3 is more effective than vitamin D2 [1]. 

Furthermore, vitamin D3 is recommended as it is the natural form of vitamin D that our body synthesizes from sunlight. The recent years saw the increasing popularity of dietary supplements containing this form of vitamin D as more and more manufacturers are switching from vitamin D2 to vitamin D3.

What is the best way to absorb vitamin D?

To answer your question “Does vitamin D make you taller?”, YES, it does so in a remarkable way. But where does one get enough vitamin D?

Vitamin D is synthesized under exposure to sunlight and naturally present in a few foods, available as dietary supplements, and added to fortified foods. Vitamin D obtained from sun exposure, supplements, and foods must then undergo two hydroxylations in the body for metabolism. The first hydroxylation takes place in the liver while the second one occurs in your kidneys [2].

The best natural source of vitamin D is the sun. You can acquire all of the vitamin D needed for the day by spending only a short time in the sun. However, people with darker skin tones produce less vitamin D from sunlight than those with fairer skin. Besides, too much sun exposure is not good for your health. Not only can it burn the skin but also potentially result in skin cancer.

How much sun do you need for vitamin D?

Establishing guidelines on how much sun exposure is needed for adequate vitamin D levels is highly challenging given individual responsiveness, UV radiation exposure, and uncertainties surrounding the subject. Recent research by experts on bodies and vitamin D suggests that the recommended sun exposure for sufficient vitamin D synthesis is between 5 and 30 minutes a day or at least twice a week, preferably from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. During this process, you should let your legs, hands, arms, and face be exposed directly to the sun without sunscreen [2]. Commercial tanning beds can also be used moderately to acquire proper amounts of vitamin D.

What foods produce vitamin D? 

It seems that most people can more or less meet their vitamin D requirements through exposure to sunlight. Yet, it is easier said than done. Since we spend most of our time indoors, either working, studying, or even relaxing (playing video games or binge-watching TV shows), we hardly produce enough vitamin D for various bodily functions, including bone growth and bone maintenance. What is worse is that vitamin D deficiency is increasingly popular among young people, especially children and teenagers in many countries. 

A study on young people aged 16 to 22 shows that those with vitamin D deficits have higher body mass index, unhealthy weight, and increased abdominal fat in comparison to young people with normal vitamin D levels [3]. As a result, to avoid stunted growth and achieve your desired height, you are well-advised to consume vitamin D-rich foods together with taking vitamin D supplements.

Some of the best foods that naturally contain vitamin D are:

  • The flesh of fatty fish (such as salmon, trout, mackerel, and tuna)
  • Fish liver oils
  • Cheese
  • Beef liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Mushrooms.

Most Americans absorb vitamin D through fortified foods such as milk and other dairy products. Plant-based milk contains just the same amount of vitamin D as cow’s milk. Cereals, yogurt, orange juice, and margarine are also fortified with vitamin D.

Can I get enough vitamin D from foods?

Unlike other vitamins, the natural sources of vitamin D from foods are not exactly diverse. For this reason, many people turn to vitamin D dietary supplements for fear of not absorbing enough of this nutrient from foods.

Vitamin D supplements are extremely important to bone health. Children and teenagers need sufficient vitamin D levels to maximize calcium absorption and bone mineralization, thereby reaching their height potential. Vitamin D supplements also prevent fractures and enhance bone mineral density. Apart from your growing years, taking vitamin D supplements is beneficial when you enter adulthood and later stages in life. It reduces the risk of heart attack, cancer, cardiovascular death, and stroke as well.

REFERENCES

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK56061/

[2] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/

[3] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081210122238.htm

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