In our society, a tall stature is admired. Models need to be 5’7’’ or taller, and women look for men who are tall, dark and handsome. Unfortunately, you don’t get to choose your height. Genetics play the largest factor in determining your final height. Luckily, however, there are a few vitamins that can help to encourage height growth when eaten in the diet or supplemented.
According to the journal of Clinical Endocrinology, vitamin A supplementation has been found effective in enhancing height growth in children (see reference 1). The researchers supplemented 6,000 IU of vitamin A each week for one year, along with an iron supplement, and found that this allowed children to grow taller quicker and was equally effective as growth hormone supplementation.
Foods rich in vitamin A include liver, some full-fat dairy products and cod liver oil. While full-fat dairy products do provide extra fat and calories, they also provide more vitamin A than low fat versions, since vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin. Vitamin A is also abundant in carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach and dried apricots.
If you are considering taking a vitamin A supplement for height growth, talk to your doctor first about what dose is safe for you. Since vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, your body cannot get rid of any excess amounts on its own and taking in levels of vitamin A which are too high can cause toxicity.
Vitamin D can encourage growth in height. Teenage girls who are deficient in vitamin D have stunted growth; according to the McGill University Health Center 2. One possible reason for this is that low vitamin D levels can lead to osteoporosis which can weaken bones and prevent growing.
Regarding milk, all percentages of fat have the same amount of vitamin D.
Vitamin D, like vitamin A, is also a fat soluble vitamin, so it is possible to get too much of vitamin D. Some possible harmful side effects from too much vitamin D include:
- kidney stones
- heart rhythm abnormalities
- Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of James Emery