The teen years are the most vital years in terms of growth and development of the human body. Puberty hits in the teen years which turns girls into women and boys into men. This takes the body through physical changes, both internally and externally. Girls and boys begin their biggest growth spurt when they hit puberty, usually around 12 years of age, and stop growing at age 16 and age 18 respectively.
Therefore, teens need to fuel their bodies with vitamins and minerals in order to ensure the body is strong and healthy – which, in reality, is not the case.
Teens tend to reach for refined carbohydrates; energy drinks; soft drinks; and fast food in order to give the body a quick energy fix. These consumables are particularly devoid of nutrients which means teens should be supplementing with micronutrients to replenish the body and aid in bone and cell growth.
Teens have different vitamin requirements to adults and should only supplement with vitamins and minerals designed for their age group and gender.
Here is a list of the most vital vitamins and minerals for teen development:
Male teens require 11 milligrams of iron per day and female teens require 15 milligrams of iron per day. Female teens require more iron because of the iron lost through monthly menstruation. The iron requirements for adult females increases while the iron requirement for adult males decreases, which is why age appropriate supplements are important.
- Vitamin B6 and B12
Teen years can be tough on the skin and hormonal changes can lead to acne. Vitamin B6 breaks down liver hormones and prevents the hormonal imbalance responsible for acne. Female teens require more B6 to help regulate the hormones throughout the menstrual cycle. Vitamins B6 and B12 aid in the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to all of the cells in the body and ensures every cell gets the oxygen in requires to function efficiently.
An added benefit of B6 and vitamin D is that they promote skeletal and tissue growth which results in strong bones and muscles and vitamin D, in particular, improves the bones ability to take in calcium.
Vitamin A helps maintain healthy and clear skin by removing free radicals from the body, specifically in male teens. It is also responsible for developing and maintaining a strong immune system. When vitamins A, C, and E are taken together, the cells of the body have enough micronutrients to function at the best of their ability.
- Zinc, magnesium, and calcium
These minerals are as vital for the youth as they are for the elderly. It is important to ensure the bones are given enough minerals at the pinnacle of their growth in order to develop strong bones throughout life and help people, particularly elderly females, avoid osteoporosis.
The way the cells divide and the bones grow during teen years sets the blue print for how they will continue to divide well into adulthood. Therefore the aforementioned supplements are not only suitable for teens, but highly recommended for teens. Vitamins C and A, and zinc, iron, and calcium are particularly low during teen years and should be the highest priority on the list of supplements.