A newborn's heart beats as fast as the heart of a strenuously exercising adult, about 120 times a minute, because the infant's rapidly growing tissues demand oxygen-rich blood. The child's heart rate gradually slows and by late teens, it's around 70 beats a minute. That's still about 100,000 heartbeats each day, pumping blood through a system of arteries, veins, and capillaries that would circle the world three to four times or some 60,000 miles, if stretched out end to end, according to writer Barry Werth. All but 1 mile of this extensive network of vessels is invisible to the human eye, however. These tiny vessels, or capillaries (from the Latin for "hairlike"), are so small that blood cells must pass through in single file.
Many different nutrients, including protein, lipids, vitamins, and minerals, are essential for the development, growth, and functioning of the circulatory system. Iron and magnesium, for example, are essential for the production of trillions of red blood cells that pick up oxygen and carry it to cells throughout the body. Copper is also required for hemoglobin synthesis as well as for the production of collagen in capillary walls. Vitamins A, C, and E, riboflavin, folate, choline, and calcium are also required. And while anemia caused by insufficient iron is the most common nutritional deficiency, a great many other nutrients are essential for optimum cardiovascular health.
Healthy kidneys are essential not just for waste elimination but also to the function of the circulatory system. Kidneys filter the body's entire blood supply several times a day. They also play a critical role in the creation of red blood cells by producing the hormone erythropoietin, which signals bone marrow to produce more of the cells. Red blood cells live about 100 days and, according to Werth, die in the body at the stunning rate of about 2 million per second.
Kidneys also require nutrient building blocks and energy to develop and grow. In the womb, the placenta handles the waste removal functions that will later be taken over by the lungs and kidney. At birth, the kidneys are still immature, but must assume responsibility for the control of fluid and electrolyte balance as well as excretion of metabolic wastes. Renal function continues to mature over the first two years.
Infant Nutrition (VIDEO)
Fueling Growth & Development
Milk Enters the Stomach
Milk Enters the Small Intestine
Some Key Nutrients
Gut & Immune Development
Skeletal & Muscular Development
Skin & Hair Growth
The Importance of Fat
DHA & ARA
Nervous System Development
Good Nutrition Builds Healthy Babies
Related Health Centers:
Infant Nutrition Health Center, Mother-Baby Bond Health Center, Mother’s Milk Health Center, Monthly Infant Development Calendar Health Center,Weekly Pregnancy Calendar Health Center