Common Myth About height: Is It Possible To Increase your Height After 18 Years?
Is It Possible To Increase your Height After 18 Years?
Is It Possible To Increase your Height After 18 Years?
Many people are unhappy with their height.
But can anything be done about it?
If you have wondered this question, you are not alone. Some argue that good nutrition or special exercises can increase your height as an adult.
This article discusses whether it is possible to increase your height after the age of 18.
What determines your height?
Before discussing whether it is possible to change your height as an adult, it is important to consider what determines your height in the first place.
The simple answer is genetics, but that’s not all.
The study of twins is one-way scientists use to determine the extent to which genetics influence growth.).
In general, height in twins is highly correlated. This means that if one of the twins is tall, then the other is likely to be tall too ( 2 ).
Based on twin studies, it has been estimated that 60–80% of height differences between individuals are due to genetics. 2, 3, four ).
The remaining 20–40% are related to environmental factors such as nutrition ( 5 ).
Growth trends around the world help to demonstrate the importance of dietary and lifestyle factors.
One large study of 18.6 million people reported a change in height over the past century.
The study showed that in many countries the average height of a person in 1996 was higher than in 1896. 6 ).
The reason for this change may be the improvement in nutrition in these countries.
Summary: Scientists estimate that the difference in height is about 60-80% due to genetics and 20-40% due to environmental factors such as nutrition. In many countries, average height has increased over the last century.
For most people, height does not increase after age 18.
Even with a healthy diet, most people’s height does not increase after the age of 18–20.
The graph below shows the growth rate from birth to age 20. As you can see, the growth lines fall to zero between 18 and 20 years ( 7, eight ).
The reason your height stops growing is because of your bones, especially your growth plates.
Growth plates, or epiphyseal plates, are areas of specialized cartilage near the ends of long bones.
The increase in height is primarily due to the lengthening of your long bones since the growth plates are still active or “open”.
Toward the end of puberty, hormonal changes cause the growth plates to harden or “close” and bone elongation ceases ( 9 ).
The growth plates close around age 16 in women and somewhere between 14 and 19 in men. ten ).
Although most adults do not experience true long-bone growth, slight daily fluctuations in growth are typical.
The reason for this fluctuation during the day is a slight compression of the discs in the spine ( eleven, 12).
Daily activities affect the cartilage and fluid in the spine and cause a slight reduction in growth throughout the day ( eleven, 12, 13 ).
This loss of growth during the day can be about half an inch (1.5 cm) ( 13, 14, 16 ).
Some studies have shown that the height of the discs in the spine may continue to increase during adolescence, but the effect on overall height is minimal. 17 ).
Summary: In most people, height does not increase between the ages of 18 and 20 due to the closure of the growth plates in the bones. Compression and decompression of discs in the spine result in little change in growth throughout the day.
No exercise or stretching technique will make you taller.
A common myth about height is that certain exercises or stretching methods can make you taller.
Many people claim that activities such as hanging, climbing, using an inversion table, and swimming can increase your height.
Unfortunately, there is no conclusive evidence to support these claims.
It is true that your height changes slightly throughout the day due to compression and decompression of the cartilage discs in your spine (12).
When unpacking discs, some of these actions may temporarily increase your height to a very small extent ( eighteen ).
However, this is not a real change in growth, as any change is quickly reversed (12, 13, 19 ).
Summary: Exercises and techniques that promise to increase your height as an adult are not supported by science. They may result in small temporary changes in altitude, but these effects are short-lived.
Exercise (including lifting weights) probably won’t affect your height
Many people worry that exercise, especially heavy lifting, can harm your height.
Some of these fears are specific to children and adolescents whose growth zones have not closed.
Growth plate cartilage is weaker than mature bone that forms in adulthood and can potentially be more easily damaged.
However, most studies show that strength training is safe and beneficial at all ages, as long as it is done with proper supervision.
Moreover, studies have shown that strength training until adulthood does not slow down growth ( twenty ).
Most physicians and sports medicine experts also agree that strength training should not be avoided in children and teens.
In one study, 500 sports medicine experts were asked whether heavy lifting should be avoided until a person’s growth plates had closed. 21 ).
85% of experts said it’s not necessary to avoid heavy lifting, and only 10% think it’s best to avoid strength training.
In addition, other studies show that the main causes of strength training injuries are lack of supervision or improper use of equipment. 22, 23 ).
In adults, the growth zones closed and became stronger than in childhood. Because of this, the risk of damage to the growth plate is not a major concern.
Indeed, heavy lifting can lead to minor compression of the intervertebral discs in adults. However, this is reversible and also occurs during normal daily activities ( 13, 16, 19, 24 ).
One potential cause for concern is injuries such as a herniated disc.
In this case, the size and health of the discs in your spine may be compromised, and there may be a slight decrease in height ( 17 ).
Summary: With proper control and technique, lifting weights is safe for all ages. It does not seem to affect growth before or during adulthood. However, disc injuries can lead to a slight decrease in height.
Living a Healthy Lifestyle Before Age 18 Can Help You Reach Your Growth Potential
While you may not be able to significantly change your height as an adult, there are things you can do to maximize your growth potential as a teenager.
In general, you need to be sure that you are eating enough and that you are not deficient in any vitamins or minerals.
Although many children eat enough (or even too much), the quality of the diet is often poor ( 25 ).
Because of this, many people in modern society are deficient in important nutrients like vitamin D and calcium ( 26Trusted Source ).
These nutrients are very important for bone growth and overall health ( 27 , 28 ).
Dietary calcium alters hormone production in a way that benefits your bones. Vitamin D may also improve bone health ( 29, thirty ).
One of the best ways to combat nutritional deficiencies and ensure optimal bone growth is to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables ( 31, 32).
Eating enough protein is also important for bone health, although some people wonder if a high protein intake can harm your bones.
However, a large analysis of 36 studies found that higher protein intake does not harm your bones. In fact, a higher protein intake was beneficial for spinal bone density. 33 ).
One way to increase your protein intake is to try to consume at least 20 grams of protein each time you eat.
Good sources of protein are eggs, poultry, lean meats, and dairy products. Soy and other legumes are also rich in protein.
While proper nutrition during childhood is essential to achieve maximum growth, there can be differences between men and women.
Some studies have shown that environmental factors, such as diet, may play a larger role in women’s height than men’s.
This may in part be due to differences in access to food and health care, or to higher rates of osteoporosis in women (34).
Other lifestyle choices, such as quitting smoking, may also benefit your growth during development (35).
However, it is important to remember that while lifestyle factors during childhood can influence height, a person’s final height is still largely determined by genetics.
Summary: Eating enough nutrients and avoiding nutritional deficiencies during childhood and adolescence can help maximize your growth potential.
Certain Medical Conditions Can Cause Adult Height to Increase
While most adults don’t get taller between the ages of 18 and 20, there are exceptions to this rule.
First, the closure of the growth plates may be delayed in some people (36, 37).
If the growth plates remain open between the ages of 18 and 20, which is rare, growth may continue to increase.
Secondly, some suffer from gigantism. This condition causes excessive growth, often due to too much growth hormone (GH) production. 38 ).
However, these individuals typically only increase in height until their growth plates close around the age of 22 (39).
In addition, a form of hemochromatosis, a condition in which excess iron is absorbed from the intestines, can also cause height gain (40).
In general, these conditions may increase the height until the growth plates close.
Summary: Some rare diseases can cause height gain after age 18, but this usually only happens if the growth plates have not closed.
What can you do with your height?
If you are an adult who is unhappy with your height, here are a few things you can try:
Practice Good Posture: Bad posture can rob anyone of several inches of height.
Try heels or inserts: Choose shoes with higher heels or insert inserts into your shoes to increase their height by a few inches.
Build muscle to look and feel stronger: If you feel small overall, lifting weights to gain muscle mass can make you more muscular and confident.
While these simple strategies can help, some people resort to more extreme measures such as treatments or procedures.
Some of these procedures include leg lengthening (41, 42 ).
However, due to the invasiveness and high cost of these operations, many do not take such drastic measures. These procedures are even banned in some countries.
Others seek growth hormone (GH) treatment. While GH may improve growth in children who are not growing properly, the benefits of this treatment in adults are unlikely ( 43, 44).
Ultimately, it’s better to find a way to embrace your growth than consider more extreme measures.
Summary: There are a few simple tricks you can try to make you look taller or feel better about your height. Some people resort to more invasive medical procedures.
Accepting Your Growth
While you may not be able to increase your height as much as you would like, there are things you can do to help you accept your current height.
It is useful to understand that height is not everything.
You can be happy and successful no matter where you are. In fact, throughout history, there have been many happy, successful people who were short in stature.
Although some people think that short stature puts you at a psychological disadvantage, scientists debate whether this is true ( 45, 46).
The researchers also promoted the idea of using coping strategies and focusing on other things than just growth. 47 ).
Making a list of your best qualities, both physical and non-physical, can help improve your outlook.
In addition, you can focus on other areas of self-improvement. Losing weight or gaining muscle mass can give you the extra self-confidence you’re looking for.
Summary: If you want to be taller, the best thing you can do is learn to accept your current height. Focusing on your strengths and good qualities can help you through the process.
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