The human growth hormone (HGH) plays a key role in the normal growth and development of children. It stimulates the formation of new bone tissue in their growth plates which increases the bone length and body height.
Furthermore, HGH stimulates the growth of penile and testicular size in boys since infancy.
HGH therapy is currently the only effective treatment for children with short stature and adults with growth hormone deficiency (GHD).
Keep in mind that just like any other prescription medication, HGH treatment is not free of adverse reactions. Therefore, the therapy is not suitable for healthy people with normal growth hormone levels.
However, if you or your child have GHD, the benefits of HGH therapy far outweigh the risks of side effects.
Can HGH make you taller?
Children and teenagers need adequate growth hormone levels to achieve their full height potential. In addition, HGH interacts with other hormones, stimulates the growth of all organs and tissues, regulates blood sugar levels and fat metabolism.
Scientific studies have revealed that growth hormone secretion correlates positively with height in children. Those with GHD had significantly lower height velocity compared to the healthy participants.
Height increases as the bones in the human body grow longer. That process takes place in the growth plates, which are cartilage structures found near each end of the long bones.
However, the elongation continues until those growth plates turn from cartilage to bone tissue – a process called growth plate fusion or closure.
According to evidence, the growth plates are open from birth until 12-16 years of age in girls and 14-19 years of age in boys.
Therefore, growth continues from early childhood until the end of puberty. The earlier a child with GHD starts HGH therapy, the higher their chances are to achieve normal height until the end of puberty.
The benefit is also dose-dependent. Studies report that GH doses of at least 0.32 to 0.4 mg/kg/week are required to help children eventually attain a normal adult height.
How to know if your growth plates are closed?
Once the growth plates are closed, HGH will no longer stimulate your bones to grow longer and you can’t get any taller.
The only way to know whether growth plates are open or not is to undergo an X-ray exam. Your doctor will perform an X-ray of your wrist and then interpret the results.
If your growth plates have closed and fused into bone tissue, there is no way to “reopen” them.
Unfortunately, the bone tissue can’t get converted back into complex cartilage structures. Therefore, even extremely high HGH doses can’t increase height in adults.
However, prolonged exposure to elevated GH levels in adulthood can increase the thickness of bones and lead to an endocrine disease called acromegaly.
Can you grow taller as an adult?
The internet is full of products claiming to increase your height as an adult. But according to trials, sleep aids, pills, supplements, and various stretching techniques are 100% ineffective since growth plate fusion is an irreversible process.
Once growth plates have closed, there is no natural way to increase your height permanently.
If anything, you may get shorter as you grow older, due to the well-known age-related loss of height in adults. It occurs due to the loss of bone mineral density which can lead to osteoporosis and a shortening of the spinal column.
HGH therapy in GHD patients also helps increase bone mineral density
The condition can be prevented by maintaining optimal bone health throughout adulthood. This includes:
- regular weight-bearing physical activities such as resistance training
- a healthy diet with adequate intake of calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin K
- avoiding risk factors such as smoking and alcohol abuse
The only way to permanently increase your height as an adult is a surgical intervention such as leg-lengthening surgery.
However, the operation is risky, long, expensive, and painful, followed by a prolonged recovery and rehabilitation process.