Do height increasing supplements work? Um no. Next?
Like many products you can find readily on the internet, height increasing formulas pray on the insecurities shared by many and uses these to try and encourage purchases. In this article we’ll look at why height increasing supplements are nothing but snake oil.
How Growth Supplements ‘Work’
If you read the blurb on the website/brochure, the manufacturers of most growth supplements would have you believe they work by increasing ‘growth hormone’. As the name implies, growth hormone is a hormone that does indeed trigger growth, though this is far from being its only role. Rather, this is an anabolic compound that simply encourages the repair and creation of cells. Thus it is also useful for bodybuilders looking to build more muscle tissue after a workout and it’s useful for the elderly looking to try and rejuvenate their skin.
Growth hormone is produced in the greatest quantities around the time we’re going through our growth spurts as we enter adulthood. During this time, it encourages the lengthening of bones and the creation of new tissue and helps us to gain inches in height over a relatively short timeframe.
Growth supplements use substances that have been shown to elevate levels of growth hormone in laboratory settings and combine this with vitamins and minerals for general health and support. In theory, this sounds like it could give a reasonable boost in height. It’s what you call ‘marketing’.
Why It’s a Scam
Except there’s one very key point that the peddlers of these supplements neglect to mention. And that’s the fact that we actually stop growing between the ages of 21 and 26 when the growth plates close. The growth plates live at the ends of our long bones when we’re young and are small portions that are made from cartilage rather than bone (cartilage being the same substance that makes our noses).
Because children’s bones have a plate of cartilage, this means they can stretch and grow when there is enough growth hormone to encourage that to happen. But once we reach a certain age, that cartilage solidifies into bone and that means the bones just can’t be lengthened any further (except through painful and lengthy surgery).
In other words, once your growth plates close, all the growth hormone in the world won’t help you.
Now, if you’re aged 24 you might be thinking there’s a chance for you. After all, if it sometimes takes until 26 for the growth plates to close, that means you could still be in with a shot?
Sure, it’s possible. But not by using growth supplements!
You see, even if the growth plates aren’t closed, it would take a lot of extra growth hormone for any additional growth to be encouraged. Most of these supplements draw on very tenuous animal studies that still only showed very minimal growth. They can’t really be extrapolated to human patients and even if they could, the results would be so marginal as to be almost worthless.
This is actually a good thing. Raising growth hormone too much would actually be dangerous as it can lead to hypertrophy of the heart (causing heart attacks) as well as causing excess growth of the jaw, nose and ears. As they’re made from cartilage, these features actually never stop growing!
And on top of all that, your growth plates probably are mostly closed. While some will occasionally still be open at the age of 26, for most people the majority will close long before then.
That said, if you are very unhappy with your height and you feel you might fall into the category of ‘restricted growth’, then you can always see your GP and request that they provide you with real HGH (human growth hormone). This can occasionally have some small benefit for teenagers and those in their very early 20s.
But whatever you do, just don’t waste money on useless ‘growth formulas’.
When something comes along that can legitimately increase adult height, you can be sure you’ll hear about it in the news!
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