Being a polygenic trait, a person’s height is determined by genes to a significant extent. Apart from the genetic factors, height is also related to growth factor. It is a common belief that height gain halts when a person enters adulthood as the human body loses its natural ability to grow and develop.
The age of 18 is the transition stage between childhood and adulthood. During adolescent period, several hormonal changes take place within the human body. It indeed is good news that an individual can grow 2 to 6 inches taller even after turning 18. Scientists have discovered that the human body is capable to further grow and develop. Therefore, there is a possibility to increase height with some external help.
It is very important to know about the normal human growth process before even delving into the methods of increasing height.
A baby measures about 20 inches at birth and will grow 10 inches to become 30 inches in one year. At two years, the child will be about 35 inches tall. From two to twelve years, the child will grow up to 2 to 2 and half inches every year. The growth spurt that happens in adolescents starts at eleven years for girls and thirteen years for boys. The pubertal growth lasts for two years and it is followed by sexual development. The hormones secreted during adolescence affects the growth to a great extent. The growth rate slows down around 16-18 years. This happens when the growing ends of the bones fuse.
Now, what does bone fusing mean? There is an epiphyseal plate at the end of each bone. Epiphyseal plate is a hyaline cartilage that is found in children and adolescents. In adults, the epiphyseal plate is replaced by an epiphyseal line since growth has stopped. Endochondral ossification is responsible for bone development from cartilage and longitudinal growth of long bones from epiphyseal plate. There is constant cell division by mitosis in the epiphyseal plate. The daughter cells stack faces the epiphyseal plate and the old cells push towards diaphysis.
After chondrocytes in the epiphyseal plate degenerate, osteoblasts ossify the remains and the new bone is formed. In adolescents, the rise in the levels of estrogen triggers increased apoptosis (programmed cell death) of chondrocytes in the epiphyseal plate.
The depletion chondrocytes due to apoptosis leads to less ossification and thus the growth slows down. Finally, the growth stops and the epiphyseal cartilage are replaced by a bone leaving behind a tiny epiphyseal scar which disappears. So once the person becomes an adult, the only way to increase height is by a process called distraction osteogenesis.
The height of adults depends on genes, the start of puberty and the duration and growth spurt during puberty.
Abnormal Growth Patterns and Reasons:
Sometimes there is variation in the growth pattern. Some children are taller than their age and some are shorter. Parents are always worried about their children’s growth. So for a better understanding, here are some reasons why abnormal growth takes place.
a. Poor Nutrition and System Dysfunction:
Nutritional deficiencies are a reason behind poor growth. A balanced diet with right amount of protein, calcium and calories is essential for holistic body growth. Due to intestinal diseases there is malabsorption of nutrients and this leads to nutritional deficiency and stunted growth. However, once the intestinal disorder is treated the child can grow again.
Diseases affecting the heart, lung and kidneys due to lack of nutrients and toxic buildup in the body can result in stunted growth.Children with diabetes also have growth failure if the blood sugar is not controlled. Sometimes, severe stress and emotional trauma can also affect growth.
b. Bone Disorders:
One reason for short height can be due to abnormal formation and growth of cartilage and bone. Children suffering from skeletal dysplasia or chondrodystrophy have short stature and abnormal body proportion. The causes for chondrodystrophy are not known and more research is going on to prove whether it happens due to genetic reasons or it is a result of biochemical reactions inside the body. The specific type of chondrodystrophy has to be identified using bone x-rays and physical examination.
c. Intrauterine Growth Retardation:
Some infants are small at birth, especially, if they happen to be premature. Some babies are small in size and have low birth weight than their gestational age. This is because the baby didn’t grow as much it should have inside the womb; this condition is called intrauterine growth retardation.
There are many causes behind this intrauterine growth retardation, some are not identified and thus it is difficult to treat this condition and the child stays short throughout his or her life. The growth retardation can happen due to problem in the placenta, which supplies nutrients and oxygen to the baby. It can be due to viral infection like measles during pregnancy that affects the growth of the child.
d. Turner Syndrome:
Why are some girls really short? This is because of genetic reasons affects the X chromosome. In normal conditions, males have X and Y chromosomes and females have two X Chromosomes. Those affected with Turner Syndrome have one of this X chromosome missing. Girls who have Turner Syndrome barely reach the minimum 5 feet mark and have underdeveloped ovaries. This syndrome can be diagnosed by doing a blood test termed Karyotype.
Is there no solution for those affected with Turner Syndrome? Of course, there is but it is little complicated. Treatment is done using biosynthetic hormones to increase the height artificially. Also replacement of the missing ovarian hormones helps the girls to develop normal female sexual characteristics.Research is still going on to discover more findings related to Turner Syndrome.
e. Precocious or Early Puberty:
An early onset of adolescence can cause trouble and result in abnormal growth pattern. Girls are more susceptible to stunted growth caused due to early start of puberty. There is development of sexual characteristic prematurely. Children with sexual precocity grow tall initially and there is bone growth too, but growth also stops a bit early for them and this results in short stature.
The solution to precocious puberty can be brought by a synthetic hormone called LHRH or Luteinizing Hormone Releasing Hormone (agonist). This is an artificial Peptide drug modeled on Hypothalamic Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH). This LHRH hormone is used to prevent the early start of puberty and also help to increase height in those suffering from sexual precocity.
Sometimes, a tumour in the adrenal gland, pituitary gland and ovaries also cause early onset of adolescence. Removal of tumour or treatment can solve the problem and enable proper height growth.
f. Thyroid Hormone Deficiencies:
Hormones regulates body growth. Any deficiency in hormones stunts the growth process. Deficiency in thyroid affects the child’s physical and psychological growth. The thyroid gland releases three hormones- triiodothyronine (T3), Thyroxin (T4) and tyrosine based hormones which help to regulate the metabolism process.
The lack of thyroid hormone also called Hypothyroid occurs at birth or during infancy. It has to be diagnosed and treated at the earliest; otherwise it will affect the child’s psychological process. A blood test is done to diagnose the deficiency and a daily pill is given to replace the missing hormone. If treated at the nick of time, the child grows normally.
g. Deficiency in Growth Hormone:
Many hormones are responsible for proper growth. The most important of them is growth hormone. It is released by the pituitary gland or master gland located at the hypothalamus of the brain. Sometimes pituitary gland malfunction can cause hypothyroid and hypercortisolism (excess release of stress hormone). Growth hormone deficiency can happen due to damage to the pituitary gland at the time of birth.
A child suffering from growth hormone deficiency also lack in other hormones secreted or controlled by the pituitary gland, like thyroid, adrenal and sex hormones. The child grows slowly but they don’t have any abnormal body proportions. All hormones need to be in proper balance for normal growth to take place. If any hormone is missing it has to be replaced synthetically with medication.
h. Abnormal Tall Stature:
Did you feel that being too short is a cause of concern, yes it is, and similarly being too tall can be detrimental too! Excess of growth hormone is called acromegaly. It can be treated with medication and removal of tumor that affects the secretion of growth hormone.
Abnormal tall stature can be hereditary as well. Marfan’s Syndrome and Klinefelter’s syndrome are examples of genetic cause of abnormal tall stature.
Modern Studies Show Height Growth is Possible After 18:
Now that you know the reason behind stunted growth and you are also aware that growth stops after 16 years. Well modern studies and research say something different. So there is some silver lining in the cloud after all!
Research states that we continue to grow even after adolescence, though the progress is not that visible. Sometimes, surgery is done to increase height artificially. The bone is cut and some special orthopedic devices are used to extend the limbs. The process is expensive and painful and it takes time to heal.
There are many herbal concoctions showed in Television to show that promise that it will increase height. Steer clear of it since the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t recommend these herbal medicines for the risk of side effects.
It is always best to follow the natural methods to increase height by eating properly and sleeping at the right time. Make lifestyle changes if you really want a good height!
How to Increase Height after 18 Years?
Though, it is possible to increase height after the age of 18 years, extra effort is required in order to reap positive results since the development of the body slows down gradually. It’s a well-known fact that nutrition is imperative for further growth and development, most importantly for natural height gain. In addition to this, a number of other factors should also be taken into consideration to trigger height growth after attaining the age of 18. Here are healthy ways on how to increase height naturally after 18.
11 Effective Tips for Height Growth After 18:
Here are 11 simple ways to increase height after 18 years.
1. Healthy Breakfast:
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it should fill up the stomach. Even if you are going to the gym make sure you are carrying some food in your bag. Never exercise on an empty stomach, have a protein bar or a fruit at least. It is recommended to have a healthy breakfast. Skipping breakfast is not at all a healthy option for your growth and it also affects your height. Having proper breakfast boosts your metabolism and thus has a positive effect on your height.
Start your day with a breakfast cereal like oats. You can make oat porridge with milk and incorporate dry fruits like cashews and raisins in it to make it delicious. You must have an egg as it is rich in vitamin D and helps to absorb calcium. Calcium helps to strengthen bones and helps in increasing height by aiding in ossification process. You can also have cornflakes with milk and include fiber rich fruits like apples, bananas and strawberries. Those who are lactose intolerant can try protein rich soy milk and fresh yogurt. Oats, yogurt and berries make a great breakfast combination.
Remember protein, vitamin D and calcium is essential for a good height.
2. Proper Nutrition:
Proper nutrition is absolutely vital for a healthy body. Most people fail to reach their maximum height due to inadequate nutrition. To get proper nutrition, it is necessary to follow a balanced diet. Consumption of essential nutrients provides the required stimulus for increasing the body height both naturally and medically. Apart from these points, including food items rich in zinc, manganese and phosphorus also contributes to your growth.
Minerals like calcium, manganese and zinc aids in building bone tissue, improving blood circulation and boosts height growth naturally. So have broccoli, cabbage, spinach, prunes, peaches, grapes, bananas, pumpkin, carrot, peanuts and legumes. You should include vitamin A rich foods like spinach, beetroot, carrots, chicken, cantaloupe, papaya, peach, milk, apricots, tomatoes and peas.
Protein is essential for growth, without protein there will be irregular body growth. Even if your parents are tall you can still be short and underdeveloped if you don’t have protein rich foods. Every cell in human body needs protein to function properly. Protein also helps in metabolism and DNA replication. So include lentils, tofu, beans, peas, fish, egg, chicken and beef in your daily diet.
3. Have Adequate Sleep and Rest:
Proper sleep and rest plays a vital role in overall growth and development.Even if you eat healthy but sleep for only 5 hours daily you will still remain short. Why? If you have disrupted sleep or you stay awake the body feels fatigued. Also staying awake disturbs the secretion of growth hormones and other hormones that regulate body growth.
You can have carbohydrate rich foods like potato or rice to induce sleep. However, don’t eat too much of carbohydrates. Teenagers require at least 8.5 to 11 hours of sleep every night. This is because the body grows and regenerates tissues during sleep. Fix your sleeping time, make it a habit to sleep and wake up early.
Moreover, human growth hormone, which is responsible for increasing height, is produced while sleeping. Hence, proper sleep and rest are mandatory for height gain.
4. Frequent, Smaller Meals:
Have six small meals in a day instead of three in order to boost your metabolism. The results of your height gain regime and the amount of human growth hormone produced depends on what you eat. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you are getting the necessary vitamins and minerals required for attaining full height naturally.
[ Read: Foods and Diet For Increasing Height ]
5. Exercise and Yoga Regime:
Exercise is a vital factor in increasing your height. Simple exercises like skipping, hanging from an overhead bar and stretching the body by standing on your toes should be part of your daily workout routine. Additionally, sports activities like basketball, football and swimming are also beneficial for increasing height. Yoga is also very effective and is considered to be one of the best exercise to increase height after 18 years.
Yoga can’t change your genes but it can give you a good posture. When you stand straight without slouching you automatically look tall. Suppose, you sit at a desk for a long time, your spine gets a slight curvature and the shoulders appear round. This doesn’t mean your bones are deformed but the muscles supporting the bones become lax and stretched out to a point that body assumes the posture that you are most comfortable in. So even when you stand you are slouching that makes you look shorter. Yoga can’t change your skeletal growth but it can surely give you good posture and alignment that makes you look tall.
Spine lengthening and good posture forms the core of yoga. Doing the mountain pose, will help to strengthen and lengthen your spine and give you a good height. Suryanamaskar or Sun Salutation is a great way to increase height and stay fit. The twelve poses are done in a cyclic manner to strengthen muscles and improve posture. If you don’t have too much time on your hands, you can just practice Suryanamaskar for 10-20 times each day. Trikosana or triangle pose is great way to achieve good height and body balance. The parivrittatrikosana or reverse triangle pose also helps in gaining height. Vrikasana or tree pose help in getting balance and harmony. Tree pose also helps to stretch the muscles of the body. You can also practice breathing and meditation to calm your mind and de-stress. Since a mind free of depression and stress helps in proper growth.
[ Read: Yoga Execises for Stretching Body ]
6. Maintain Ideal Body Weight:
Obesity can have an adverse effect on your height. Obesity can cause several health problems too. Hence, it is important to maintain an ideal body weight by following a balanced diet and proper exercise regime.
If you have excess body weight that the gravity compresses the intervertebral discs giving you a short stature. Too much of body weight exerts pressure on the bones and joints and make you look shorter. This is why people high on the age bar looks shorter than they actually are. Your stature changes with posture so consciously stand straight.
7. Drink Plenty of Water:
Water flushes out toxins from your body and aids in digestion. Therefore, at least drinking 8 glasses of water every day is recommended for a better health.
8. Avoid Growth Inhibitors:
Teenagers often adopt the habit of smoking and drinking without realizing the adverse effects on their growth. Antibiotics, drugs, cigarettes and alcohol act as growth inhibitors; therefore, avoid them to grow taller naturally.
9. Practice Good Posture:
A good posture plays a vital role in the development of your height. Always try to keep your head and neck aligned in a straight posture. Bending and slouching causes your spinal cord to suppress normal height.
[ Read: How To Increase Height Naturally ]
10. Avoid Smoking and Drinking:
Indulging in smoking and drinking suppresses your primary growth. It initiates your secondary growth which adversely affects your height. Hence, it is better to refrain from immoral activities.
11. Do Sprint Exercises:
Sprinting at high speeds helps to produce a huge amount of human growth hormone. The more you run the more hormones are produced in your body. When you sprint at high speeds there are micro factures in your bones, which heal within a week and the bone undergoes remodeling and growth.
Scientific research shows that stretching exercises help to increase the height by 3 inches if done regularly. Sprinting helps to extend the length of your leg bones and helps you to grow tall naturally.
According to the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, high intensity exercises helps to yield growth hormone and this helps to increase the height. You can use an exercise bar for stretching exercises at home. This will lengthen your bones and will automatically make you tall.
You can try skipping, jumping, swimming or take part in active sports like basketball and volley ball which helps to strengthen and stretch your muscles and make you tall.
So girls, now you know an effective way on how to increase height after 18 years. Boys with short stature can also follow these methods. Fortunately, it is possible to increase height after 18 years is possible by following these easy tips. In spite of all the efforts you have put, if your height has still not increased much in between the time before and after puberty, it advisable to get medical help in order to get to the root of the problem.
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