Can You Increase Your Height After 18?

Written by Charushila Biswas
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition

Increasing your height after 18 can be quite tricky – because 18-20 is the age when humans attain their final height.

However, many people want to grow taller after 18. Is it possible to add a few inches to your height after this ripe age? Here are the seven facts about increasing height after 18. Swipe up to read!

Increasing Your Height After 18 – Is It Possible?

Fact #1. Can You Really Increase Your Height After 18?

Most people attain their final adult height at 18. Increasing your height after 18 is not possible, even through nutrition and exercise, because the growth plates stop growing.

The growth plates (epiphyseal plates) are present at the end of long bones. The growth plates proliferate to add cartilage, which gets calcified, degraded, and replaced by bone tissue to add height or inches to your growth (1), (2).

However, some people may continue growing until the age of 20 (3), (4).

Why do some people grow taller than the rest? What are the factors that determine height? Here’s what we found.

Fact #2. Factors That Determine Your Height

There are many factors that determine your height:

  • Genes

According to Genetics Home Research (NIH, USA), 80% of your height is determined by the DNA sequence (or genes) you inherited. The action of many genes (about 50) plays a role in determining your growth (5), (6).

A few examples of these genes are FGFR3, GH1, FBN1, GPC3, and EVC. A single mutation in one of these genes may hinder your growth.

Moreover, your hormones can also affect your growth. Let’s find out how.

  • Hormones

The three main hormones that affect height are:

  1. Growth hormone (GH)
  2. Thyroid hormone
  3. Sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone)

Deficiency in the growth or thyroid hormones may stop growth at an early age.

The sex hormones also play a major role as they affect the growth of boys and girls during puberty. Read more about it in the next section.

Note: Interestingly, your hormones are also determined by the genes you carry and if they are functional at the right time.

  • Puberty

Puberty hits boys at around 11-12 years and girls at 9-10 years (7). Pubertal growth occurs in different phases – growth acceleration and then deceleration.

In the acceleration phase, the increase in height occurs by the activation of the hypothalamus,  pituitary gland, and gonadal glands. This growth is termed as  “adolescent growth spurt” or “take-off” phase for growth in terms of height and sexual maturity (8).

Growth continues during puberty as boys and girls hit the Peak Height Velocity (PHV) phase.  It is the phase in which the increase in height is maximum. The average age for boys to hit PHV is 13.5 years, and for girls is 11.5 years (9).  PHV is highest in early-maturing children than in late-maturing ones. Here’s a table for a better understanding.

Age fo take-off(growth) Age of Peak GVPeak GVDurationTotal height gain
Normal puberty males8-13 years (11 years)13.5 years9.5 cm/y3 years30.5 cm
Normal puberty females9-14 years(9 years)11.5 years8.3 cm/y2.5 years28.5 cm
Early pubertyEarlyEarlyHigherLongerMore gain
Late pubertyLateLateLess+LessLess gain
Obesity (girls)EarlyEarlyLess+LessLess gain
Severe under-nutritionLateLateLessLonger+Same
Chronic dieases: Chronic renal
failure, cystic fibrosis, crohn’s
disease, thalassemia major
LateLateLessNormal or
Less gain
Athletes*Normal or delayedNormal or delayedNormalNormalNormal
Intenseive training
with energy
DelayedDelayedLessNormal or
Less gain
  • Nutrition And Exercise
Nutrition And Exercise


What you eat during your growing age and physical activity also help determine your final height. Nutritional Growth Retardation is a condition in which a child’s cells start to compensate for the lack of nutrition with slowed growth (10).

Nutrition during pregnancy also affects the child’s height. Taking iron, iodine, folate, and calcium supplements may help improve the child’s adult height (11).

Along with nutrition, exercising and being physically active from early childhood also helps build better bone density, prevents the onset of osteoporosis, and improves height (12), (13), (14).

You must keep in mind that excessive exercising may also cause stunted growth. The mechanical stress caused due over-exercising causes the nutrition you take to be used up for compensating cellular and metabolic needs (15).

  • Environment

It seems unlikely, but the environment you grow up may also affect your height. Of course, genes are the major players, but so are your social background, geographical location, pollution, economic status, and disease exposure (16), (17), (18), (19).

These are the major factors that determine the final height. But let me reiterate a few points. Scroll down.

 Fact #3. Nutrition Helps Before 18

Yes, eating good, healthy food helps. But, before 18. That does not mean you don’t need to eat well post 18. But if you want to increase your height, it is crucial to eat right.

 Fact #4. Exercising Is Important, Even After You Turn 18

Yes, exercising and staying active always helps. Of course, after 20 years, exercising might not help you gain height, but it will help you build lean muscle mass, healthier bones, and better mental health.

Apart from nutrition and exercise, your lifestyle also determines your height. But what kind of lifestyle should you be following? Find out next.

Fact #5. Lifestyle Change Is A Must

An active lifestyle is the best. From as early as 4 years, staying active is the key to not just growing tall but also living a disease-free life. Running, jumping, pull-ups, cycling, playing basketball, football, and swimming are the best exercises.

Also, take a break from your schedule. Of course, you have exams to pass and other dreams and ambitions to pursue, but the piling pressure only increases stress. Stress is bad for your physical and mental health. Seek help from a professional if you need to.

During the growing stage, it is also important to get at least 7 hours of sleep.  Sleeping helps rejuvenate the cells, boost immunity, and reduce stress.

The revelation of all these points got me to the next question. Is the “taller is better” notion just a myth? Here’s the obvious answer.

Fact #6. The Taller, The Better – It Is Just A Myth

Yes, taller is not always better. Look at Peter Dinklage (4’5”) of Game of Thrones fame. What an actor! What has height got to do with any of that flawless acting?

Many other examples include Kate Moss (5’6”), Ariana Grande (5’1”), Jack Ma (5’5”), and the shortest boxer, four-time world champion, Jacob Matlala (4′ 10”).

You must know at least one person in your life who is not tall, but that does not deter them from being the fierce, go-getter that they are.

Fact #7. Accept Yourself Before Others Do

Adjust your sails according to the wind. Accept yourself as you are. Not that you should give up easily when you still have time to increase your height. But knowing when to give up and set sail for things that will define you and improve the quality of your life is also important. Do not let your height define how you feel about yourself. Trust me, there a million other ways to make your mark. Just look in the right place!

The question, however, still remains. How to increase your height, especially if you are over 20 and have stopped growing? Well, you cannot increase your height. But you can create an illusion of height. Here are a few tips to appear taller.

Ways To Appear Taller

Ways To Appear Taller


  • Wear heels. Make sure they are comfortable and do not hurt your hips and ankles.
  • Tone up. A toned body looks slender and adds height to your silhouette.
  • Wear dresses that don’t cut your figure off and take away height. An example can be a supermini bodycon dress. Shorter people with curvy bodies tend to look shorter in these kinds of dresses. Try just-below-the-knee, tapered or pencil skirts or bodycon dresses. A plunging neckline and sleek heels add glamor and appeal.
  • A high ponytail or bun always adds to your height.
  • Wear the right stripes. Vertical stripes are always good for adding height.
  • Wear color-blocked dresses and leggings that make your body appear slimmer and taller.


Human beings typically stop growing after 18-20 years of age. Genes, hormones, nutrition, physical activity, and environment play an important role in determining your height. If you are not blessed with the genes, you can always seek nutritional advice from a registered dietitian. But do this before you hit the ripe age of 18.

Hope this post helped answer the burning question, “how to increase my height?” Also, hope you feel less burdened and less conscious about your height now. If you have questions, post them in the comments box, and we’d be happy to answer. Take care!


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Charushila Biswas is a Senior Content Writer and an ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition. She is an alumni of VIT University, Vellore and has worked on transgenic wheat as a part of her Masters dissertation from NRCPB (IARI), New Delhi. After completing her Masters, she developed a passion for nutrition and fitness, which are closely related to human psychology. This prompted her to author a review article in 2015. She has written over 200 articles on Fitness and Nutrition. In her leisure time, Charushila loves to cook and enjoys mobile photography.