Is it possible to increase your height after 18?

June 11, 2021 | By NuBest
Almost everyone dreams of having a perfectly tall figure. This desire is even stronger among those whose “modest height” genes run in their families. But can anything be done about your height, especially after 18? Good news for you: some people with partially close growth plates can grow taller naturally at this age. Most people’s growth plates will have fused completely by the age of 20, sometimes earlier at 16-19, so if your growth plates refuse to close at 18, you still have time to add some inches to your height.

When do people stop growing taller? 

From one year of age to puberty, most people gain about 2 inches in height every year. When puberty hits, you may grow at a rate of 4 inches per year. Everyone, however, develops at their individual rate.

Growth spurt typically begins in the early teenage years for girls. Boys may not recognize this sudden increase in height until they reach adolescence. Both boys and girls generically stop growing taller after finishing puberty. This means that as adults, they are unlikely to increase height naturally.

Why do we stop gaining height?

The growth plates, which are specialized cartilage areas near the ends of your long bones, determine the future length of your height. Height gain primarily takes place at these growth plates where new bone forms as your long bones lengthen.

Our growth plates start to close in the early to mid-teens for most people. In some cases, they still remain open, enabling young adults to grow taller after the age of 18. Nevertheless, the chances are small, and overall growth is limited to 1-2 inches per year. 

Which factors determine height growth?

The first thing to come to mind is obviously genetics. Yet, there are other key factors that affect your height to a considerable extent, especially during childhood and adolescence.

Good nutrition

While height depends largely on genetics, getting adequate nutrients from your diet is essential to facilitate optimal growth and development. Specifically, our body needs proper amounts of proteins, vitamins, and minerals to grow taller. This explains why children suffering from nutritional deficiency end up being shorter than their counterparts who are brought up with good nutrition.

Proteins are composed of one or more chains of amino acids that take part in healthy development while promoting tissue repair and immune functions. The best foods for complete proteins are fish, meat, eggs, milk, legumes, nuts, and seeds. These foods contain a high concentration of amino acids that make up the genetic code, including the nine essential amino acids that our body cannot synthesize on its own.

Nutritionists suggest that children and adolescents consume a well-balanced diet enriched with various fruits and vegetables to absorb all the growth-supporting vitamins and minerals instead of unhealthy carbohydrates and fats. Meanwhile, other research shows that probiotics, a type of beneficial bacteria often found in fermented foods like yogurt, could also boost growth in children.

Besides calcium, other nutrients like vitamin D, magnesium, and phosphorus also help to build up strong bones but most of the time, we fail to acquire enough of these nutrients from foods. Fortunately, people can consider taking supplements to complement their diets with sufficient amounts of bone-nourishing nutrients. However, the use of supplements should be carefully researched to pick one with high-quality ingredients from an established brand.

In brief, it is critical to eat a variety of healthy and nutrient-dense foods to ensure the body gets enough proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

Proper sleep

Sleep is inarguably beneficial to the height development of children and teenagers. It is because growth hormone, which is mostly responsible for your height increase and overall development, is secreted at peak levels during deep sleep. In other words, you are literally growing taller in your sleep.

For this reason, do not compromise your precious sleep hours to play games or watch movies. Also, be mindful of your sleeping positions as incorrect sleeping posture can put a strain on your neck, shoulders, and back and eventually stunt growth.

Physical activity

Stretching exercises are highly useful in improving your posture and loosening your tight muscles and ligaments. Thanks to this, you can reach your full height potential or if you are done with growing, at least you feel and appear taller. Try to perform stretching exercises after you have been sitting for a long while as the discs in your spine are compressed, making you shorter bit by bit.

Some stretching exercises that are found to be useful for height growth include:

  • Cobra pose

  • Mermaid stretch

  • Downward dog

  • Lunges

  • Bridges.

If these sound dull to you, then go for more intense and physically demanding sports that involve plenty of jumping and stretching movements. For example:

  • Volleyball

  • Basketball

  • Skipping

  • Hanging

  • Jogging

  • Cycling.

While being active, your body is stimulated to produce growth hormone, further accelerating your height gain process.

Hormonal therapy

Growth hormone deficiency can occur in some children and teenagers, which is usually caused by a fundamental disorder. In these cases, growth hormone injection therapy is advised.

Growth hormone therapy using lab-developed HGH injections is the most common treatment for those suffering from growth hormone deficiency. Depending on the levels of deficiency, doses can be given many times a week or on a regular basis. The lab-developed growth hormone is created to replicate the functions of natural growth hormone in the body.

HGH treatment, on the other hand, can be highly harmful if obtained without a doctor’s prescription. If you are considering this treatment, consult your doctor or a medical professional beforehand.

Leg-lengthening surgery 

This could be seen as the last resort for those wishing to increase height after 18. Leg-lengthening surgery is an inpatient operation that uses the body's capacity to shape new bone as soft tissue, nerves, and blood vessels expand progressively over time to extend the length of the legs. In this surgery, the leg bones will be cut and a metal lengthening device will be inserted, which gradually distracts or expands the space between the bones.

Even though this method may help add some precious inches to your height, it also comes with a range of dangers, including bone growth restriction, poor bone healing, or nerve damage. It is well-advised that you consult an experienced surgeon to fully understand the complications of leg-lengthening surgery before making a decision.

Summary: Is it possible to increase your height after 18?

Theoretically, once people have passed puberty, the growth plates stop producing new bone, and hence they stop growing taller. Even so, there are a few cases where the growth plates are still active, and those after 18 years of age can still gain height naturally. To make the most of this golden chance to reach your desired height, you should lead a healthy lifestyle with good nutrition, proper sleep, and plenty of physical activity. Just like many other things in life, it is all about making good choices!

(*) All pictures shown are for illustration purpose only.
icon-info
THE ABOVE INFORMATION IS FOR REFERENCE ONLY and shall not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or starting any medication or treatment without discussing it with a qualified health professional.