Increasing one’s height beyond the late teenage years presents a challenging task since this is typically the period when individuals reach their final height. However, there are individuals who express a desire to grow taller even after turning 18. While the results may not be statistically significant, some people have reported slight height increases, which can be preferable to experiencing no growth at all.
What factors are responsible for your height growth?
The pituitary gland plays a critical role in regulating bone growth, body composition, and metabolism by producing growth hormones. This process begins during puberty, usually around the ages of 12 to 13, and continues for approximately six years. While some individuals may experience additional growth beyond this period, they are considered outliers.
The growth plates, also known as epiphyseal plates, are specialized cartilage areas located near the ends of long bones. As long as the growth plates remain active or “open,” height gains are primarily attributed to the elongation of the long bones. However, hormonal changes that occur toward the end of puberty cause the growth plates to gradually become rigid or “close,” leading to the cessation of bone lengthening. In girls, growth plates typically close around the age of 16, while in boys, this process occurs between the ages of 14 and 19.
Is it possible to grow taller after the age of 18?
The majority of teenagers have their epiphyseal plates, or growth plates, become inactive around the age of 18, leading many to believe that our bodies stop growing at this stage. However, there are instances where growth plates may still be active for development even after reaching 18 years of age. It is highly recommended to consult with a doctor to determine if the growth plates are still active.
While most adults do not experience actual long bone growth, it is normal to observe daily variations in height. These fluctuations are attributed to the slight compression of the spinal discs. The activities performed throughout the day impact the cartilage and fluid in the spine, resulting in minor height reductions as the day progresses. This temporary height decrease during the daytime can be as much as half an inch (1.5 cm).
What is the average height at the age of 18?
According to the CDC, the average height at the age of 18 for boys is 6’2” (189.46 cm) and for girls is 5’7” (175.29 cm) (1).
How to make the most out of your limited growth period?
While it may be difficult to make significant changes to your height as an adult, there are measures you can take during your teenage years to maximize your height potential.
Have a fresh and nutritious diet
It is crucial to ensure that you are receiving adequate nutrients and avoiding any deficiencies in vitamins or minerals, especially during your teenage years. While many individuals consume enough food, the quality of their diet often falls short, potentially leading to a lack of essential nutrients necessary for bone health and overall well-being, such as vitamin D and calcium. Calcium plays a role in hormone production that benefits bone health, and vitamin D supports bone health as well.
Increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables can help address malnutrition and promote optimal bone growth. Additionally, consuming an adequate amount of protein is essential for both bone health and muscle recovery. Good sources of protein include eggs, milk, soybeans, and other legumes.
Limit Consumption of Sugary Foods
Consuming sugary foods, especially during adolescence, can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes, which can cause irregular glucose spikes and disrupt insulin rhythms. Obesity puts additional strain on the joints due to increased pressure from the body. The closure of growth plates also limits the potential for height increase after the age of 18.
Limit Consumption of High-Sodium Snacks
Consuming foods high in sodium can contribute to a nutritional imbalance and increase the risk of serious illnesses, including high blood pressure, heart conditions, and goiter. Excessive salt intake can also lead to the depletion of calcium from the body, negatively impacting both dental health and bone strength.
Stay Hydrated with Water and Consume Milk
Water and milk, in addition to the nutrients obtained from food, play vital roles in promoting height growth. Staying hydrated with water and consuming milk, which is a good source of calcium and other essential nutrients, can support overall bone health and contribute to optimal growth.
Water is a fundamental component of life, aiding in hydration and the transportation of nutrients and oxygen in the body. The recommended daily water intake varies depending on factors such as gender, health, body weight, and height. However, as a general guideline, an average person should aim to consume around 64 ounces of water per day, which is approximately 2 liters, to maintain proper hydration.
Milk plays a crucial role in supporting bone and muscle growth due to its content of calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and protein. Calcium and phosphorus are essential for strong bones, while vitamin B12 and protein support muscle growth and recovery. Consuming milk after a workout can be beneficial for muscle recovery. However, it is recommended to consume no more than 16 ounces (500 ml) of milk per day to maintain a balanced diet.
Getting adequate vitamin D
Dietary changes and lifestyle adjustments alone may not significantly impact height until the body receives adequate amounts of vitamin D. This essential vitamin plays a crucial role in calcium absorption, which in turn supports bone and muscle growth. Insufficient levels of vitamin D have been linked to conditions like obesity and can even contribute to stunted growth in children.
The most direct way to acquire vitamin D is through exposure to sunlight, particularly in the morning. Engaging in 30 minutes of outdoor activity during this time can help children develop stronger and taller bodies. Additionally, vitamin D can be obtained from foods such as dairy products, mushrooms, egg yolks, organ meats, and fortified cereals.
During adolescence, the growth plates in cartilage are more vulnerable and susceptible to damage compared to fully formed bones. Therefore, it is crucial to engage in exercises under adult supervision and with proper techniques. Exercises help strengthen muscles and bones by creating micro-tears that stimulate repair and enhance endurance.
Regular workouts also offer additional benefits, such as improving overall health and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by weakened and fragile bones, which can lead to a loss of bone density and, consequently, a decrease in height over time
Maintaining good posture can contribute to an improved appearance of height. By distributing your weight evenly throughout your body, you can help prevent bone and spinal issues. Correcting a hunched posture can visibly impact your height, making you appear taller.
Consistently getting less sleep than the recommended amount during adolescence can have significant consequences. Sleep plays a crucial role because it’s during this time that the body produces growth hormones. Insufficient sleep can lead to decreased production of these hormones and other negative effects. Conversely, getting adequate sleep can enhance growth hormone production. Therefore, it is important for 18-year-olds to prioritize getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night to promote optimal mental and physical well-being.
Fish Oil and Height Support Supplements
It can be challenging to consistently obtain all the essential nutrients and minerals solely from meals. This is where dietary supplements come into play. Height growth supplements provide the body with necessary nutrients and minerals to support growth. They can also aid in daily functions and promote better sleep at night. Height support supplements are available in various forms, including capsules, traditional pills, and chewable tablets.
Another beneficial option is fish oil supplements, which are rich in protein and fatty acids essential for bone growth.
Say NO to Addictive Substances
The development of your height can be negatively impacted by addictive substances.
- Caffeine: Sleep is essential for physical growth. Allowing caffeine to disrupt your sleep at night can slow down your growth rate.
- Nicotine: Nicotine has detrimental effects on both your physical and mental development.
- Steroids: While they promote muscle growth, steroids can hinder bone formation. This is why individuals who use steroids may appear bulky but have a weak bone framework. This body type is more susceptible to exercise-related injuries.
In rare cases where the growth plates remain active, it is possible to continue growing taller at and after the age of 18. Given the limited time remaining for physical development during late adolescence, it becomes crucial to maintain a nutritious diet, engage in regular exercise, and prioritize quality sleep. Comparing your current height to the national average can help you assess where you stand and determine if additional efforts are needed to achieve a taller stature.