Myths About Growing Taller

People grow taller at different rates since each person's body develops at its own pace.
People grow taller at different rates since each person's body develops at its own pace. (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Average heights vary from one culture to the next, but across cultures, men are generally taller than women. However, many adolescent girls are taller than their male peers, though, because girls begin puberty earlier, causing growth spurts. Most people grow taller until their late teens, when height normally reaches its maximum.

Sleep's Influence

There is research to suggest that the body’s relaxation during sleep causes the backbone to increase slightly. The backbone increases because the vertebrae collect fluid when the body is at rest. This fluid drains during activity. Thus, a person may appear slightly taller in the morning than at night. However, this change does not significantly impact height.

Supplements and Exercise's Influence

During your formative years in childhood and adolescence, your body grows and you become taller. Once your body has stopped growing, you have reached your maximum height. No dietary supplement or vitamin can make you taller. Exercise also won't make you taller, although exercise can improve posture, which causes you stand up straighter, and thus, taller.

Biological Influence

Height is biologically predetermined. Chromosomes decide your capacity for height, although malnutrition or other ailments may prevent you from reaching your biologically determined height.

Calcium and Vitamins Influence

Calcium and vitamins A and D do not stimulate growth and increase height in adults, but they can help to preserve height. This is because these nutrients preserve bone mass, which is critical to maintaining stature. Just as calcium and vitamins A and D are essential to growing children, they are essential to middle-aged and elderly adults to protect healthy, strong bones.

Human Growth Hormones Influence

Human growth hormones or other synthetic supplements cannot be used to promote growth in adults. Supplements are only prescribed on children and young adults who have not finished growing. Furthermore, hormone supplements are only prescribed if no other drugs or treatment is effective, since they have undesirable, and sometimes severe, side effects.

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