Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Grow Taller Myths: Fact or Fiction

There are a lot of common myths about growing taller lets look at some of them.

1) The myth that Grow Taller 4 Idiots proliferated.  That it's possible to increase your disc height by stretching.  While stretching your intervertebral discs may activate genetic expression of certain growth factors, your discs can not stretch.  Your disc height is mainly determined by the fluid content of the nucleus pulposus.  Even if your discs are technically bigger(your lying down height increases but not your standing or sitting height) the nucleus fibrosus won't have the fluid content to support it.

2)HGH will increase your height.  Gigantism was found in cases of low serum level of growth hormone.  Gigantism is normally caused by an enlargement of the pituitary gland or something else that affects homeostasis.  The pituitary gland affects a lot more than HGH including negative feedback mechanisms.  Basically, you need a lot more than HGH. HGH has failed to increase height on it's own before.  Myostatin acts to inhibit cellular proliferation and differentiation.  That could be one reason why HGH on it's own does not increase height.

3)Inhibiting Estrogen will increase height.  Growth ceases due to a depletion of stem cells from the hyaline cartilage growth plate line.  It's not a race between ossification and chondrogenesis.  The growth plate conserves it's proliferative capacity in times of excess estrogen.  Estrogen affects growth rate and not final height.

4)Weight Lifting Stunts your Growth.  Compression only slows down growth rate, it doesn't affect final height.

5) The growth plates fuse.  Growth plates do not fuse. Hyaline cartilage remains on the growth plate line.  Stem cells in the hyaline cartilage differentiate into chondrocytes, those chondrocytes differentiate and die, and those chondrocytes ossify into bone.  The Hyaline cartilage it self does not.  The bones start out as a slab of hyaline cartilage and bone grows out of that.  New bone can grow out of the hyaline cartilage growth plate line.  The hyaline cartilage is visible on the x-ray.  It looks the same color of whiteness as the articular cartilage on the ends of the bones.  The proliferating and differentiating zone of the growth plate show up on the x-ray looking like a fracture as they don't have an extracellular matrix hence no whiteness.

Now, all theories are not totally wrong they are just much more complicated then they are made out to be.  Estrogen and HGH both play a role in growth.  But you won't grow taller simply by inhibiting Estrogen and stimulating HGH.  Inhibiting Myostatin maybe(which Testosterone inhibits by the way).  But basically a lot of theories are using an outdated model osteogensis versus chondrogenesis rather than the stem cell model.


  1. Just wondering.. it is possible to get arthritis from joint loading and all the tapping or even osteoporosis?

  2. To add to the previous comment, are there any other side effects or dangerous to this?

  3. woah! weightlifting slows down growth. I sure hope that is correct.i will be 18 in two months and i stand 5'5. been lifting weights since 7th grade. so i might not be at my adult height?