Can Growth Hormone Treatment Make Me Taller?


At metabolism.com we receive a lot of questions from members wondering whether growth hormone therapy will help them grow taller. Lorraine’s question, posted below, is typical. The single most important factor determining the effect of growth hormone on improving height, is whether the bone still has growth plates that are “open” because when the growth plates close (or fuse), the bone cannot get any longer. If the bone’s in the legs cannot grow full adult height has been achieved and taking growth hormone won’t change that.

Here is Lorraine’s question and below that is my response.

Lorraine writes to metabolism.com:

I’m 21 years old and am only 4 “10. Is there any way that HGH injections could help me grow a couple of inches? Please respond back to my question because I need to know if its too late since I already hit puberty.

My response to Lorraine is the following (I’m assuming Lorraine is really 21…not 12)

Lorraine:

From the time of birth we grow rapidly in good part due to the action of growth hormone which is released from the pituitary gland.

At puberty the release of testosterone in boys and estrogen in girls begins the process of final bone maturation. Children often experience a period of rapid growth known as a growth spurt at this time. Girls usually complete their growth spurt within a year or two of their first menstrual period. Boys tend to finish their growth phase when they are older compared to girls.

Growth ends because the areas of the bones known as the growth plates become sealed or fused. After that growth hormone has little effect to cause increased height. Bones in the face, feet and hands may still be susceptible to growth effects of growth hormone, with not particularly desirable results.

An adult who has not grown in a few years cannot generally get taller in response to growth hormone due to the fusion of their long bones. Taking HGH is unlikely to make you taller.

Aside from controlling height, growth hormone is likely to have other non-growth related benefits like preserving muscle and soft tissue and perhaps other general maintenance functions in the immune and central nervous systems. These benefits of growth hormone can be lost during aging since the pituitary production of growth hormone usually declines in later years.

I hope this information is helpful for you.

Disclaimer: This information does not substitute for the advice of your own physician and is for general learning purposes only.

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  • Hello,very good post. Infos are pretty usefull and saved me huge amount of time which I could spend on something else instead of googling 🙂 Thanks and waiting for more posts like this one.

  • hank frier

    This allows me to segue into the question on alot of older adults minds. Is it advisable to put older adults on a regime of HGH to perserve or increase muscle mass and decrease fat mass. As we age we lose lean body mass (sarcopenia) and the body composition changes demonstrating an increase in body fat. Also I heard certain amino acids such as arginine and glutamine can stimulate GH production naturally. What is the real scoop?

    • Dr. G. Pepper

      Hi Hank

      Thanks for the thoughtful question. Arginine is an amino acid that can raise growth hormone. but to do so it has to be given intravenously. In fact, intravenous arginine is a standardized test to determine if children are growth hormone deficient. In 1981 a group from Italy showed that taken together oral arginine with oral lysine can cause growth hormone elevation. Whether the effect is strong enough to have a clinical effect, I don’t know. I agree that as we age nature strips us of the hormones and other factors that keep us strong and healthy. I’m with you about fighting that. The trick is to avoid the “dark side” of efforts to stimulate growth hormone and similar anabolic substances.

      Gary Pepper, M.D.

  • hank frier

    Oops I see the answer below but would be interested in any nutritional supplements that might enhance secretion of GH.

    Hank

  • Pat

    Can a healthy 19 year old male benefit from growth hormone treatment for increased height?

  • shayna

    hi, im 23 and have suffered anorexia for the past 8 years. I was 175cm during puberty but am now 168cm. this loss of height is from osteoporosis and crush fractures in my spine. I have low bone density (equal to that of a 65 yr old). if I were to take hormone replacement etc. would that increase my height again? I haven’t had a period for 7 yrs either. thanks for any advice.

    • Gary Pepper M.D.

      Hi Shayna
      For those who have osteoporosis due to premature menopause (premature or early menopause can be due to many factors, extreme weight loss is one of these), the use of estrogen replacement makes a lot of sense. It is hard to say if there would be recovery of height lost but not doing anything in this situation could easily lead to further fractures. Estrogen replacement should be done carefully under the care of a GYN specialist because other issues need to be considered such as resumption of menstrual cycling.
      Hope this information is useful and good luck.

      Dr. P. (this information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute actual medical advice which should be obtained from your physician)