Can Growth Hormone Make You Taller
Yes, in growing children where they are GH deficient. Not for anyone else.
After a recent spate of height related questions in /r/PEDs, I decided to tackle this one. While I conclude that for our intents and purposes the answer is no, if you have recent data that indicates otherwise please lmk.
Like all ethical and rational human beans, the use of HGH in children is reserved for those deficient and significantly vertically challenged. In this scenario, increasing GH has some benefit. In the first study I looked at, sixty children diagnosed with idiopathic growth hormone deficiency were followed till final height was reached, after hGH treatment lasting between 2 and 15 (average 5.4) years. The final height of the patients averaged 2.3 standard deviations below the population mean. Since untreated patients end at about 6 standard deviations below the mean, treatment represented a significant improvement, but the lost two standard deviations remained lost. Interestingly, half the boys, but only 15% of the girls, ended above the population 3rd centile from this treatment.
This result is confirmed in multiple studies, 1, 2, 3. The height is never fully made up for, likely due to the relatively late age of diagnosis of 2+. Early diagnosis increases growth velocity, which determines the final height that can be reached, and is controlled by the size of the GH pulse. Therefore, very small children at a very young age are the target demographic for using a compound this way, and is the best use for HGH or GH increasing compounds.
Is this any use for growing adolescents? How about full grown adults?
As long as the epiphyseal plate is open, the bone will continue to grow into this space. Eventually, the plate is sealed, as the bones run out of space to continue growing, known as growth plate fusion. This occurs between 12-16 in girls, and 14-19 in boys. If the plate fusion has already occurred, you’re shit outta luck. Buy some platform shoes and maintain good posture: there’s nothing that growth hormone can do for you in terms of height.
Where the fusion is yet to place, let’s take a look at those classified as late maturer’s and given HGH. Since no research is getting approval to take adolescents already of average or above height and of normal development and feeding them HGH (outside of China anyway), this is the best data we have and relates most for our uses. For this case study, I’m referring to this graph.
What we find is that growth rates increase within months of initiating HGH, doubling during the first year of treatment, growing at a rate faster than peers and which results in upward crossing of percentiles on the growth curve to restore position in normal range. However the height gains do not dramatically alter an individual’s potential. The amount of height gained by a child of already average height is marginal: <1cm in the final year prior of treatment before growth plate fusion.
What can you do as a growing adolescent to maximize your height? First, avoid PEDs. As I cover here, testosterone (and estrogen) cause the closure of epiphyseal growth plates. I’m unclear if SARMs which bind with androgen receptors (like testosterone does) have the same effect, but as they commonly mimic the effects of testosterone, I don’t recommend it (unless someone can show me otherwise, happy to be wrong on this point).
If you are in the camp of a late maturer, perhaps the biggest barrier to you in using HGH is the cost. The calculated average cost per inch gained was more than $35 000. Might be worth it for those of very short stature at a very young age, but it’s just not going to deliver the result that an 18 year old is looking for. Sorry. You may however wish to get an x-ray, and see if your growth plates have closed or not, before you do anything.
Well, that’s it folks. Not looking forward to the angst that this might generate, but please keep in mind that height truly is not as big an issue as some make it out to be. My own firsthand experience at bars when I was in my late teens suggests that women have no idea how tall someone actually is: though I am 6’1”, they would frequently guess I was inches taller if asked to guess. Same for my friends. As always, we should judge people not for their appearance, but for their character and actions. Anyone judging based on height alone is a sad, lonely individual.