Does diet affect height growth?

by   |   Apr 19, 2024

You all have heard the saying ‘You are what you eat’ since this theory has become a common belief across the world in recent decades. It is famous for the underlying meaning that the food you take in will shape how healthy and happy you are in the future. But is the food on your plate able to influence your longitudinal growth? The answer is still left covered. In this article, we will identify the mechanism of bone growth and examine the relationship between nutritious diets and height growth.

The Science of Height Growth

The growth plates, responsible for longitudinal growth, are situated at the end of most long bones, typically in the tibia, femur, and humerus. There are specialized cells called chondrocytes within the growth plates, primarily producing cartilage matrices, providing the framework for the plates to function properly. You can think of the cartilage cells within your body as tiny building blocks.

Under the influence of thyroid hormones, herein the thyroxine (T4) acting as a conductor involved mainly in the regulation of growth and development, the growth plates start to become active.

In particular, after having received the hormonal signals, the chondrocytes within the plates multiply and contribute to establishing new cartilages. Cartilage cells, then, divide, increase, and push the existing cartilage outward to create space for new cartilage matrices. As a result, the existing cartilages go through an endochondral ossification process, where they are gradually replaced by new bone tissues and transformed into solid bones. This process lengthens the bones in your arms and legs and makes you grow taller.

However, it is important to note that the activities of these growth plates will not last for good. Once you reach adulthood, the growth plates start to fuse. This is the comprehensive outcome derived from the complex interplay of different hormonal changes.

How Diet Supports Growth Plate Function

The growth plates are most active during growth spurts, the periods of accelerating growth. During growth spurts, children observe a much more rapid bone lengthening improvement. Just like other construction projects, your body needs to be equipped with the right materials to successfully carry out the growth spurts.

A balanced diet of essential nutrients generates an appropriate environment for proper growth plate function and overall bone vitality.


Protein: The Building Block Champion

Protein is the main workhorse of the body in terms of building and repairing tissues, including bones and muscles. During childhood and adolescence when growth plates are active, ensuring an adequate amount of protein intake is crucial.

In bone health, protein serves as a building block for collagen formation, a major compound of cartilage within the growth plates. In other words, protein synthesis can be supposed to provide the mortar between each cartilage ‘block’ and establish a structural framework for bones. A stronger protein structure allows better support and expansion of the growth plates. In the long run, your body can reach the optimal stature as desired.

Besides, adequate intake of protein via diets supports bone mineralization and thickness, promoting stronger and healthier bones. In combination with appropriate exercises, protein can trigger the elevated release of growth hormone, a key player in bone growth.

Fueling Your Body: Top Sources of Protein

  • Meat: lean cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and poultry (e.g. chicken) are highly recommended to incorporate protein into your diet. The richest source of protein comes from chicken breasts, lean beef steak, and pork tenderloin.
  • Fish and Seafood: Salmon, tuna, trout, cod, shrimp, crab, and oysters are examples of excellent sources of high-quality protein.
  • Eggs: A whole egg, including egg white and yolk, contains a lot of protein. Eggs are not only consumed because of their protein richness but also by their affordability, availability, and versatility.
  • Dairy Products: Milk, yogurt, and cheese are protein-rich sources that you should not miss.
  • Legumes: You can also find protein from plant-based sources, such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, and peas. These types of legumes are also high in fiber and various vitamins.
  • Soy and Tofu: Soy-based options can also be another great source of protein.

Key takeaways: If you are following a specific dietary regime, you should ask for your doctor’s and pediatrician’s personalized guidance before starting any food consumption. But remember to combine various sources to ensure you are getting a complete range of amino acids.

Calcium and Vitamin D: The Mineralization Dream Team

Calcium, the main component of bone tissue, is vital for bone health. Sufficient calcium intake is necessary for supporting skeletal development and bone mineralization. Particularly, it can be described as pouring concrete into the foundation of a construction site. So, when bones are fueled with a great amount of calcium, they will become stronger and denser.

Conversely, children and adolescents who experience calcium deficiency might suffer from a higher risk of fractures due to decreased bone density.

To avoid calcium deficiency, children should consider taking vitamin D alongside. It is because vitamin D precipitates calcium absorption and utilization in the body, further aiding in bone mineral density during growth phases. Besides ensuring calcium absorption, vitamin D works to make sure that calcium is deposited into the growing bones.

The outcomes of deficiency in vitamin D can be impaired calcium assimilation, fragile bones, skeletal deformities, compromised immune systems, and muscle weakness.


Calcium-rich Foods

  • Dairy Products: Milk, Cheese, and Yogurt are great sources of protein and calcium.
  • Leafy Greens: Those edible green leaves, such as kale, spinach, collard greens, and so on, contain calcium as well.
  • Fortified Foods: If you are allergic to lactose in animal products, you should consider fortified products, such as plant-based milk or breakfast cereals as alternatives.

Vitamin D-rich Foods:

  • Fatty Fish: Salmon, tuna, and mackerel are some of the greatest natural sources of vitamin D.
  • Egg Yolk: Though egg yolk contains a relatively low amount of vitamin D compared to fish, consuming it can also help your body absorb vitamin D.
  • Fortified Foods: You can try fortified foods rich in vitamin D. For example, cereals, cow’s milk, or fortified plant-based products made of soy, almonds, coconut, and oat.

However, if you have difficulty meeting the required vitamin D and calcium needed for height growth from your diets, you are recommended to take additional supplements. There are different products available to meet any of your specific demands on the market. If you simply want to ensure vitamin D and Calcium sufficiency, consider NuBest Tall 10+. Meanwhile, if you are on your religious fasting regime or a vegetarian, you can give NuBest Bone Xtra or Doctor Taller a try. However, make sure to consult your doctor before starting any supplements.

Conclusion: Does Diet Affect Height Growth?

The influences of diets and nutrition are undeniable when it comes to optimizing height growth during childhood and adolescence. By making informed dietary choices, individuals can support healthy bone growth and maximize their height potential.

Nevertheless, you should bear in mind that nutrition alone is not the sole determinant. Regulated sleeping patterns and age-appropriate physical exercises should also be combined into your daily routine along with a balanced diet to optimize your vertical extent.

Last but not least, though healthy habits contribute significantly to the optimal height development in children and adolescents, genetics are the prime factors. The activation and closure of the growth plates cannot be affected by a healthy lifestyle, let alone nutrition itself. Genetics are the main agents here, therefore, make sure to mediate your realistic expectations towards diets.



Jay Lauer is a renowned physician and nutrition expert specializing in helping people achieve optimal health and wellness. With over 20 years of experience, Dr. Lauer has become a trusted voice, particularly in the field of natural height growth.

Dr. Lauer believes a nutrient-rich diet and healthy lifestyle are essential for maximizing growth potential. She develops personalized nutrition plans incorporating foods and supplements that support bone development and works closely with patients to achieve their height goals.

In addition to height growth, Dr. Lauer is an expert in weight loss, disease prevention, and overall wellness. She regularly shares her expertise through media outlets like The Today Show and Good Morning America.

Dr. Lauer recognized the need for a comprehensive resource on natural height increase and created the website The site provides proven strategies, nutrition plans, exercises, and support to help individuals feel more confident by achieving their desired height naturally and improving their quality of life.

Researcher Locations: 33 Whitehall Street, New York

Email: [email protected]

Education & Training Fellowship: Pediatric Psychology – Nemours Children’s Clinic – Jacksonville, 2003 Internship: Child Psychology – University of Florida, 2002 Board Certifications: American Board of Professional Psychology

Areas of Research:



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