Is Height Genetic?
Everywhere you look, you see people of differing heights. Some people are tall, others are short, and some are somewhere between. Whether you’re on the short or tall side of the family, it’s essential to know how much of your adult height is due to genetics.
Height is a complex concept that involves many factors besides genetics. Many assume they aren’t taller or shorter due to their parents’ stature. Though it’s true, it’s not the only cause. Environment, health, and nutrition have an influencing impact on height too.
Is the Blueprint to Height In DNA?
The human genome holds the blueprint for every cell inside of the body. There are over 700 known genes that affect height, according to MedlinePlus. Only a small portion of height-related genes is expressed. Many are dormant or unknown, so their exact influence on overall stature has yet to be determined. Yet, some height-influencing genes are activated when mutations are present. These gene mutations often appear in people with birth abnormalities or rare or certain growth disorders.
The average person receives genetic information from each parent that determines their appearance, health, personality, and other physical and physiological features. Because DNA is the key to one’s overall growth and development, it’s easy to believe that height is predominantly determined by genes and beyond our control. In some ways, it is.
Physical height increases occur when the growth plates in the legs are still developing. Development that increases bone length and overall height ceases in adulthood because the long ends of the bones where the growth plates are present become fused.
Height Influencing Factors
Lifestyle can affect how tall a person grows during childhood and puberty, up to adolescence. It can also affect their stature during adulthood. Aging is a natural impediment to height. Many health conditions, such as bone loss, biological, and external factors can cause premature height loss, such as aging, daily activities, and health habits.
Weight abnormalities can cause one to fall short of their height potential, even though their DNA may indicate they should be taller. Being overweight or not having enough body mass are signs of possible metabolic or health conditions that can interfere with proper growth and development.
These types of impairments can be temporary or lifelong. Temporary height or growth restrictions that alter the effects of height influencing genes are often resolved with positive changes to counteract the cause.
Sometimes those changes may mean using prescription medications, growth hormone supplements, and other medical therapeutics. Short-term growth limitations may also resolve with changes in diet and environment. Permanent growth impairments that suppress one’s genetically determined height often require behavioral and mental adjustments and height increase aids, such as shoe lifts to make living with the limitations more manageable.
Gender Plays a Role in Tallness
Gender also has an impact on how height influencing genes are physically expressed. Girls tend to experience puberty, and height increases earlier than boys. Hormone activity and genetics are dominant factors, but some are also strongly affected by nutrition and environmental factors.
According to Science Daily, girls usually grow faster and taller due to environmental conditions and nutrition. On the other hand, the growth and development of boys are more heavily affected by their DNA. Males often start and finish puberty, and overall growth and development, including height increases noticeably later than females.
DNA is just part of the equation. Historically, humans were shorter. Evolution and time, geographics, and other factors have influenced human genetics, causing people to grow taller than their ancestors. These historic differences may also contribute to why females and males are genetically disposed for specific heights and why certain environmental issues have a more substantial suppression effect on tallness for girls vs. boys.
Childhood Conditions and Height
A healthy, positive environment is crucial for optimal health and development. Studies highlight many of the negative aspects that less than optimal living conditions have on individuals of all ages. Yet, growth and development are often stunted during childhood because of high-stress living conditions and fewer nutritional and economic resources. Many people reach more of their true height potential in adulthood because they have a better quality of life than shorter individuals during childhood.
Health and Tallness
Many medical disorders and health conditions can impair height and development. Good health is necessary to combat the effects of environmental stress to achieve true height potential. Malnourishment, hormonal imbalances, and other deficiencies often overrule the DNA, resulting in a more diminutive than desired stature.
Genetics Are Part of the Bigger Picture
Hereditary is only a piece of the height puzzle. There are no safe or effective measures for adults to increase height without surgery though many unproven products and supplements are marketed as such. Shoe lifts are removable and can be annoying, expensive, and inconvenient at times to manage.
Growth hormone supplements and remedies may offer many health benefits that promote wellbeing, but they do little to increase height after puberty. Pillows, chairs, and elevation aids make it easier for short individuals to access items and places above their normal access level. But none of those measures come close to the actual benefits or experience of being tall, like height increase surgery.
Take Control of Your Height
While there is not much one can do about their genetics, limb lengthening surgery makes it possible for anyone unhappy with their stature to add the inches necessary to achieve their ideal height. To learn about the procedure or address other concerns that may be holding you back from optimal height and well-being, call Height Lengthening at (818) 698-2752 for a consultation.