Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s). We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to hormone therapy.
More and more men are taking supplemental testosterone (T) due to decreasing levels globally. There's a lot of conflicting information online about the effects of testosterone on height, both for boys during puberty and for adults taking supplemental testosterone as hormone therapy.
But is testosterone proven in research studies to increase height for adolescents or adults? Is there a difference in the effects of testosterone on height in adolescents and adults? What about growth hormone?
In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more as we review clinical studies on testosterone and height to explain whether or not testosterone makes you taller, and also to discuss if growth hormone (GH) can make you taller.
Does T Increase Height? A Research Review
One of the counterintuitive things about testosterone is that even though it’s the essential hormone for male development, it has been associated with decreased height in clinical studies.
A clinical trial spanning seven years measured the testosterone levels of adolescent boys.
Low levels of testosterone had a height-promoting effect, while higher levels had an inhibitory effect on height. This was a longitudinal study so no treatments were given to the adolescent boys; their growth and testosterone levels were simply tracked over time.
In fact, testosterone is such an effective inhibitor of height that it's used to medically treat and prevent excessive height (when a patient doesn't want to grow taller).
A medical review published in the Hormone Research in Paediatrics journal found that supplemental testosterone administered to excessively tall adolescent boys decreased their expected height growth by 50%.
What’s fascinating about these two studies is that both naturally-produced (endogenous) and supplemental (exogenous) testosterone appear to have a height-reducing effect.
Based on the available research, it does not appear that testosterone will make you taller, and if anything, the opposite effect can occur.
But is there another hormone that can increase height before the growth plates are fused? We'll analyze in the next section.
Does GH Increase Height? A Research Review
Growth hormone has also been studied in clinical trials for its effects on height.
Growth hormone is produced in significant amounts by both men and women, and influences the height of both sexes. Growth hormone therapy is a standard treatment for increasing height during adolescence.
A clinical trial published in The New England Journal of Medicine tested the effects of growth hormone supplementation in adolescents with very short stature who wanted to grow taller. Boys treated with growth hormone grew 9.2 centimeters (3.62 inches) taller than projected before GH treatment, and girls treated grew 5.7 cm (2.24 inches) taller than projected.
Another clinical trial reported similarly positive results. Both boys and girls of short stature grew significantly taller than they were projected to when treated with growth hormone.
Based on the available research, growth hormone can increase height when taken supplementally during adolescence. This hormone should only be taken under the supervision and prescription of a doctor.
A fascinating YouTube video by Tifo Football documents how Lionel Messi, who's arguably the greatest active soccer player, received growth hormone therapy for height in his youth:
Do Hormones Affect Adult Height?
If you've read to this point, you may be wondering whether adults can also have their height influenced by either testosterone or growth hormone.
The answer is usually no, although in very early adulthood it may be possible. A medical review found that vertical growth stopped at age 17.2 on average for girls and 19.2 on average for boys. However, at least one boy continued growing until the age of 23.
Fully grown adults in their mid-20s and beyond will not grow due to hormone therapy. It's biologically impossible as growth plates have fused.
Patients in very early adulthood (ages 18-22) who are short in stature and considering growth hormone therapy should see a doctor to determine if they still have time to grow taller.