|MadSci Network: General Biology|
Dear Svinod, I answered this question when another person inquired earlier. Here is the response I gave then: Sorry, but exercise won't make you grow taller. The genes that you inherited from your parents and how well-nourished you are play the biggest role in the process. Together, these factors regulate how much you grow and when. In particular, there is a fingertip-sized gland sitting at the bottom of the middle of your brain called the pituitary, sometimes called "the master gland." The pituitary puts out biochemicals called hormones that circulate through your body and regulate many bodily functions. One of these is called growth hormone. Growth hormone is the key factor that controls how tall you grow to be, and the amount of it that gets produced can vary from year to year and even month to month as you grow. I have a brother who went from being one of the shorter boys in his 200-student high school class when he was 15 (156 cm) to being one of the tallest when he was 17 (192 cm). Nutrition can help, in the sense that undernourishment can cause growth to go more slowly. Eat well-balanced meals, with protein, vegetables, and all the vitamins and minerals you need. And of course, exercise is a great thing for keeping your body healthy and strong, thereby allowing all the factors that do regulate growth to do their thing in top form. But there aren't any specific exercise plans that will make you grow taller. Scientists have cloned the gene for human growth hormone, and so the purified factor is now available for doctors to use. But they only use it in special medical cases where severely low levels of growth hormone can cause problems. Hope this answers your question. Paul Odgren Department of Cell Biology University of Massachusetts Medical School Worcester
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