Protein intake affects body size – healing practice

Height growth in girls influenced by protein intake

who the size that we reach in adulthood is believed to be primarily genetic, but other factors may also play a role. That’s how it plays, according to a new study nutrition and especially the protein intake an essential role – at least in the growth of girls.

Already a protein intake of seven grams above daily protein intake recommendations, girls may increase in height one centimeter increase, researchers report University of Bonn based on the results of their current studies. These are published in the journal “Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism”.

Influence of diet on height

That the nutrition can affect physical development, most people are aware of this. However, in doing so, the link with the weight thought and the the size is taken for granted.

To what extent food for young people The researchers have now examined in their study what can also influence height. They focused on possible links between the size and the protein intake.

Anabolic power of proteins

“For the first time, the study shows the anabolic potency of the essential nutrient protein with detailed nutritional data over a period of 3 to 17 years.”according to the author of the study professor doctor Thomas Rémer.

With the first author Yifanhua Possesses Professor Remer accurate food diaries, regular round-the-clock urine collections, and specific height measurements from 189 girls and boys evaluated from the age of three years.

Protein intake was determined not only by nutritional survey data, but also by measuring urea-nitrogen excretion in urine. All data was in DONALD Study Center Dortmund University of Bonn (TO DOrtmund NOTutrational and Aanthropometric Llongitudinally Ddesignated study).

Detectable effect only in girls

Although there was no effect on height in boys and young men due to increased protein intake, there was a clear correlation in girls University of Bonn in a press release on the results of the study.

According to the researchers’ calculations, an average Exceeding intake recommendations from about seven grams of protein a day in girls to an average size increase one inch.

Adjust protein intake to reduce size?

“If no increase in height is desired, girls can even reduce their later adult height by a few centimeters during growth by adjusting their protein intake to recommendations, i.e. not increasing their protein intake. protein.”stress Professor Remer.

In boys, on the other hand, the protein intake clearly exceeds the requirements. no stimulating effect on growth. “This size effect does not seem to play a decisive role in boys with a protein intake above requirements”reported Yifanhua.

Apparently, the significantly stronger effect of sex hormones – including testosterone – on them leaves them growth hormone axis less possibility of additional anabolic nutritional effect from protein.

Avoid excessive protein intake

Basically it should protein intake are not significantly above recommendations, e.g. 48 grams per day for adolescent girls aged 15 to 17, the researchers point out. However, in reality, the daily protein intake is much higher for many children.

“The possible long-term consequences of correspondingly high protein intakes have not yet been satisfactorily researched”warns Professor Remer.

So far only for bone stability in past studies positive correlations with a increased protein intake been observed as long as fruit and vegetable consumption not too low and therefore the acid load from food was not too high. (fp)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.


  • Yifan Hua, Thomas Remer: Adult height and protein intake during childhood and adolescence from 3 years old; in: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (published 03/31/2022),
  • University of Bonn: Protein boosts height growth in girls (published April 7, 2022),

Important Note:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.

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