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HeightMax™ and the Young Athlete

Pressures within the Athletic Realm

 

Veronica Calvin

 

Athletic competition within the U.S. appears to increase every subsequent season in every type of sport. This intensification of competition has spread not only to the professional leagues of athletics, but also to the levels of collegiate and high school sports. Every year young athletes are encouraged to perform better by improving their level of skill through the manner of building a stronger physique. At times the pressures of achieving a higher level of skill lead teenagers and young adults to turn to so called “health alternatives” that will aide them in their goal of building a stronger, taller, leaner, muscular body. According to the article “Popular Ergogenic Drugs and Supplements in Young Athletes,” (http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/reprint/117/3/e577?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=Calfee+R%2C+Fadale+P&andorexactfulltext=and&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=relevance&resourcetype=HWCIT), researchers display the various percentages of young athletes who take some type of substance to improve their physical build whether it be by the use of steroids, protein shakes, growth hormones, or other dietary supplements. Not all of those substances listed in the article are safe; in fact, the usage of steroids and the human growth hormone GHG are deadly when not correctly administered by a medical professional.

            This paper will focus on the investigation of dietary supplements as a nutritional treatment to improve physical stature.  Since dietary supplements may appear to the more intelligent manner in which to improve an athlete’s situation, young athletes, in addition to their parents, may be more comfortable to agree the usage of a specified dietary supplement. However, the usage of certain dietary supplements needs to be investigated to ensure that no harm is being done on the young athletes’ bodies who take them.

 

 

 

 

 

The Main Questions

 

            The principal question to be addressed concerning a young athlete’s use of any supplement or substance is the matter of safety. Are dietary growth supplements safe for consumption of adolescents, teenagers, and young adults? Do these supplements cause any physical harm to the maturing bodies of the young athletes? What are the risks and benefits of taking these supplements? Will consumption of growth dietary supplements create a negative or positive consequence in the future? Is this supplement worth taking? All these questions and more will be answered throughout the investigation of HeightMax™, a dietary growth supplement designed for adolescents, teenagers, and young adults who want to increase the span of their stature.

 

 

 

 

[1]HeightMax™: Formulation for Maximum Human Growth”

“Our completely safe, all natural product can and will enhance your growth by maximizing your growth potential.

So what does that mean? It means that your height is based on a series of factors including genetics, diet, exercises like stretching, nutrition supplements, posture, and age.

Some of these factors are beyond your control, while others are completely within your control. If you are looking to take control of those factors that are changeable, than you have found the right product!”

- Exit15.com’s advertisement of HeightMax™ at http://www.exit15.com/heightmax-p-814.html

HeightMax™ is a dietary growth supplement that has been specifically formulated to help those who want “to increase their height by reaching their maximum height potential.” (http://www.heightmax.com/growthformula.htm)  HeightMax™ claims that it can provide people with the ability to obtain the fate of their stature within their hands if the supplement is taken as directed. The makers of HeightMax™ claim that if their product is taken two times a day along with a healthy diet, the usage of HeightMax™ will increase one’s height. (http://www.heightmax.com/expectation.htm) This specific supplement is catered towards those who are of and between the ages of 12-25 because the makers state that these are the ages in which human growth is at its peak, and thus one can maximize (manipulate) his or her growth potential only at that designated time.

 

The Ingredients of HeightMax™

 

According to the website information, the creation of “miracle drug” HeightMax™ took 5 years to be constructed. The website also claims that HeightMax™ is the only supplement that a person has to take in order to see results; no other supplements have to be taken in conjunction with it. However, the formula that took the research of HeightMax™ is not mentioned at all. The website only provides a general list of the ingredients that its product contains: “most potent and effective vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbal medicines.” In other words, it appears that HeightMax™ contains a list of the same, ordinary ingredients which generic and name-brand dietary supplements provide, and nothing appears to be different about this supplement. 

 

The Effects of HeightMax™

 

In addition to the lack of detail of the components of HeightMax™, with all the claims of arduous research the company does not offer a link that gives evidence to the product’s experimentation, research, or analysis that went towards the formulation of HeightMax™. How bizarre! The site also claims that in clinical studies when HeightMax™ was taken in a six month period trial the results were a 10% to 25% increase in stature than those who did not take HeightMax™. Clinical trials are supposed to be documented, yet the creators of this product fail to show definite proof of their studies and clinical claims. Again, something does not seem to be correct.

 

Advertisement, Advertisement, and More Advertisement

 

The effect and composition of HeightMax™ has been discussed, the research and clinical analysis neglected, yet website discusses one more topic concerning HeightMax™ — money. On the two websites, (http://www.heightmax.com/, http://www.heightmax.com/reasontotryhh.htm) the producers of HeightMax™ give more links that offer information concerning the purchase of the product. All purchase links are functional; however the testimonial and company philosophy links do not function properly and show up as an occurring error. In the section “Reasons to Take HeightMax™,” (http://www.heightmax.com/reasontotryhh.htm), the second out of seven reasons to take this specific product deals with the issue of money and what a bargain the consumer receives when he or she purchases a bottle of HeightMax™. Should not the principal focus be on the health and wellbeing of the consumer since he or she will attempt to alter the natural state of one’s body? In addition to the issue of money, the makers of the website include an article that claims taller people are paid more in the business field than their shorter counterparts. (http://www.heightmax.com/researchreport.htm) With the promise of having a leaner, taller body and the criticism and mockery of being short, more pressure is added unto the mentality of the young athlete to take a substance that could help him or her. 

 In conclusion, it appears that the main purpose for the company of HeightMax™ is to make a monetary profit. The company of HeightMax™ attempts to deceive their consumer, the young athlete and/or the athlete’s parents, in buying an abundant amount of the product. At $64 for a bottle of HeightMax™, (which does not include shipping and handling) the company can make quite a lucrative amount of money.

 

Now that the characteristics of the product have been described, the observation of scientific research will give the information to indicate whether HeightMax™ is a safe, effective dietary supplement for young athletes which can manipulate height.

 

[2]Determinants of Variation in Adult Body Height” (Silventoinen, 2003)

 

Can an individual’s height really be manipulated? Well, to answer this particular question the factors that contribute to the height of an individual must be evaluated. After reading the clinical review article entitled “Determinants of Variation in Adult Body Height,” (Silventionen, 2003), (http://journals.cambridge.org/download.php?file=%2FJBS%2FJBS35_02%2FS0021932003002633a.pdf&code=662230e2a3ce84ef50aadfcbedad50cd), the factors incorporated with body height are listed and discussed in great detail and the analysis of clinical research is supplied to justify her findings. According to Silverntoinen, there are three factors that contribute to body height: socioeconomic factors, genetic factors, and environmental factors. By analyzing adults’ body height and specific factors that contribute to body height scientists are able to determine the factors of one’s height while he or she is young and establish knowledge for future reference. Therefore if there is anything people can do, such as use supplements like HeightMax™ , these actions can be deemed safe.

 

Socioeconomic Factors

 

Regarding body height, the article mentions that socioeconomic differences in body height are substantial; people in higher socioeconomic positions tend to be taller that those in lower positions (Silverntoinen, 2003). These socioeconomic differences in adulthood are usually due to an individual’s social background which is identified through the individual’s family’s social status. Researchers have defined the “socioeconomic position of the family” as being positively associated with the stature of its children. After the height of the children are observed researchers then look at the father’s social position, and in addition to this the father’s and mother’s education and family income in studies are established (Singh & Harrison, 1997; Bégi, Frongillo & Delisle, 1998), and categorize the family’s socioeconomic position. Also, the social position of a family is also characterized with nutrition, especially when the average nutritional state of the population is poor. For this reason, environmental variation is larger in poorer environments (Silventionen, 2000). Researchers have established these studies by conducting research all over the world, and the data of their research can be seen in the same link as the informational article.

 

Genetic Studies

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Silventoinen states, “Before specific factors underlying the systematic variation of body height can be examined, the proportion of genetic factors affecting the variation of body height must be studied, i.e. the heritability of body height.” Since numerous genes have been discovered that cause growth disorders, and whether these disorders inhibit one’s growth or magnifies it, these genetic mutations must be considered. To observe genetic patterns in families, scientists took genetic information, DNA, from different members within a family, compared the genetic material together, and then evaluate the height of each family member. When the data is analyzed researchers observed and concluded that it is likely that the heritability of body height is not a constant factor (Silventoinen, 2003). In fact the researcher Mueller (1976) compared parent-child correlations for body height in 24 studies. He found that the correlation was higher in European than non-European countries, and that this was probably due to differences in the environmental factors.

 

 

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Environmental Factors

 

The major contributors concerning the topic of environmental factors are nutrition and diseases of individual’s childhood. These are the main factors because good nutrition and the body’s ability to cope from illness are essential for a child to grow in good health. Only in good health is a child able to grow at the proper rates that his or her genes allow; and this helps to foster an environment where a young child can reach his or her full growing potential. The nutrition that Silventionen refers to begins with the individual’s postnatal environment because this is when the effects of nutrition take place in a child’s growth potential. Studies show that prenatal nutrition has no significant role in the effect of one’s height (Silvertionen, 2003). Besides nutrition, childhood diseases are suggested to have an effect on growth. In many cases, the effect of disease is intertwined with that of nutrition because disease can prevent food intake, impair nutrient absorption, cause direct nutrient losses, increase metabolic requirements or catabolic losses, (the breaking down of nutrients), and impair transport to target issues (Stephensen, 1999).

 

 

In conclusion to this article, Silventionen remarks that while variation in body height is mainly due to genetic factors, environmental factors also have a substantial effect (Silventionen, 2003). According to the studies of this specific topic, 20% of the variation in body height is due to environmental factText Box:  ors in the United States after the Second World War (Stunkard el al., 1986), however the effect of environmental factors can overrule genetic factors when the environmental stress is strong. In other words, body height is very sensitive to environmental factors such as nutrition and disease. In relation to the topic of HeightMax™, since the young athlete surrounds himself or herself in a healthy atmosphere … there is little he or she can do change their stature.

 

Pubertal Growth

 

In reference to the hormone research article, “The Regulation of Pubertal Growth,” (the abstract from PubMed, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=AbstractPlus&list_uids=12955014&query_hl=1&itool=pubmed_docsum, the article, http://content.karger.com/ProdukteDB/produkte.asp?Aktion=ShowPDF&ArtikelNr=71222&ProduktNr=224036&Ausgabe=229264&filename=71222.pdf), by Professor Dennis M. Styne, the regulation of pubertal growth is  understood when scientists observe the concept of the control of the onset of puberty, the change in secretion of sex steroids, the effects that they have upon the production and action of growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF),Text Box:  and the importance and major role of nutrition in pubertal growth. In his conclusion Prof. Styne mentions that the remarkable growth seen during pubertal development is comprised of a wide variety of influences. Nutrition is one of the main factors in the pubertal growth process because proper nutrition makes the onset of certain hormones release at the proper time and length of time. So again, the importance of a good nutrition is seen as the major components for an individual to reach his or her maximum height potential.

 

 

Meta-Analysis

 

No meta-analysis could be found on the specific product of HeightMax™, and no meta-analysis concerning dietary supplements consumption among children was found either, making the meta-analysis research difficult. Now one must assume that among the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbal medicines that there exists the nutritional element of zinc, one that is helpful in the development of growth within children. First, a study of the affects  zinc in prepubertal children was observed in the University of California and published in the meta-analysis review entitled “Effect of supplemental zinc on the growth and serum zinc concentrations of prepubertal children: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials,” (PubMed abstract, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=AbstractPlus&list_uids=12036814&query_hl=7&itool=pubmed_docsum; article http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/75/6/1062). After scientists randomized control trials they found that there was no evident result of observation that zinc affects the growth in body height for prepubertal children. Since this was the only analysis found regarding to the usage of a dietary supplement like HeightMax™, nothing can be said negatively or positively about this product until more research is conducted.

 

 

Conclusion

 

The article on ProQuest entitled “HeightMax™? Talk About Your Classic Tall Tale, This Is It,” (http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?index=0&did=957253081&SrchMode=1&sid=5&Fmt=3&VInst=PROD&VType=PQD&RQT=309&VName=PQD&TS=1159476076&clientId=2335), sums up the conclusion quite well. According to research, good nutrition is the only component that young athletes have in their control which can aide them to achieve his or her maximum, and sometimes this may be hindered depending on their socioeconomic status. Since no documents have been given about the affects of HeightMax™ it is impossible to claim that if it works properly or not. In short, the usage of dietary supplements such as HeightMax™ will not directly affect the stature of a person between the ages of 12-25 because nature, genetics, and the environment in which the individual live are the major factors that affect body height. Therefore, the makers of HeightMax™ will continue to make unmerited profits until people realize that the substance that they’re buying is not essential for height growth.

 



[1] Actual title of a HeightMax™ article found at http://www.heighmax.com/growthformula.htm  

[2] Silvertoinen, Karri, Journal of Bioscience (2003) 35, 263-285

 

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