Does Pre Workout Stunt Growth? (Important Facts To Know)

There are a lot of things we are told growing up that can stunt your growth. Smoking, not getting enough calcium or vitamin D, or even staying awake past 10 PM (if you had mean parents).

While there are actual medical conditions that can stunt your growth, your pre-workout, as a whole, isn’t one of them.

But what about the individual ingredients found in many pre-workout formulas and brands?

We will look at these ingredients and explain what they are, how they work, and answer the question, does pre-workout stunt growth?

Currently, there is no scientific evidence that a pre-workout powder stunts your growth.

Many of the ingredients in a pre-workout drink, such as vitamin B12, and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), might actually spur growth.

For teenagers, though, and almost everyone under the age of 25, your bodies are still growing. It is important to know what may have an impact on your bones, growth plates, and body in general.

While you may not ever be tall enough to dunk in the NBA, your normal growth isn’t going to be affected by a pre-workout supplement.

Learn More - Is Pre-Workout Safe For Nursing Moms?

young kid training with coach in boxing ring

Pre-Workout Ingredients – Do These Affect Growing Bodies?

Let’s break down the common ingredients in pre-workout supplements and find out if any of them can possibly stunt growth in the growth plates of a young adult.

Creatine

There is no evidence at all that creatine causes stunted growth. Creatine monohydrate, and other forms of creatine, work to bring hydration and ATP to the muscles after strenuous exercise.

It promotes muscle growth and faster recovery times, but it won't stunt your growth.

In fact, there is conclusive evidence that creatine can enhance the human growth hormone (HGH), which may lead to more strength, more lean muscle mass, and even taller height. [1]

While the benefits and detriments of creatine are well documented, stunted growth is not among them.

Read Also - Creatine Vs Pre-Workout

Caffeine

Will caffeine stunt your growth? The answer is probably not. If you are a growing teenager, there is a small chance you may not produce enough HGH, which, in turn, might inhibit your maximum height potential. [2]

Just like you won't stop growing taller from your workouts, even very large amounts of the most popular drug won't keep you from your full potential height, either.

However, that is a lot of ifs and maybes. The reasoning behind it comes from the fact that peak HGH production occurs during a deep REM cycle.

Since caffeine can cause insomnia, disrupt sleep patterns, and prevent a deep sleep when taken in excess, there is a small possibility you may lose out on some inches after strenuous exercise and caffeine consumption.

If you are getting a full, deep, and restful sleep, though, the odds are even more slim. Stunted growth linked to sleeping (or insomnia) is inconclusive and still being evaluated. Caffeine supplements may inhibit your sleeping patterns but won't stunt growth.

Related Article - How Much Caffeine Is In Pre-Workout?

Beta-Alanine

Beta-alanine, like creatine and other ingredients, actually helps you produce healthy levels of HGH, which can lead to stronger muscles, bones, and more height.

Beta-alanine reduces muscle fatigue by limiting lactic acid build-up in the muscles and helps you perform high-intensity exercises longer.

Essential amino acids, non-essential amino acids, beta-alanine, L-citrulline, and L-arginine are all found in pre-workouts, often in large amounts.

But, will beta-alanine stunt growth? It isn't likely.

Related Article - How To Fix Pre-Workout Beta-Alanine Itch

Citrulline Malate

Citrulline malate will not stunt growth. What it will do, or can do, however, is increase the production of peroxisome proliferator‐activated receptor‐gamma coactivator‐1α (PGC-1α) during high-intensity exercise. [3]

When this happens, you are more likely to experience muscle growth, increased mass, and overall body weight during your exercise program.

Will citrulline malate stunt growth? Again, not very likely. Even in a very large amount, there is no correlation between L-citrulline and body height restrictions.

woman with a pink gym towel around her neck drinking a sports drink

BCAAs

Branched-chain amino acids are a general name given to the three essential amino acids valine, leucine, and isoleucine.

They are named this because their structure includes branches. BCAAs will not stunt your growth.

When metabolized, the BCAAs produce fuel for your muscles. When absorbed by the muscles, it is converted to energy to allow you to work out longer, lift more, or run further. They have no bearing at all on growth.

Increased strength, muscle energy, and other fitness benefits are tied directly to BCAAs, much like they are with creatine.

Your exercise routines, workout regimen, and body all benefit from BCAA supplementation.

But regardless of how you work out, BCAAs will provide you with less lactic acid build-up and better recovery for your entire body and muscle growth, but a lifting weight exercise program won't stunt your growth.

Related Article - BCAAs Vs Pre-Workout

Taurine

Taurine is a non-essential amino acid that is commonly found in pre-workout powders and baby formula.

The reason you find it here is because it is linked to lowering blood pressure and keeping the central nervous system in a calm state.

Your energy levels rise from your caffeine intake, which has the jittery agitation side effect is limited.

Taking caffeine can have a lot of side effects on the body. Taurine in pre-workouts keeps your brain calm while helping your energy levels stay elevated.

It is also linked to nerve growth, particularly in the heart and brain, and found in mammal breast milk, which is why it is also included in human baby formula.

One thing it will not do, though, is keep you from growing.

Vitamin B12

Evidence suggests that the three primary B vitamins are essential for growth. Vitamin B12 is the most prominent since it is found in fish, meat, eggs, and dairy.

Vegans supplement with vitamin B12 to avoid a deficiency, but it will not inhibit growth if you ingest it.

Getting your B vitamins from your dietary supplement may not be in the nutrition guides, but it is still better than not getting any at all.

From a young age, our leg bones, bad posture, weight loss, and consuming caffeine are all given as reasons for being short.

In truth, though, it turns out that good posture, fat loss, and other wives' tales have nothing to do with it.

Proper nutrition, rest, recovery periods, and fitness levels aid our overall health, but not our height. A rare genetic condition or genetics may be the only factors that do.

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners like saccharin and sucralose won't stunt your growth, but for the younger crowd, they can cause growth around the waist.

Children and adults alike that are working out or playing endurance sports should avoid artificial sweeteners when and where possible, but not because they will prevent you from growing tall.

dad and his son doing dumbbell curls

What Actually Causes Slow Growth?

Aside from one slight possibility in the list above, nothing found in a pre-workout mix will stunt your growth.

However, there are medical conditions and reasons why you may stop growing or not reach your full potential.

Genetics

Unfortunately, you can’t do much about this one. If your parents are shorter, you are most likely going to end up shorter.

While this isn’t always the case, the average height of your parents will typically tell you what you can expect for your height.

Your body is made up of parts from your parents, their parents, and so on. If your family has a short stature, you most likely will, too.

Barring bone injury during your youth, you can build muscle, enjoy rigorous workouts, and supplement with caffeine, L-arginine, and other ingredients in pre-workouts without affecting your height.

Turner Syndrome

Turner syndrome is a female-only disorder in which the baby is born with only one X chromosome. The result can include delayed puberty, some learning disabilities, heart defects, and short height or limited growth. [4]

Treatments and medications, as well as hormone therapy, can help with some of the side effects of this rare condition, except for height.

Poor Nutrition

An amino acid deficiency in children can lead to stunted growth, improper leg bone growth, and close growth plates.

It is important that growing kids and teenagers eat a protein-rich diet that consists of all the vitamins and amino acids available to ensure proper growth and full height potential.

Related Article - Can You Take Pre-Workout On An Empty Stomach?

Growth Hormone Deficiency

Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is typically created and produced at a regular rate. Normal levels of HGH spur bone and tissue growth.

However, some children and teenagers may have a hormone imbalance that restricts the production of growth hormone and can result in a smaller stature.

HGH can affect body and muscle growth, but may stunt growth. Low birth weight and other indicators may cause concern for doctors, but only testing can confirm.

Hypothyroidism

Aside from HGH, the thyroid gland is responsible for releasing the hormones which control our moods, growth, brain, and more.

Hypothyroidism is a condition that limits the production and circulation of these hormones, which can lead to stunted growth.

Thyroid disease affects millions and can be controlled but not yet cured.

Frequently Asked Pre-Workouts & Stunted Growth Questions

Are pre-workout supplements safe for teens?

Yes, pre-workouts, powders, and drinks are safe for teenagers. The high levels of caffeine might be a concern, and some brands do contain banned substances for professional athletes.

However, low-caffeine or non-stim options are available, as well as brands that tested negative for banned substances. Nutrition, rest, and workout recovery are more important for those of a young age.

Read Also - Is Pre-Workout Bad For Teens?

At which age is it good to take a pre-workout?

It is always safest to avoid supplements and pre-workout drinks until you are an adult, fully grown, and in need of a boost.

However, anyone over 18 is safe. Younger teenagers should avoid pre-workouts with artificial colors, dyes, and flavors, as well as brands with high caffeine levels.

Can lifting weights stunt your growth?

While your mother may not like it, placing a brick on your head will not keep you from growing up. Neither will high-intensity or high-impact sports like weight lifting, gymnastics, or football.

Pre-workouts, fitness and exercise, and lifting weights to build muscle won't stunt your growth or affect growth hormone levels.

What should one do if they are concerned about their growth?

If you are concerned about your growth, or the milestones of your children, the best thing to do is speak to your doctor.

The doctor can run tests, perform examinations and discuss therapy options as needed to understand the concerns and solutions to growth issues.

The leading medical causes have some signs, such as proper nerve functioning, minimally producing red blood cells, and lowered nitric oxide production.

Even when supplementing with beta-alanine and other amino acids can all point to potential complications your doctor may discover.


Conclusion

Contrary to popular beliefs and myths, pre-workout supplements will not stunt your growth.

However, teenagers and growing young adults should avoid artificial flavors and sweeteners as well as high levels of caffeine. The only thing that will stunt your growth is medical conditions.

So does pre-workout stunt growth?

No. Not even a little. As long as you eat healthily, sleep enough, and are otherwise in good health, you can experience normal growth, even when taking a pre-workout.

References:

1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11297004/

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3761732/

3. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/mnfr.201701043

4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/turner-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20360782

Last Updated on September 23, 2022

Paul J