Alternatives to Growth Hormone Therapy for Short Stature Children
The growth hormone therapy conversation, including the one about alternatives for your child, can be a stressful and confusing one. However, if your child has fallen behind on the curve of weight or height, and it’s more than a delayed onset of development, alternatives to growth hormone therapy may be something you consider.
Growth hormone deficiency (GHD) is a result of the body’s insufficient production of the growth hormone somatotropin. When secreted from the pituitary gland, this hormone activates physiological maturing.
When a child’s body doesn’t have enough of this hormone, healthy growth processes are stunted. Your child may also be experiencing decreased energy, poor muscle strength and bone density, lack of concentration, insulin resistance, high LDL cholesterol or weakened cardiac function as a result, based on the Quality of Life Research Journal
If your child doesn’t qualify for growth hormone therapy, or you’re not comfortable with the treatment, there are alternatives. First and foremost, it’s important to consult with your child’s pediatrician and other specialized medical professionals about other options for your child. In those conversations, you may want to explore the following alternatives to growth hormone therapy.
Sleep Patterns & Growth Hormones
In both the infant stage and early childhood, inadequate sleep can lead to restricted growth hormone secretion, according to Nature and Science of Sleep Journal. Over time, the Nature and Science of Sleep Journal reports that this will affect the child’s height and weight. Since growth hormone is released at precise times throughout the entire sleep cycle, disruptions in this can inhibit the flow of secretion from taking place. As a result, your kiddo’s development can become stunted—in some cases, their weight may also begin to exceed the average range for their age bracket.
How Much Sleep Do Kids Need?
Honing in on your child’s sleep patterns can be an alternative to growth hormone therapy that you can explore right away. To start, it’s important to know how much sleep your child needs. According to The National Sleep Foundation the sleep requirements are as follows:
- Newborns require 14 to 17 hours of sleep
- Infants require 12 to 15 hours of sleep
- Toddlers require 11 to 14 hours of sleep
- Children ages 3 to 5 years require 10–13 hours of sleep
- Children ages 6 to 13 require 9 to 11 hours of sleep
Healthy Sleep Habits for Children
To ensure your child finds a healthier sleep cycle, the National Sleep Foundation also recommends the following tips:
- Make sure your child is getting enough sleep with the help of naps: “Sleep-deprived babies will sleep less, not more.”
- Adjust bedtime—the later your little one goes down the earlier they wake, which can lead to sleep deprivation.
- Do a late-night feeding to avoid early morning feedings.
- Keep it dark and avoid early morning light.
- Block out noise as much as possible.
- Focus on comfort, like avoiding wet diaper discomfort by switching to overnight diapers.
Nutritional Intake & Micronutrient Deficiency
A micronutrient deficiency keeps your child from getting the nutrients he or she needs to grow and has also been found to cause growth hormone deficiency in children, according to the Journal of Nutrition.
These nutrients are crucial for developing to an average and healthy size because the body metabolizes them too allow bones, muscles and tissues to grow. In many cases, this nutrient deficiency can also inhibit secretion of the growth hormone, according to evidence from the BMC Pediatrics Journal, which disrupts your child’s growth.
There are many reasons why your child may be deficient in necessary nutrients, including allergies, picky eating, and malabsorption, which is why it’s important to consult with your pediatrician first. Depending on the underlying cause, your child may be referred to a behavioral specialist, speech therapy specialist or dietician. The right person can help facilitate the changes needed to ensure your little one is in fact getting the necessary nutrients he or she needs.
As you explore this alternative to growth hormone therapy, find more tips and ideas from the Healthy Height blog. See a few helpful articles below:
- 10 Ways to Make Sure Your Picky Eater Gets Important Nutrients
- How Much Protein Does a Kid Need? (Plus Fun Recipes!)
- 5 Lunch-Packing Tips to Support Bone Growth
- 10 Healthy Meals for Picky Eaters
- 5 Signs Your Child is Micronutrient Deficient
Supplements to Help Children Grow Taller
Healthy eating habits are important, but if your child is a picky eater, or has allergies that limit what she or he can eat, you may need your efforts one step further with supplements. In fact, an estimated one-third of children in the United States consume dietary supplements, according to the Pediatric Research Journal.
If you want to explore this alternative to growth hormone therapy, start by having a conversation with your pediatrician, who will refer you to a specialist who can determine exact needs and dosages. Don’t forget to discuss safety, quality and efficacy of the supplements you purchase, as well, as recommended in the Nutrients Journal.
Adding Key Nutrients to Support Growth
One option to discuss with your pediatrician is Healthy Height Shake Mix. Our clinical study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that children who ate or drank the nutrition in Healthy Height daily saw increases in height and weight. Most notably, the study found that there was no change in body mass index (BMI), which shows that growth was proportional.
Health Height Shake Mix is free of gluten, corn syrup, soy and growth hormones, so you can feel good feeding it to your kiddo. It’s also packed with important vitamins and nutrients, including protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and calcium.
Choose the flavor your child loves most—vanilla or chocolate—and mix it into their preferred milk, yogurt, or smoothie. Get more fun recipes, including homemade oatmeal bars, below:
- Gluten-Free Banana Muffins
- Stuffed Oatmeal Snack Bars
- Veggie Loaded Cinnamon Vanilla Smoothie
- Pumpkin Oatmeal Pancakes
- Protein Date Balls
The Many Alternatives to Growth Hormone Therapy
If you’re not able to take the growth hormone therapy route, or would prefer not to, consider the many alternatives. Discuss your child’s options with your pediatrician first and foremost, who will help you find the necessary specialists and develop a plan for growth. There are many ways to help your child get back onto the average growth curve, you just have to find the best option for their specific lifestyle and needs.