Female breasts come in all shapes and sizes, but dissatisfaction with breast size is a common complaint. While it's tempting for women to try gimmicks, vitamins or other supplements that claim to increase breast size, there is no scientific evidence that they work. Genetics and body weight mainly determine breast size, with factors such as age and breastfeeding affecting shape and position.
Vitamins Don't Grow Breasts
A healthy diet is necessary for optimal growth and development, and vitamins are essential to health. During puberty, when breast tissue is growing, a well-balanced diet is important. However, there are no known vitamins that specifically target an increase in breast size. According to a National Center for Health Research report, despite numerous claims by manufacturers, there is no evidence that any dietary supplements enhance the size of breasts.
Genetics and Weight
By far, the most important determinant of breast size is genetics. Breast size comes from a combination of the genes inherited from both sides of the family. A study published in the June 2012 "BMC Medical Genetics" examined more than 16,000 women, and found 7 different genes associated with breast size. Weight also influences the size of your breasts. A significant portion of breast tissue is made up of fat, so as weight increases, so might breast size. The "BMC Medical Genetics" article noted a strong relationship between weight and breast size. Each additional unit of body mass index (BMI) was linked to a cup size increase of 0.1.
Breast size changes over the life span. Breast development begins in puberty in response to estrogen. Good nutrition during puberty is important for healthy growth and development. Temporary increase in breast size may be noticed as part of the monthly menstrual cycle, due to hormone fluctuations. Pregnancy and breastfeeding enlarge the breasts, and after delivery or after weaning, breasts tend to shrink, lose shape and sag. After menopause, reductions in estrogen lead to shrinkage. Breast sagging is age-related as the fibrous structures that support breasts become less supportive with age.
Precautions and Next Steps
No known vitamins or supplements are safe and effective at increasing breast size. If you are unhappy with the size of your breasts and want to pursue surgery to increase breast size, talk with your doctor. However, sometimes simple steps can make your feel better about your breast size. Wearing a supportive bra and tops that flatter your figure is a good first step. Maintaining good posture is also helpful, as slouching can make your breasts appear smaller. Staying physically fit can also do wonders to improve body image and self-esteem. If you have ongoing problems with low self-esteem and poor body image, have a discussion with your doctor, and consider a referral to a therapist.
- BMC Medical Genetics: Genetic Variants Associated With Breast Size Also Influence Breast Cancer Risk
- Maturitas: Increase in Breast Size After Menopause: Prevalence and Determinants
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons: Top 5 Cosmetic Surgical Procedures
- Johns Hopkins Medicine: Normal Breast Development and Changes
- National Center for Health Research: Examining the Safety of Natural Supplements