Tea Osteoporosis Osteopenia

Tea Osteoporosis Osteopenia - what is the connection? Consuming caffeinated beverages has long been listed as a risk for  bone loss.  But recent research questions whether this connection always exists.Might there be an exception for tea?

Could it be that tea drinking prevents Osteoporosis?

Here are some intriguing reports about caffeine bones and tea:

  • An article in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published in 2000 stated that the tea may be beneficial to keeping bones strong.
    In a study done at University of Cambridge, England examined the tea drinking habits and bone densities of over 1200 British women age 65 - 75. The researchers found that "tea drinkers among the 1200 women age had stronger bones than" non-tea drinkers." Tea-drinkers had a 5 percent higher mean bone-mineral density than non-tea-drinkers. Such a difference in bone density "could mean a 10 percent to 15 percent decline in fracture risk".The researchers said that they did not know the reason for these outcomes. Some wondered if there were something different about tea that counteracted the usually negative effect of caffeine on bone density.Of course most older British women drink 'white tea', tea made white by the amount of milk added. Also, 'having a cup of tea' is a well known cultural 'stress reducing' practice. I can not tell you how often I have been counseled to go home and enjoy a 'good cup of tea' after a stressful day.
  • Another study about Tea Osteoporosis, Osteopenia  came from China. This study  concluded that "habitual tea consumption, especially for more than 10 years, has significant beneficial effects on BMD of the total body, lumbar spine, and hip regions in adults."
  •   In October 2007, a study reported that among 500 old women that a  cross-sectional analysis of a 4 year study showed total hip BMD was 2.8% greater in tea drinkers than in non-tea drinkers. Now this is not to say that these  women increased their BMD over the time of the study. The 2.8% more was really from how much less bone loss the tea drinkers in the study had as compared with the non tea drinkers. "In the prospective analysis over 4 y, tea drinkers lost an average of 1.6% of their total hip BMD (-32; -45, -19 mg/cm(2)), but non-tea drinkers lost 4.0% (-13; -20, -5 mg/cm(2)) (P < 0.05). The study concluded that tea drinking is associated with preservation of hip structure in elderly women. You can read the complete study at  Tea Osteoporosis, Osteopenia


Some researchers think that it is polyphenols that are responsible for the better bone density among older tea drinking women. If this is the case, then many herb teas would not offer the same results because many do not contain any polyphenols so there would be no tea Osteoporosis Osteopenia connection with herbal teas.

Then, too,  are other studies that conclude that the effect of tea on bone mineral density is so small that it does not significantly affect the risk of fractures.  To read one of these tea osteoporosis osteopenia study click on "Habitual Tea Consumption and Risk of Osteoporosis: A Prospective Study in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Cohort" by Z. Chen1 , M. B. Pettinger2, C. Ritenbaugh3, A. Z. LaCroix2, J. Robbins4, B. J. Caan5, D. H. Barad6 and I. A. Hakim1.)

The Linus Pauling Institute offers some studies related to Tea Osteoporosis Osteopenia.  The institute reports that "two large prospective cohort studies of U.S. women found no relationship between tea consumption and the risk of hip or wrist fracture over 4-6 years of follow up".

Other recent studies found that higher tea intakes were associated with slightly higher BMD in post menopausal women, but this finding did not translate into a lower risk of hip or wrist fracture (44). Further study is required to determine whether tea consumption affects the development of osteoporosis or the risk of osteoporotic fracture in a meaningful way."

So as you can see the research about tea osteoporosis, osteopenia is mixed.  Still some men and women concerned about  osteoporosis are substituting 'tea breaks' as relaxing stress relievers instead of coffee breaks. ( As you know coffee when taken at a typical coffee bar, often contains caffeine equivalent to that found in 3 - 4 regular cups.)

Go the the main discussion of caffeine bones for more about Tea Osteoporosis Osteopenia or read about some specific   Osteopenia Treatments

End of discussion: Tea Osteoporosis, Osteopenia

Page updated: 2014