Is there really a ' bones caffeine connection' ?
Most books about Osteopenia and Osteoporosis make a 'bones caffeine connection'. They list caffeine as a risk factor for bone loss. When I researched the topic: bones caffeine,
I learned that not every study concludes that caffeine needs to be eliminated completely from the diet of those trying to improve bone density.
Most writers do agree that there are two aspect of caffeine that are important for those with Osteopenia or Osteoporosis.
- Caffeine is a stimulant. But caffeine is also a diuretic and it is the diuretic properties that lead to a bones caffeine connection. As a diuretic caffeine increases the amount of calcium we excrete in our urine for several hours after we drink it. Many researchers see this as cause for concern of those with Osteopenia or Osteoporosis. We should not be doing things that will reduce the amount of calcium we absorb.
- Research also shows that caffeine may interfere with the absorption of Vitamin D. Since Vitamin D is necessary for the body's absorption and use of calcium, this becomes the second ' bones caffeine' connection.
Caffeine in the diet is a negative for those with Osteopenia or Osteoporosis.
Here are a couple of research studies about bones caffeine connections.response.
- "Caffeine, urinary calcium, calcium metabolism and bone." by LK Massey and SJ Whiting of Washington State University concluded that:
"Oral doses of caffeine increase the urinary excretion of calcium, magnesium, sodium and chloride for at least 3 hrs after consumption. . . . Uncompensated losses of calcium would be a risk factor for development of osteoporosis. . . . Comparison of data from epidemiological surveys and animal and human studies suggests that for younger adult women consuming adequate calcium, moderate caffeine intakes may have little or no deleterious effects. Increased urinary and intestinal losses may be compensated for by increased intestinal calcium absorption. However older women do not seem to compensate adequately to maintain their former calcium balance, especially when calcium intakes are below recommendations."
- A second study of the ' bones caffeine connection' focused on older women, those over the age of 65. This study done at Creighton University's Bone Metabolism unit. It concluded that more than 300 mg. of caffeine a day, has a negative effect. Younger women were not included in this study and so no conclusion can be made about them.
Now you may be wondering how much 300 mg would entail. You need to remember that over the counter pain medications, ice cream, hot cocoa, chocolate candy and soda pop all contain caffeine. Most adults in the developed worldexceed 300 mg of caffeine each day.
The study investigated the interaction between caffeine and Vitamin D receptor. It concluded that Intakes of caffeine in amounts >300 mg/d ( approximately 514 g, or 18 oz, brewed coffee) accelerate bone loss at the spine in elderly post menopausal women. Furthermore, women with the tt genetic variant of VDR appear to be at a greater risk for this deleterious effect of caffeine on bone."
The last comment should be of special concern to those whose parents or grandparents had Osteopenia or Osteoporosis, or if they were never diagnosed the fracture of a hip or loss of height as they aged can be taken as an indication that theydid have Osteoporosis.
- RP Heaney, also of Creighton University, offered one of the few papers I found that did not claim there was a 'bones caffeine connection'. Instead he says that the low bone density could be related to low calcium intake, rather than the caffeine intake. But he does not offer additional studies to support thishypothesis.
Sometimes people ask me what I have done. After reading the research on the 'bones caffeine connection', I decided to change my caffeine intake. I think that what convinced me to change my caffeine habits was another study that documented that drinking more than four cups of coffee each day doubles the risk of hip fracture.
Since I usually drink my coffee in a mug and not a small cup, I realized that 2 of
my mugs of morning coffee probably brought me past the limit discussed in the studies. Then as I continued my research I learned that there were other sources of caffeine that I was using - and that got me thinking.
I decided that I would not ignore the 'bones caffeine' researches who were advising that taking more than 300 mg. a day of caffeine would have an adverse effect on bone density.
In fact, I decided that since I already had osteopenia and was trying to reverse it, I would limit my caffeine intake to 100 mg. a day or less.
As I began to look at the sources of caffeine, I was surprised by the actual caffeine content of common beverages,over the counter medications and my good friend, Chocolate!
If you want more detail on this, there is chart that lists of caffeine contentof many, but not all, food products at Your bones caffeine consumption
Also, I discovered that "Guarana contains concentrations of naturally occurring caffeine higher than that found in coffee, tea, cacao, and kola."( Guarana is an ingredient found in many sodas, energy drinks, protein bars, and natural weight-loss aids. Guarana is sometimes marketed as a natural alternative to caffeine, but it is caffeine!!)
Source of information about Guarana: http://www.blogforiowa.com/blog/
What will you do about your caffeine intake? If you are trying to build greater bone density, you willprobably want to limit your caffeine to amounts below the recommended limit.
How to cut back on caffeine If you have been drinking a lot of coffee or sodas, you may find it easier to cut back slowly. Sometimes going 'cold turkey' will give a headache for a few days.
When I decided to cut back my caffeine consumption to no more than 100mg a day, I decided to switch to decaffeinated coffee and/or herb tea so I could still enjoy some chocolate each week.
I experimented with a number of the decaf coffees on the market and was unhappy with most. Then one day I tried a brand aimed at the Latino/Latina market and found it very smooth and strong. My morning brew was settled. since then Maxwell House has come out
with a French Roast decaffeinatedthat is STRONG and the strong taste seems a good substitute for regular caffeinated coffee.
For a few years I made my own chocolate with Hershey's powdered chocolate + a bit of honey mixed with a bit of boiling water. Some times I add a bit of shredded coconut or a few nuts. But by making my own, I can keep sugar and corn syrup out and since I use just a few drops of honey, I know I am avoiding another food indiscretion that can have a negative effect on my bones. Now I tend to buy the Fair Trade bitter chocolate and only make my own when I run out of the Fair Trade bars.
Now after reading all this, you may be interested in the studies about TEA. Yes, tea has caffeine butits there may be no caffeine bones connection with tea. Do read about it....because maybe it is not the tea at all but things that usually accompany a cup of tea. See;bones caffeine tea
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