- 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 homeand enjoy a 'good cup of tea' after a stressful day
- Another study about caffeine bones, tea that comes from China 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."
- As recently as October 2007, a study reported that among 500 elderly women that In their cross-sectional analysis of a 4 year study, total hip BMD was 2.8% greater in tea drinkers than in non-tea drinkers.
Now this is not to say that these elderly 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 teadrinkers. "In the prospective analysis over 4 y, tea drinkers lost an average of 1.6% of their total hip aBMD (-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 Caffeine, bones, tea
SPECIAL NOTE about herb teas. Some researchers think that it is polyphenols that are responsible for the better bone density among older women.If this is the case, then many herb teas would not offer the same results because many do not contain any polyphenols at all.
Now there are other studies that conclude that the effect of tea on bone mineral density if small and does not significantlyaffect the risk of fractures. ("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 also offers some studies related to caffeine bones and tea. 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 (44, 45).
The most recent of these 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."
IN the meantime some women concerned about the Caffeine, Bones, tea connection are substituting 'tea breaks' as relaxing stress relievers for coffee breaks which when taken at a coffee bars, often contain caffeine equivalent to that found in 3 - 4 regular cups of coffee.
Go the the main discussion of caffeine bones or go to Osteopenia Treatments
Page revised 10/2007