Caffeine and Osteoporosis

The problem with osteoporosis, besides the painful fractures that it causes is that there has been no cause identified, and no cure has been found. Several risk factors have been identified. While some of these factors cannot be controlled, like age, gender and race, there are several involving lifestyle that can be changed. A big part of lifestyle is diet.

Having a well balanced diet and consuming nutritious foods is vital to the health of the body. Today many people consume excessive amounts of sugar, salt and caffeine. Often these substances pose health risks. Many degenerative diseases of today are attributed to eating too much of certain types of foods and not enough of others.

The processing techniques used by the food industry cause chemical changes in our food that may adversely affect the health of the tissues in our bodies, including bone. Bone health is important to prevention of osteoporosis. The stronger the bones are the less likely they are to break.

Different Theories

The role that caffeine plays in osteoporosis is controversial. It is thought that by increasing the urinary excretion of calcium that the consumption of caffeine may reduce bone mineral density and subsequently increase the risk of fracture.

Some claim that caffeinated drinks deplete the body’s fluid levels because caffeine increases urination.

More recent research shows that a persons fluid balance is not significantly affected by a moderate use of caffeine. Some say that caffeine is a diuretic, so therefore it can increase calcium loss in the urine.

How much effect caffeine has on our bone health is still yet to be determined. Some studies show that caffeine intake is not a significant risk factor for osteoporosis, particularly in women who consume adequate calcium. Earlier research seemed to show that caffeine increases the loss of calcium, raising the risk of osteoporosis.

Even in a fairly recent study, women aged 6577 who drank more than 300 milligrams (mg) of caffeine daily the equivalent of about three cups of coffee, had greater bone loss over a three-year period than those who drank less.

Increased Risks

One study showed that people who drink more than three cups of coffee a day increase their risk of osteoporosis by 82 percent. Several studies conducted to date show no link between moderate caffeine consumption and bone density and mineral content in women who consume some calcium in their diet.

One thing that is known for certain is that the body needs to maintain calcium and phosphorous in equal balance in the blood. Soft drinks, very high in phosphorous; require the body to steal calcium from the bones to help balance the phosphorous taken in with soft drinks.

Most experts agree that moderation and common sense are the keys for consuming caffeinated foods and beverages. The American Medical Association (AMA) has a similar position on caffeine’s safety, and states that “Moderate tea or coffee drinkers probably need have no concern for their health relative to their caffeine consumption provided other lifestyle habits (diet, alcohol consumption) are moderate, as well.”