Daily cuppa may affect bone density

Post by: Melanie Hingle, MPH, RD

Greetings Seven Cups Community!

So it’s been awhile since my last nutrition post…here’s an interesting tidbit from Down Under – a new study by Devine et al at the University of Western Australia suggests that tea drinking may potentially aid in the prevention of osteoporosis, a debilitating disease described (by a very smart man I know) as a “pediatric disease with geriatric consequences.”
The study followed 1500 elderly women (70-85yrs of age) over 5 years, investigating the effects of calcium supplementation on fracture incidence. Tea consumption was one of the dietary factors examined by this group of researchers, and they found that the tea drinkers had 2.8% higher bone mineral density (BMD) than non-tea drinkers.
Now this doesn’t sound like anything significant (2.8% right?) but in fact, with bone density, it is clinically meaningful. On average, women lose approximately 1-2% of bone mineral density each year after menopause (unless they take active steps to prevent this loss).
Devine and colleagues hypothesize that it is the polyphenols (EGCG being one of them) that may be part of the mechanism by which tea helps preserve BMD.
These data can be found in this months issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol 86, pages 1243-1247 (Authors: Amanda Devine, JM Hodgson, IM Dick, and RL Prince).

Happy Tea Drinking!