Is Green Tea Good for your Bones?
Some observational studies (observational means an association but does not prove cause) have indicated that people who drink more green tea have higher bone mineral density and a lower risk of hip fractures. There are numerous theories as to why green tea might be good for bone health, including its role as an antioxidant and as an anti-inflammatory. Oxidative stress can contribute to bone loss, so the role of antioxidants like green tea in lessening bone loss during the development of osteoporosis is of significant interest. The flavonoids and lignans found in tea may improve bone density, particularly in older women with low estrogen levels.
A new 12 month Journal of Nutrition study looking at the effects of a year’s supplementation of green tea extract, in 121 overweight postmenopausal women ages 50 to 70, found no effect on bone mineral density. The amount of extract used was equal to about 5 cups of brewed green tea and did not contain caffeine. So while some animal studies suggest green tea may help protect against certain cancers and is a source of phytonutrients so far there is no conclusive evidence that green tea or green tea supplements improve bone density. Additional research may help us better understand the impact of green tea on bone health. Unless contraindicated for other reasons, go ahead and enjoy some green tea with it’s healthy phytonutrients but at this point there is insufficient evidence that green tea or green tea extract will do anything special for your bones.