Caffeine is a naturally occurring substance that can be found in many plants, including coffee beans, tea leaves, and cocoa beans. It’s also added to some foods and beverages, like energy drinks and sodas. Caffeine is a psychoactive drug that has stimulant effects on the brain and nervous system.
When consumed in moderation, it can improve mental alertness and increase physical energy. However, when consumed in excess, it can have negative side effects, including anxiety, irritability, and insomnia.
Despite its potential side effects, caffeine is safe for most people when consumed in moderation. In fact, there are several health benefits associated with moderate caffeine consumption, including improved brain function, reduced risk of death from chronic diseases, and enhanced physical performance.
and give us the extra energy we need to power through our day. But what many people don’t know is that caffeine can also have negative effects on our health, including our bones.
So, is caffeine bad for your bones? Let’s take a closer look.
Caffeine has been shown to decrease calcium absorption and contribute to bone loss.(1)
The Framingham Osteoporosis Study found that colas, but not other sodas, were associated with bone loss. This may be secondary to the combination of phosphorous and caffeine found in colas. The researchers concluded that “unless additional evidence rules out an effect, women who are concerned about osteoporosis may want to avoid the regular use of cola beverages.”
Despite its caffeine content, tea actually may improve bone health. When Chen et al prospectively investigated the correlation between habitual tea drinking with bone mineral density and fracture risk, they found that multivariate analyses suggested a positive trend toward a lower fracture risk with habitual tea drinkers. (2) Furthermore, those who drank ≥3 cups/day had a 39% lower risk for hip fractures than non-tea drinkers. Thus, it appears that the benefits of tea drinking may outweigh the risks posed by its caffeine content.
So, what’s the bottom line? Caffeine can have negative effects on your bones, but not all caffeinated beverages are created equal. If you’re concerned about osteoporosis, stick to tea instead of cola. And limit yourself to three cups or less per day.