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Coffee, Tea and Bone Health

It’s not hard these days to find a coffee shop around the corner with all varieties of caffeinated options. Should you be worried about how much you consume? Probably not, unless the amount of caffeinated coffee or tea you drink is excessive.

Some studies link caffeine consumption with negative effects on calcium metabolism, possibly related to caffeine increasing loss of calcium in the urine, and decreasing calcium absorption in the body. Over time, having less calcium available could cause bone loss.

However, the effect of caffeine is weakened in individuals who are getting enough calcium in their diet (e.g., 1,000 to 1,200 mg from total of food and supplements). Caffeine may very modestly reduce calcium absorption (by about 4 mg of calcium per cup of coffee), but this can be offset completely by adding 1–2 tablespoons of milk to your coffee.

If you have a good calcium and vitamin D intake, there is little reason for concern about moderate caffeine intake on your bones (e.g., up to 6 cups of coffee or tea) although it could raise your blood pressure or increase your heart rate.

If you consume large quantities of coffee or tea (plus other caffeinated drinks, like colas), consider moderation. At first you may experience withdrawal symptoms like headaches, so stay hydrated while you are cutting back.

Keep a diary of what you are drinking for a few days. Take note of your calcium and vitamin D intake. Reduce your caffeine if necessary and make sure you meet your daily requirements of calcium and vitamin D.

Heaney, R. “Effects of caffeine on bone and the calcium economy,” Food and Chemical Toxicology, v. 40, Issue 9, September 2002, Pages 1263-1270.

Reviewed: 3/17/19

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What to know about bone health
and fracture prevention during COVID-19

  • Remove fall dangers in your home.
  • Stay physically active, and at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Eat for proper nutrition, and take a supplement if needed to get enough calcium and vitamin D.
  • Stick with your osteoporosis medicines and ask your doctor for extra if you’re unable to go to the pharmacy.
  • If you are due for Reclast, there is little concern about delaying for a few weeks or months.
  • If you take Prolia or Evenity injections, don’t miss your appointment.  Some facilities offer “drive-through” injections. Check with your doctor.
  • Bone density testing can be postponed, if necessary.
  • Speak with your doctor about the possibility of telephone and video visits.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a page with steps you can take to reduce your risk of catching the virus if you have a chronic illness.

Be well. We are here for you if you have any questions.