New research has found that coffee consumption may be a positive contributing factor to bone mineral density, a signifier of bone health.
While most studies on coffee and osteoporosis — including multiple major meta-analyses on bone fractures among coffee drinkers versus non-coffee drinkers — have remained inconclusive, this study found potentially good news for habitual coffee drinkers.
Examining data on 564 people, the researchers identified specific metabolites in coffee, including three in particular that have been associated with an increase in bone density and a decreased risk of fracture.
“For all those folks who drink lots of coffee and are concerned about the health effects of coffee, this is good news,” said Chad Deal, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic, who did not take part in the study. “It appears to show that coffee is, in general, probably good for bone health.”
That said, Deal also recommended that people who are heavy coffee drinkers with known low bone mass have testing performed to check calcium excretion levels. Caffeine is known to naturally increase the excretion of calcium through urine, although it can also be re-absorbed.
Because caffeinated coffee does have a slight negative effect on calcium absorption, the cherished elixir has been scrutinized for decades anecdotally and by the popular health media. However, researchers have been letting coffee off the hook as it relates to bone health since as far back as 2002, when world-renowned bone expert Dr. Robert Heaney wrote that “there is no evidence that caffeine has any harmful effect on bone status or on the calcium economy in individuals who ingest the currently recommended daily allowances of calcium.”