Fresh Clips: Drink Green Tea for Strong Bones

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Preliminary research shows that green tea might help prevent brittle bones. Recent studies have touted the health benefits of green tea, highlighting the antioxidant activity of its polyphenols. It also has been suggested that green tea could have a benefit in osteoporosis. Data correlates tea consumption with the prevention of age-related bone loss in elderly women and men.

Osteoporosis results from an imbalance of the resorption of bone cells in ratio to the formation of bone cells. Therefore, the basic approach is to help restore the balance of bone-building cells and metabolic processes that cause the loss of bone cells. In order to make sense of the wide-ranging scientific literature, including animal, epidemiological and clinical studies, a team of osteoporosis and green tea research experts conducted a review of the scientific evidence.

They found that green tea could protect against osteoporosis. It seems to prevent bone loss through antioxidant or anti-inflammatory signaling pathways and processes related to bone-building. However, the researchers note there is a gap in scientific data bridging observation from animal studies to the real effects in human populations. Most animal studies measure bone density, but have not tested bone strength and anti-fracture capacity. They recommend that future human studies give green tea for longer periods of time, further explore bioavailability through biomarkers, and use imaging technologies to study effectiveness in bone mass and micro-architecture.Keep drinking green tea, but the research won’t be conclusive for some time.

Shen, C.L, Yeh, J.K., Cao, J.J., Wang, J.S. Green tea and bone metabolism. Nutrition Research 29:437-456, 2009.

Steven Foster is an expert on medicinal plants.

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