Tea drinking improves bone strength
A cup of tea for the bones: A nice warm cup of tea may be just the right medicine for bones with a `weak heart and muscle’. As people grow old, their bones become brittle. The problem is more acute among women. A new research now says that gulping a few cups of tea may help the bone build some strength.
Hip fractures related to poor bone mineral density (BMD) are a significant cause of illness in elderly women. High caffeine intake has been reported as a risk factor for reduced BMD. However, tea contains other substances which may explain why tea drinking has a potentially beneficial effect on BMD.
In a recent research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Hegarty et al studied a group of 1256 women ages 65-76 living near Cambridge, UK of whom 1134 were tea drinkers. Skeletal measurements were taken at various sites. Tea drinking was highly associated with greater BMD at all sites with the exception of the femoral neck. The beneficial effect of tea on BMD occurred independent of factors such as the addition of milk, coffee drinking, smoking, or the use of hormone replacement therapy.
One of the mechanisms which the authors propose for the positive effect of tea is the presence of isoflavonoids, which have a weak estrogenic effect.
Estrogen-like substances have been known to moderate bone mineral loss in menopausal and post-menopausal women.
The tea drinkers overall had a 5% greater mean BMD than non-tea drinkers. The authors equate this difference with a 10-20% decline in fracture risk.
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