There's Something to Be Said for Having 'Tea Bones'
Though more study is needed, Hegarty suggests that tea has components that weakly mimic the effect of the female hormone, estrogen -- documented by other researchers -- and may be important in maintaining bone mineral density in postmenopausal women. Hegarty writes that tea's attributes may have little effect in younger women and men but may be important in keeping bones healthy in older women.
"This research presents some interesting findings," Pamela Meyers, PhD, tells WebMD. "Most research on teas, especially on green tea, has looked at its ability to lower risks of cancer and heart disease. This is the first I have seen that has researched the effects of tea on BMD." Meyers is a clinical nutritionist and assistant professor at Kennesaw State University near Atlanta.
However, says Meyers, she would like to see more complete data on intake of animal protein, calcium, caffeinated sodas and exercise -- all factors that can affect bone density. She reminds women that high consumption of protein and sodas may increase risk of osteoporosis, whereas extra calcium and exercise can improve bone density. "I would like to see more studies into the [estrogen effects] of tea, both green and black," she says.
- Scientific research has shown that caffeine consumption increases the risk of osteoporosis, but a new study shows that tea may actually offer a protective effect against the disease.
- In a British study, women who consumed tea had significantly greater bone mineral density when compared to non-tea drinkers.
- Researchers suspect that substances in tea can mimic the effects of estrogen in protecting bones.