The People's Perspective on Medicine

Drinking Tea Helps Protect Bones

Drinking tea was associated with a lower likelihood of a bone fracture due to osteoporosis in a study of elderly Australian women.

The recent news that calcium and vitamin D supplements don’t seem to be effective in preventing osteoporotic fractures has left many people wondering what they can do to keep their bones sound. New research from Australia suggests that drinking tea is one simple way to reduce the risk of fractures.

The Study:

The scientists recruited nearly 1,200 women who were at least 75 years old at the start of the study. The women answered questions about food and beverage habits and were followed up for 10 years. During that time, 288 of them suffered a fracture due to osteoporosis.

Tea as a Dietary Source of Flavonoids:

The investigators examined sources of flavonoids in the diet, because these plant compounds have been identified as contributing to bone strength. In the diets of these women, black tea was a major source of flavonoids, and indeed, the data showed that women who generally drank three or more cups of tea daily had the lowest likelihood of a fracture. Because Australians love tea, more than half the women in this cohort were drinking tea, at least three cups a day.

Other Sources of Flavonoids:

Other dietary sources of flavonoids, particularly fruits and vegetables, added to the protective effect. (Apples, onions, and many other common plant-based foods provide multiple flavonoids.) The scientists point out that this observational study shows association, not cause and effect. They conclude:

“However, if the 30-40% reduction in fracture risk with higher intake of black tea and specific classes of flavonoids were confirmed, this knowledge would provide a major addition to the dietary prevention of fracture.”

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Oct., 2015

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .

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I have been drinking black english tea since 1999. I have had a lot of falls related to another pharma problam and have never broken any bones. Knock on wod,

None at this,time.

Would any type of tea suffice if you cannot drink black tea? Also keeping in mind that too much tea can cause kidney problems.

The tea plant is said to absorb fluoride easily.

How would one know if the tea was grown in high fluoride soil?

I am not a tea drinker; however, I just started drinking essiac tea, both for cancer prevention (had four, want no more) and for the pain of fibro, suggested by a friend. I wonder if it too has protective flavonoids. There are 8 herbs in the one that I am using.

I have obtained packets of ground herbs and am brewing my own tea. This stuff is strong, plus there is a great deal of sediment. Usage of which is mixed from what I have read on the net. Some say to stir it up and drink it; well, it is like drinking sand. Others say keep the sediment to use in poultices. I have never used a poultice; what can I say? I am a product of allopathic medicine.

Maybe all the flavonoids are in that sediment. Anyone here know anything about this? My friend buys the already brewed tea, way more expensive, and it does not have this kind of sediment.

Ten years and 288 fractures in 1200 women over 75 years old sounds like a low incidence altogether. I wonder whether they drank their tea with milk.
When my husband donated blood platelets twice a month, his iron levels were found to be low normal for a man. The phlebotomists said this was probably due to his tea drinking habit. So it would seem that drinking too much tea could have undesired effects if one tended to be anemic.
Australia is a sunny land. I wonder what the Vitamin D levels and outdoor exercise habits of these ladies were.

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