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Coffee and Your Bones: The Debate, Settled

Did you know that 54% of Americans over the age of 18 drink at least 1 cup of coffee per day?

In fact as I’m writing this, I’m enjoying my very first cup of the day…and as you’re reading this, maybe you’re doing the same.

The only problem with enjoying your cup of java, is that you may have been told it’s bad for your bones and may increase your risk of fracture.

But I’m here to tell you, it’s simply untrue.

Will High Coffee Consumption Really Increase Risk of Fracture?

You may have read inconsistent information on whether or not coffee is bad for your bones. In the past, there have been some studies showing an increased risk of fracture with coffee consumption, while others have shown no association whatsoever.

However, a study that was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2013 seems to have put this debate to rest (at least for the time being). The study, the largest of its kind to date, took data from 61,433 women and assessed their coffee consumption with repeated questionnaires.

The results showed no evidence of a higher rate of any fracture or hip fracture with increased coffee consumption. There was however a slight reduction in bone mineral density when 4 or more cups were consumed in comparison to less than 1 cup, but this did not translate into an increased risk of fracture.

 Why Coffee is Actually Good for You

Coffee (either caffeinated or decaffeinated) is actually one of the most significant sources of antioxidants in the American Diet.

And when it comes to antioxidants, the big star in coffee is polyphenols.

In fact, current evidence strongly supports a contribution of polyphenols to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, alzheimer’s disease, chronic inflammation, and osteoporosis.

What makes polyphenols so special when it comes to bone health specifically, is it has been shown to influence proliferation of osteoblasts (the cells that make bone). Even at low concentrations, polyphenols can affect bone metabolism.

The takeaway: keep enjoying your cup of coffee, or two or three. With its antioxidant properties, specifically polyphenols, coffee has shown to be very beneficial not only when it comes to bone health, but chronic inflammation, type 2 diabetes and alzheimer’s disease.


Author: Monica Straith, BS

Monica is the PR and Outreach Manager and Fitness Lead at AlgaeCal. She’s an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Specialist, and has a B.S. and B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she played varsity soccer for four years. Monica pulls from her experience in athletics and health to contribute to AlgaeCal and has also been featured on myfitnesspal blog, Prevention, and Huffington Post.