Caffeine and Calcium: Is Coffee Bad for Your Bones?

Published: January 25, 2022
Updated: January 26, 2022

Cups of coffee on a bed of coffee beans on a picnic table

The Controversy Surrounding Caffeine and Bone Density  | Why Coffee is Actually Good for You | Boosts Antioxidant Levels | Lowers Inflammation  | Can Coffee Increase Urinary Excretion Of Calcium? | Caffeinated vs. Decaffeinated Coffee | The Bottom Line on Coffee and Bone Density

If the best part of waking up is coffee in your cup — you’re in good company. It’s estimated that 500 billion cups of coffee are consumed every day! 

Unfortunately, somewhere along the way an unsettling association was made between coffee and bone density loss. 

Over time, conflicting information about caffeine and bone health developed which led many to wonder, “Is coffee bad for osteoporosis?” 

And since naysayers haven’t definitively answered this question, you may be concerned that your beloved morning cup of Joe could be causing damage to your bones.

As it turns out, in addition to the intoxicating aroma, delicious flavor and jolt of caffeine, drinking coffee actually offers health benefits.

But before we dive into all the incredible health benefits of coffee, let’s address the controversy brewing around coffee and its effects on bone health. Then, we’ll cover the incredible health benefits of this beloved beverage.

The Controversy Surrounding Caffeine and Bone Density

Despite the lack of scientific evidence, coffee has been associated with poor bone health for years. While there are some individuals who should not have coffee and/or caffeine due to medical conditions or pregnancy, it’s not necessary to stay away from coffee for the sake of your bones.

Lara Pizzorno, MDiv, MA, LMT, author of “Healthy Bones Healthy You!” will spill the beans below in a wonderfully informative video all about coffee and bone health. But for now, let’s get to the heart of the matter and see what the science really reveals about coffee and bone density.

Papers evaluating the effect of coffee on bone were published by Korean researchers in the Journal of Korean Family Medicine in 2014. 

The Korean researchers evaluated the effects of coffee consumption on bone mineral density in premenopausal women. 

The authors looked at data from the 4th Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. This survey was conducted through 2008-2009 and consisted of 1,761 premenopausal women. 

Researchers found no significant association between coffee consumption and bone mineral density of the femoral neck, the femur, or the lumbar spine.

This is promising news. But considering the limitation of a food questionnaire-based, non-intervention study, the findings warrant a more comprehensive study.

Why Coffee is Actually Good for You

Drinking several cups of coffee daily is not only just fine, but actually highly beneficial for most people. 

It’s been found that drinking coffee is significantly associated with higher T-scores – hence a lower risk of osteoporosis in men and premenopausal women.
What’s more, recent evidence suggests that coffee consumption can help reduce the risk of several diseases: type 2 diabetes, Parkinson disease, Alzheimer disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

Person pouring coffee

Boosts Antioxidant Levels

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.

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.

Lowers Inflammation

Coffee lowers a hormone secreted by fat cells that promote inflammation called leptin. 

Chronically elevated leptin levels are associated with obesity, overeating, and inflammation-related diseases including, here we go again, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and most important to us, osteoporosis.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here are 9 more surprising health benefits of coffee.

Can Coffee Increase Urinary Excretion Of Calcium?

As you may know, there’s been some news swirling around about caffeine and calcium absorption.

Namely, that caffeine can increase the loss of calcium in the urine and thereby decrease calcium absorption in the body.

It’s true that coffee can increase our urinary excretion of calcium – but only slightly. 

This can easily be offset by taking your coffee with some form of calcium-containing milk, regularly eating calcium-rich foods, and taking a good calcium supplement that’s proven to reverse bone loss. 
By maintaining a balance between your caffeine and calcium intake you’ll be in a much better position to protect your bones.

Caffeinated vs. Decaffeinated Coffee

Of course, no coffee-related controversy would be complete without discussing caffeinated versus decaffeinated coffee.

Decaffeinated coffee is simply coffee beans that have roughly 97% of their caffeine removed prior to roasting. While this may slightly change the color and aroma of decaffeinated coffee beans, it doesn’t impact their nutrition. 

When it comes to bone health, there is speculation (not concrete studies) that since decaf coffee tends to be a specific type of coffee bean naturally higher in acid, it could have a negative impact on bones.
Again, there is no study proving this, so it’s no reason to switch to caffeinated coffee or give up coffee altogether. Lara Pizzorno will also share more information about decaffeinated coffee in her video below or read the transcript, here.

The Bottom Line on Coffee and Bone Density

As you can see, you can still enjoy your morning (and afternoon) coffee and have healthy bones.

In fact, drinking coffee may actually help improve your bone health! So don’t worry about having that cup, or two or three each day– so long as you’re not dousing it in bone-depleting sugar!

That said, the best route to healthy bones is a healthy diet with lots of calcium rich-foods, along with an active lifestyle. Better still, add in the world’s only calcium supplement guaranteed to increase bone density, year after year

It’s guilt-free as well: coming from a natural, plant-based calcium source that also naturally contains all 13 trace minerals your bones need for optimal density.

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30 responses to “Caffeine and Calcium: Is Coffee Bad for Your Bones?”

  1. Julie Gorman

    January 28, 2022 , 12:43 pm

    When it comes to decaf, what about the method of decafination? Some use chemicals, some don’t. Those that do, what about any chemicals that remain in the coffee, are these harmful?
    Thank you.

  2. Kirby Johnson

    January 31, 2022 , 3:35 pm

    Julie,

    That’s a great question! While we don’t have any information regarding possible chemical remains from the decaffeination process, you can avoid any potential complications by purchasing coffee that has been decaffeinated using water rather than chemical solvents. This method is environmentally friendly, chemical-free, and offers the same decaffeination benefits. Buying organic, fair-trade, fair-labor coffee from organizations that practice sustainable harvesting will further ensure the quality and purity of your coffee.

    – Kirby @ AlgaeCal

  3. Susan Braund

    January 28, 2022 , 1:40 pm

    Hello
    For the last six months my systolic blood pressure has been increasing. Is there any connection with Algae Cal and blood pressure? I quit for a while but have been back on Algae Cal for a few months. Is there a relationship?
    Thanks, Susan

  4. Kirby Johnson

    February 1, 2022 , 4:02 pm

    Hi Susan,

    Thank you for reaching out; we’re so sorry to hear you’ve experienced an increase in systolic blood pressure. Calcium, when properly balanced by magnesium (as it is in AlgaeCal Plus) hasn’t been found to increase blood pressure. Our Bone Health Expert, Lara Pizzorno states that, “A lack of magnesium can contribute to the lining of our blood vessels not being able to relax as effectively, which can increase risk for elevated blood pressure. AlgaeCal Plus is providing you with a significant amount of magnesium, 350 mg, which is in 2:1 (calcium:magnesium) balance with the calcium it provides.”

    If you’re experiencing an increase in blood pressure, Lara has suggested trying the following: “Take some additional magnesium (150 mg of magnesium citrate) along with 50 mg of pyridoxal-5-phosphate. This is the active form of B6 which helps get magnesium into our cells where it does its work for us, including relaxing blood vessels.” We’d encourage you to discuss this with your doctor to determine if it’s an appropriate option for you.

    You might also choose to cease taking our supplements entirely while monitoring your blood pressure to help determine the source of what you’re experiencing. While it’s highly unlikely that supplementing with AlgaeCal Plus has contributed to the high blood pressure you’re experiencing, your body is the ultimate arbiter of what works for you and we encourage you to trust yourself. Please keep us updated and don’t hesitate to reach out for additional information. We’d be happy to provide further resources for your consideration.

    – Kirby @ AlgaeCal

  5. alice

    January 31, 2022 , 10:20 pm

    It’s so good to know that drinking coffee doesn’t have bad effects on my bone. I’ve stopped drinking coffee for months since i was diagnosed with osteoporosis. I replaced it with dirnking ginger tea, turmeric and ginseng tea. Thanks for the info , I can add coffee with my morning drink again.

  6. Kirby Johnson

    February 1, 2022 , 3:48 pm

    Alice,

    Those all sounds like tremendous ways to support your bone health!

    – Kirby @ AlgaeCal

  7. Pamela Panetta

    May 10, 2022 , 10:39 am

    I have been caffeine free for over a year now as I thought it was a good health choice. I drink decaf or decaf green tea but still miss the morning caffeine jolt!

  8. Deborah Torchia

    May 10, 2022 , 4:37 pm

    I was interested to know if decaf coffee lacked nutrition, and I’m glad your article explained it doesn’t. I enjoy my coffee but can’t take the caffiene.

  9. Barbara Alpert

    May 11, 2022 , 11:56 am

    So glad to hear that coffee is good for osteoporosis. I am not a big coffee drinker, but I am a big fan of not having to give up all good things!

This article features advice from our industry experts to give you the best possible info through cutting-edge research.

Prof. Didier Hans
PHD, MBA - Head of Research & Development Center of Bone Diseases, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Switzerland,
Lara Pizzorno
MDiv, MA, LMT - Best-selling author of Healthy Bones Healthy You! and Your Bones; Editor of Longevity Medicine Review, and Senior Medical Editor for Integrative Medicine Advisors.,
Dr. Liz Lipski
PhD, CNS, FACN, IFMP, BCHN, LDN - Professor and Director of Academic Development, Nutrition programs in Clinical Nutrition at Maryland University of Integrative Health.,
Dr. Loren Fishman
MD, PhD - Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Founder of the Yoga Injury Prevention Website.,
Dr. Carole McArthur
MD, PhD - Professor of Immunology, Univ. of Missouri-Kansas City; Director of Residency Research in Pathology, Truman Medical Center.,