Confirmed By Science: Flavonoids In Tea Lower The Risk Of Fractures

Discovered in 2737 BC by Chinese Emperor Shen Nung, this 5,000-year-old beverage is steeped in history. As legend has it, the skilled ruler was boiling water as was customarily done to render it safe to drink. While boiling the water, a dead leaf fell into the pot. The emperor drank the beverage and thoroughly enjoyed it, and thus, tea was born.

You might be surprised to learn that tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to water, and for good reason. In addition to its numerous health benefits, tea plants are rich in flavonoids that have been scientifically proven to strengthen bones.

Further confirming the important role tea plays in bone health, a recently published Australian study shows that drinking tea can reduce the risk of bone fractures by 30 to 40 percent.

So, grab a cup of tea, find a comfy seat, and read on!

The Study: Regular Tea Consumption Lowers Fracture Risk

While numerous observational studies have linked tea intake with increased bone density, Australian researchers noticed a lack of prospective studies specifically addressing the association between tea drinking and flavonoid intake with fracture risk.1

Researchers from Flinders University tracked the health of nearly 1,200 women over the age of 75.2 Over the course of a decade, the women in the study suffered 288 broken bones, with the majority being hip fractures. However, women who drank at least three cups a day of black tea were more than a third less likely to suffer a broken bone than occasional tea drinkers. In fact, for each cup of tea consumed each day, there was a 9% decrease in the risk of a fracture.

What Makes Tea So Beneficial For Bones?

So what exactly makes tea beneficial for bones? Researchers of the study concluded that it was the presence of flavonoids in the tea that offer a protective factor for bones. In fact, the women in the study with the highest flavonoid intake had the lowest risk of fractures. Of the seven major classes of flavonoids, flavan-3-ols, flavonols, and flavones were the most associated with reduced fractures.

Flavonoids are a large group of plant pigments called polyphenols. Numerous studies discuss the various health benefits associated with polyphenols.3 In addition to their overall health advantages, they also have been shown to influence bone growth by increasing osteoblast production.

Flavonoids have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the body. With over 6,000 different types, they are responsible for giving fruits and vegetables their vibrant colors. Consumption of flavonoids has been shown to improve longevity,4 lower cardiovascular disease risk,5 and reduce cancer risk.6 It’s relevant to mention here that the Save Our Bones Program devotes an entire chapter to the topic of antioxidants, including polyphenols.

Flavonoids are found in high concentrations in tea, which is particularly rich in certain flavonoid classes such as flavan-3-ols (or catechins) and flavonols (for example, quercetin)7. Tea provides approximately 83% of the total intake of flavonoids in the American diet, followed by citrus (4%) and wine (2%)8. And flavonoids are present in many of the Foundation Foods in the Save Our Bones Program.

Are All Teas Created Equal?

The kinds of flavonoids vary depending on the type of tea. Traditional teas, such as green, oolong, and black tea come from the Camellia sinensis plant. The leaves are simply processed differently. While green tea leaves are not fermented and left whole, black and oolong tea leaves undergo a crushing and fermentation process.

The problem with the tea plant is that it readily absorbs fluoride from the soil and rainwater. The heat of the boiling water causes the tea leafs to release fluoride. Fluoride is a toxic substance that when consumed in excess can have adverse effects on your body and your bones.9,10 Given that many Americans are exposed to fluoride through drinking water, toothpaste, and dental procedures, it is important to monitor outside sources of fluoride.

The health benefits of polyphenols in tea do not completely erase the deleterious effects of fluoride, but Savers know that moderation is key. Green and black tea are comparable in regards to fluoride content. However, there is mounting evidence that green tea contains many bioactive ingredients that support protection against osteoporosis.11 Some studies show that green tea contains more antioxidants than black tea.12

Loose-leaf teas tend to contain lower levels of fluoride, as do younger tea leafs such as white tea, since they do not have as much time to absorb fluoride through the roots. In all cases, moderation is recommended, so try to not drink more than three cups a day. Additionally, there are numerous herbal tea choices that contain bone-healthy flavonoids, such as chamomile, lemongrass, and others that eliminate the need to worry about fluoride.

Avoid This Common Practice

Milk is still touted as an osteoporosis ‘savior’ by the Medical Establishment. Physicians remind patients to drink milk, and the “Got Milk?” ads worked to reinforce the false idea that milk is healthy. However, there’s clear, evidence-backed data confirming that not only does milk not do a body (and bones) good, but actually causes harm.13

The biggest irony about milk is that it actually causes bone loss, since it’s an acidifying beverage that decreases the blood pH. In an effort to compensate for the lowered pH, the powerfully alkalizing mineral, calcium, is released from bones into the bloodstream and is eventually excreted via the urine.

Some people enjoy adding milk to their tea. However, studies have shown this common practice undermines the very benefits of drinking tea in the first place. A study in the European Heart Journal found that black tea consumption significantly improved arterial function, but when milk was added to the tea, the health benefits were blunted.14 Another study examined the addition of whole milk, 2% milk, and skimmed milk to tea, and found that while the addition of any milk decreased the total antioxidant capacity of tea, skimmed milk decreased the antioxidant capacity the most.15

Milk may not be the only offender when it comes to offsetting the benefits of tea. At least one study found that the addition of soy protein also significantly reduced the bioavailability of antioxidants in green tea.16

Use unsweetened almond milk or your favorite non-dairy milk substitute, and you can add a bit of sweetness with a small amount of honey.

The Save Institute Has Always Been Ahead Of The Times!

The goal of the Save Our Bones Program is to provide you with a road map for a natural, scientifically-based treatment to reverse osteoporosis and osteopenia. The study on tea and flavonoids featured in this article is just one of many in which mainstream medicine is finally catching up with recommendations made many years ago by the Save Institute. For example, while researchers are beginning to explore the importance of antioxidants, at the Save Institute we had already devoted an entire chapter to this topic.

If you ask your friends, you will be hard-pressed to find someone who has even heard of flavonoids. In fact, most physicians or health care providers fail to mention their importance, what foods they are present in, or how they can positively impact your health. Clearly, with its reductionist mentality, the Medical Establishment fails to see how non-prescription drug options work so well to improve bone health.

At the Save Institue we believe that the systems in your body are beautifully woven together and meant to work synergistically to provide you with strong, healthy bones.

When you invest in the Save Our Bones Program you are investing in your health. We recognize that perhaps your health journey thus far may have been complicated and confusing. The ease of the Save Our Bones Program has surprised many Savers.

Stop Worrying About Your Bone Loss


Join thousands of Savers from around the world who have reversed or prevented their bone loss naturally and scientifically with the Save Our Bones Program.
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In addition to the Blueprint, the Program includes 13 supplemental bonuses that will assist you in your journey to strong, healthy bones. If you didn’t get the Program yet, you can learn more about it here.

Till next time,

1Chwan-Li S, Ming-Chien C, Jia-Sheng W. “Tea and bone health: steps forward in translational nutrition.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2013. 98(6): 1694-1699. Web: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/98/6/1694S.long

2Myers G., et al. “Tea and flavonoid intake predict osteoporotic fracture risk in elderly Australian women: a prospective study.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2015. 1-8. Web: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2015/08/12/ajcn.115.109892.full.pdf+html

3Habauzit, V, Morand C. “Evidence for a protective effect of polyphenols-containing foods on cardiovascular health: an update for clinicians.” Ther Adv Chronic Disease. 2012. 3(2): 87-106. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23251771

4Hertog MG, et al. “Flavonoid intake and long-term risk of coronary heart disease and cancer in the seven countries study.” Arch Internal Medicine. 1995. 155(4): 381-386. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7848021

5Knekt P., et. al. “Flavonoid intake and risk of chronic diseases.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2002. 76(3). 560-568. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12198000

6Neuhouser ML, “Dietary Flavonoids and Cancer Risk: Evidence From Human Population Studies” Nutrition and Cancer. 2004 50(1). 1-7. Web: http://www.encognitive.com/files/Review:%20Dietary%20Flavonoids%20and%20Cancer%20Risk:Evidence%20From%20Human%20Population%20Studies.pdf

7Dwyer, JT, Peterson, J. “Tea and flavonoids: where we are, where to go next.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2013. 98(6). 1611-1618. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3831543/

8Chun OK, Chung SJ, Song WO. “Estimated Dietary Flavonoid Intake and Major Food Sources of U.S. Adults”. American Society for Nutrition. 2007. 137(5). 1244-1252. Web: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/137/5/1244.full.

9Turner CH, Akhter MP, Heaney RP. “The effects of flouridated water on bone strength.” 1992. 10(4). 581-587. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1613632

10Li Y. et al., “Effect of long-term exposure to fluoride in drinking water on risks of bone fractures.” Journal Bone Miner Res. 2001. 16(5): 932-939. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11341339

11Shen CL, Yeh JK, Cao J, Wang JS “Green Tea and Bone Metabolism. Nurt Res. 2009. 29(7): 437-456. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2754215/

12Lee KW, Lee HJ. “Antioxidant Activity of Black Tea vs. Green Tea.” The American Society for Nutritional Sciences. 2002. 132(4). 785. Web: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/132/4/785.full

13Ludwig D, Willett WC. “Three Daily Servings of Reduced-Fat Milk An Evidenced-Based Recommendation?” JAMA Pediatrics. 2013. 167(9). 788-789. Web: http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/article-abstract/1704826

14Lorenz M., et al. “Addition of milk prevents vascular protective effects of tea.” European Heart Journal. 2007. 28(2). 219-23. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17213230

15Ryan L, Petit S. “Addition of whole, semiskimmed, and skimmed bovine milk reduces the total antioxidant capacity of black tea.” Nutr Res. 2010. 30(1). 14-20. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20116655

16Egert, S., et al. “Simultaneous ingestion of dietary proteins reduces the bioavailability of galloylated catechins from green tea in humans.” European Journal of Nutrition. February 2013. 52(1):281-8. Doi: 10.1007/s00394-012-0330-8. Web. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22366739

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20 comments. Leave Yours Now →
  1. Melanie July 18, 2017, 9:04 pm

    I have found all your information to be most helpful. A doctor wants me to take Prolia since I have osteoporosis. I do not read anything good about it I am taking Arimidex since I had breast cancer last year that was estrogen positive. I would appreciate your thoughts. Many thanks. Melanie. This is my first time to write you.

  2. Melanie July 18, 2017, 9:03 pm

    I have found all your information to be most helpful. A doctor wants me to take Prolia since I have osteoporosis. I do not read anything good about it I am taking Arimidex since I had breast cancer last year that was estrogen positive. I would appreciate your thoughts. Many thanks. Melanie

  3. Glory July 18, 2017, 7:07 pm

    This recent research is really interesting. I’ve had an alkaline diet since the late ’90s – vegetarian, mostly vegan, with a lot of vegetables and fruit, lots of greens, etc. Also I’ve been weight lifting since 1993. Then got the osteoporosis diagnosis in early 2017. My doctor was nearly beside herself that I refused to take the med.

    I don’t drink coffee but drink tea in the morning at home. I’ve been wondering if tea was an acidic culprit. Looks like it’s okay!

    The only other explanation for my bone loss is a high level of cortisol, the stress hormone. I’ve been reading studies about high levels of this stress hormone in the body leading to bone loss. I haven’t been tested for cortisol, however.

    According to this site (http://www.naturalnews.com/033895_cortisol_bone_loss.html), “Osteoblasts are the bone builders while osteoclasts help to break down decaying areas and mold healthier bone tissue.” And then in regard to elevated levels of cortisol, “Research has shown that elevated cortisol inhibits osteoblast formation and cell proliferation. This dramatically decreases bone building and lowers bone density.”

    They also included, “As long as the body remains under elevated stress levels, without adequate rest and repair, bone mineralization and collagenous formation will be reduced. Supplementation with vitamin D3, calcium, magnesium, etc. will not render this due to the catabolic state of high stress.”

    Hmmm. I’ve been enrolled in a vitamin D study for several years. My D levels are near 70.

    At least I can rule out the tea. Drinking hot tea is actually lowers stress for me!

  4. Bob July 18, 2017, 4:20 am

    When I signed on to your program I received the “Density Program – updated”. However, now I see there is a “Densercise Epidensity Training System”. Is this the same as the one I received? If not, do I get an updated version?

    All the best,
    Bob

  5. Mary July 17, 2017, 6:47 pm

    The article say “However, women who drank at least three cups a day of black tea were more than a third less likely to suffer a broken bone than occasional tea drinkers. In fact, for each cup of tea consumed each day, there was a 9% decrease in the risk of a fracture.” You responded to MaryAnn saying one cup a day is fine but it sounds like 3 would be better for us, right?

    Just like Betzee, I too stopped drinking Green Tea after reading an article from the Save Our Bones program. I just need clarification. Thank you for your guidance Vivian!

  6. Elaine July 17, 2017, 11:54 am

    Is drinking decaf tea included with the findings of drinking black tea?

    Thank you,
    Elaine

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA July 17, 2017, 7:12 pm

      Hi Elaine,

      The research did not include decaffeinated tea specifically, so while we can extrapolate that there may be similar benefits, it would not be prudent to assume they are the same. This is especially true given the three main methods of decaffeination that inevitably change some aspects of the tea’s nature: using chemical solvents such as methylene chloride, exposing the tea leaves to pressurized, liquid carbon dioxide, or the “Swiss water” method, which involves flash-steeping the tea in hot water that is quickly poured off along with most of the caffeine; the leaves are then re-dried.

  7. Betzee July 17, 2017, 11:05 am

    Also, I noticed another person was asking about drinking a whole glass of Keifer daily, and I also drink either goat milk keifer or grassfed, whole milk, non -homogenized keifer every day. Are you saying this product will acidify my system? What about the goat milk keifer?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA July 17, 2017, 11:53 am

      You’ll see my answer to Nancy below, Betzee. 🙂 Generally speaking, kefir is alkalizing and good for bones.

  8. Betzee July 17, 2017, 11:01 am

    I’d like to read more about the effect of teas on bone health. Any suggestions?

  9. Betzee July 17, 2017, 11:00 am

    Hi, I remember reading about how black teas have a type of Tannin in them which is bad for bone health. When I received the diagnosis of osteoporosis, I stopped drinking it after a warning about it I read on your site. Now, I am reading the opposite. Confused….any thoughts?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA July 17, 2017, 4:40 pm

      Hi Betzee,

      Black tea does contain tannins, and while these substances were once thought to inhibit calcium absorption, research suggests that this is not the case. Here is a link to a study on this topic:

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8308578

    • Sher July 17, 2017, 1:00 pm

      Betzee,

      Like you, I quit tea a year ago. So I am also confused as to whether continue on the path or return to some tea drinking.

  10. Nancy Robertshaw July 17, 2017, 10:45 am

    I drink whole milk grass fed kefir. Is that bad for me?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA July 17, 2017, 11:50 am

      Because kefir is a fermeneted dairy product, Nancy, and what you’re drinking is made from grass-fed cows, it’s an alkalizing, bone-healthy beverage. 🙂

  11. Maryann July 17, 2017, 9:37 am

    Hi Vivian,
    I’m not much of a tea drinker. I will occasionally drink herbal teas. Are you suggesting that it would be wise to drink green or black tea daily to improve bone density?
    Maryann

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA July 17, 2017, 11:46 am

      Hi Maryann,

      One cup a day of green or black tea is just fine and good for bone health. However, I would not exceed that amount, and I would also not drink a cup a day every day. It’s always good to take a break from any regimen once or twice a week. 🙂

  12. Jennifer Pusey July 17, 2017, 8:48 am

    I have followed your program as well as I can for the last 14 months, although I have been unable to obtain distilled water in the quantities that I would need so I have been drinking bottled water. I have just had a Dexa scan and was disappointed to find that I have reverted back to being oesteopratic. My previous scan 14 months ago had shown a huge improvement and I went from oesteopratic to oesteopenia. My doctor wants me to go back on biphosponates. I am now in a quandary and not sure what to do. Any advice?

    • Save Institute Customer Support July 17, 2017, 9:02 am

      Hi Jennifer,

      Please check your inbox for a message from Customer Support. 🙂

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