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Bone health, and bone mineral density in particular, can be affected by a number of factors including gender, diet, physical activity and exposure to sunlight11,12.

A series of meta-analyses have not suggested any significant association between caffeine intake and bone mineral density, although there is some variability in the results of studies5-7. For instance, potentially negative effects on bone mineral density were recorded in populations with insufficient calcium intake4. Some research has also suggested that there may be an association between coffee consumption and the risk of hip fracture, particularly in older women5,6,8.

One study has considered whether caffeine might affect bone mineral density and suggested that it might hinder the absorption of nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D, which are essential for bone health. Nevertheless, the same study concluded that whilst caffeine consumption was associated with a small reduction in bone density, this did not translate into increased risk of fractures9. Clearly, there is a need for more research to draw further conclusions.

The European Food Safety Authority’s review of caffeine safety concluded that an intake of up to 400mg caffeine per day from all sources is safe for most adults, except pregnant women for whom a limit of 200mg per day is advised13. A cup of coffee contains approximately 75mg caffeine.

Overall there is insufficient research to reach a clear conclusion about the role of caffeine in bone health and further research is required.

The content in this Overview was last edited in May 2017. Papers in the Latest Research section and further resources are added regularly.

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