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Tea flavonoids for bone health: from animals to humans


Osteoporosis is a skeletal disease characterized by a deterioration of bone mass and bone quality that predisposes an individual to a higher risk of fragility fractures. Emerging evidence has shown that the risk for low bone mass and osteoporosis-related fractures can be reduced by nutritional approaches aiming to improve bone microstructure, bone mineral density, and strength. Tea and its flavonoids, especially those of black tea and green tea, have been suggested to protect against bone loss and to reduce risk of fracture, due to tea's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Based on the results of animal studies, moderate intake of tea has shown to benefit bone health as shown by mitigation of bone loss and microstructural deterioration as well as improvement of bone strength and quality. Epidemiological studies have reported positive, insignificant, and negative impacts on bone mineral density at multiple skeletal sites and risk of fracture in humans with habitual tea consumption. There are limited human clinical trials that objectively and quantitatively assessed tea consumption and bone efficacy using validated outcome measures in a population at high risk for osteoporosis, along with safety monitoring approach. This review summarizes the current state of knowledge of laboratory animal research, epidemiological observational studies, and clinical trials assessing the skeletal effects of tea and its active flavonoids, along with discussion of relevant future directions in translational research.

  • Osteoporosis
  • Bone and Bones

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