Step aside, milk, there’s a new osteo-hero in town, and its name is coffee. A new study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism from researchers at the University of Hong Kong finds that drinking coffee promotes bone mineral density, a key indicator of strong, healthy bones.
As reported by Insider, for the study titled Serum Metabolome of Coffee Consumption and its Association with Bone Mineral Density: The Hong Kong Osteoporosis Study, researchers assayed the bone mineral density of 564 Chinese adults enrolled in an osteoporosis study, separating the self-identified coffee drinkers from the abstainers. After comparing the two groups, the researchers found coffee drinkers to have a “significantly higher bone mineral density, specifically identifying three molecules—AFMU, 3-hydroxyhippurate, and trigonelline—that were associated with both coffee consumption and strong bones that were less likely to fracture.”
This research runs counter to prior findings on the subject of coffee and bone health, which has been inconclusive at best. Per CBS Philly, one past study found that “caffeine reduced calcium absorption and inhibited bone formation.” But this new study, while relatively small, could help settle the score thanks to the positive identification of the three molecules in coffee associated with better bone density. This, according to one doctor not associated with the study, “could lead to creating new drugs to help protect bone health in the future.”
If you're reading this, you no doubt already drink a fair amount of coffee, so there's really no reason to tell you to consume more. Coffee is already in your bones, which as it turns out, is a good thing!