Many matcha drinkers around the world know that this century's old Japanese green tea is steeped with numerous health benefits – but did you know matcha may do wonders for your bone health?
One lesser-known benefit, supported by more and more scientific studies, is that regular consumption of matcha green tea may help build stronger bones.
Our bodies naturally change as we age, including the breakdown and rebuilding of bone tissue. However, the rebuilding process becomes more challenging with age, particularly for women after menopause and individuals with autoimmune disorders, who are at higher risk of developing conditions like osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Those who take steroids for specific disorders or diseases also face an increased risk of bone loss.
So, how exactly does consuming matcha green tea promote stronger bones and better bone health? Keep reading to discover how drinking 2-3 cups of matcha a day may help address osteoporosis and lower the incidence of bone fractures.
Drinking 2-3 cups of matcha green tea daily may lower your risk of bone fractures over 50
To reduce your risk of bone fractures, you may want to consider drinking at least three cups of Japanese green tea per day, as suggested by research.
Results from the Mediterranean Osteoporosis Study showed that drinking up to 3 cups of green tea per day was associated with a 30% reduction in the risk of hip fractures in both women and men over the age of 50.
Drinking just one cup reduced the risk by approximately 9% in the study -- but by consuming three cups daily, you can potentially decrease the risk of bone fractures by nearly one-third.
What makes green tea so effective at decreasing bone fracture risk?
The increased intake of bioactive ingredients, such as EGCG, found in green tea, plays a significant role in building stronger bones and reducing the risk of fractures.
Thus, incorporating multiple cups of matcha green tea into your daily routine may be extremely beneficial for those at risk of or currently experiencing bone loss issues.
Let's delve more into the why –
Why matcha green tea is the best tea for bone health – backed by scientific studies and research
Matcha is non-oxidized and non-fermented –
According to a study by Shen, Yeah, Cao, and Wang, matcha green tea is considered the most beneficial for bone health compared to other teas due to its non-oxidized and non-fermented nature.
Matcha has a high number of polyphenols – which may help slow down bone loss with age.
Since it's non-oxidized and non-fermented, green tea contains a much higher number of polyphenols than other teas. In fact, polyphenols make up about 40% of the solids extracted from green tea leaves.
The polyphenols in green tea, known as green tea polyphenols (GTPs), have been studied to mitigate the bone loss caused by chronic inflammation, regardless of age, biological factors, or estrogen deficiency in women.
Matcha green tea is full of catechins
Catechins, also called flavanols, and tannins are actually forms of polyphenols.
The leaves of the tea plant produce more catechins than any other plant. EGCG is the most abundant catechin in green tea and other teas.
Catechins are also the particular type of polyphenol that have been shown to modulate bone resorption in osteoclasts.
Matcha is packed with EGCGs, which may help reduce bone metabolic disorders.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is a particularly strong antioxidant and type of catechin.
To put it in perspective just how strong EGCG is, researchers have estimated it is 100x more powerful than the antioxidants of vitamin C or vitamin E.
EGCG stimulates the activation of an essential enzyme for bone growth and strength
EGCG has been studied to help speed up bone healing, increase bone density, and boost bone calcium content. In fact, EGCG even plays a crucial role in activating an important enzyme needed for bone growth and strength. This means EGCG can help enhance bone mineralization, helping strengthening bones.
The interesting relationship of green tea and Osteoporosis in Postmenopausal Women
Bone density loss poses a significant risk to women, particularly women after menopause. In fact, the likelihood of women experiencing osteoporosis is significantly higher than men, with approximately one-third of women developing osteoarthritis or osteoporosis.
Interestingly enough according to recent findings in a cross-sectional study, the consumption of green tea may help protect against osteopenia and osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.
Interested in other reasons women should consider switching from their daily cup of coffee to matcha besides better bone health? You can read up on our full round-up of female-specific health benefits of matcha green tea here!
Drinking matcha green tea can help build stronger bones – let's touch on bone homeostasis real quick
Your bones are constantly breaking down and building back up in order to maintain your bone homeostasis that allows your bones to provide the 5 bodily functions needed from your skeletal structure.
Bone homeostasis aka good bone health is dependent on the resorption of bone by osteoclasts and formation of bone by osteoblasts. An imbalance of this tightly coupled process of bone growth and breakdown can cause diseases such as osteoporosis.
The imbalance between osteoblasts and osteoclasts— aka the rate of which you break down and rebuild your bones — becomes more pronounced between the ages of 30 and 35. This imbalance results in a more significant number of osteoclasts compared to osteoblasts, which contributes to osteoporosis development. Osteoblasts are responsible for bone formation, while osteoclasts are involved in reabsorption.
So how does this connect back to the daily habit of drinking matcha tea? Studies have shown that drinking green tea regularly can help regulate and create a better balance between your bone homeostasis.
The bottom line | Drinking matcha daily may make your bones stronger & lower risk of bone fractures
Whether you are a man or woman, drinking more matcha daily may be beneficial for your bone health,
According to studies, the combination of bioactive ingredients found in matcha green tea can alleviate the discomforting symptoms associated with osteoporosis and osteoarthritis and help build stronger bones.
Although further human-subject studies are necessary to ascertain green tea's specific ability to help support the body from bone loss-related fractures, it is evident that consuming sufficient and regular amounts of Japanese green tea can be effective—the bioactive components found in green tea and matcha powder work synergistically to provide these potential benefits.
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Ko, C. H., Lau, K. M., Choy, W. Y., & Leung, P. C. (2009). Effects of tea catechins, epigallocatechin, gallocatechin, and gallocatechin gallate, on bone metabolism. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 57(16), 7293–7297. https://doi.org/10.1021/jf901545u
Lee, D. B., Song, H. J., Paek, Y. J., Park, K. H., Seo, Y. G., & Noh, H. M. (2021). Relationship between Regular Green Tea Intake and Osteoporosis in Korean Postmenopausal Women: A Nationwide Study. Nutrients, 14(1), 87. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14010087
Shen, C. L., Yeh, J. K., Cao, J. J., & Wang, J. S. (2009). Green tea and bone metabolism. Nutrition research (New York, N.Y.), 29(7), 437–456. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nutres.2009.06.008