South Australia’s leading educational entity University of South Australia (UniSA) researchers have revealed that excess use of caffeine may be connected to an increased risk of osteoporosis.
This is the first study to examine how high-dose, short-term caffeine affects calcium, salt, and creatinine clearance in healthy persons.
Osteoporosis is a chronic, painful, and debilitating disease which makes your bones less dense and more susceptible to fracture. More common in women, it occurs when bones lose calcium and other minerals faster than the body can replace them.
The researchers looked into the effects of coffee on the kidneys’ ability to regulate calcium in the body and founded that high levels of caffeine (800 mg) consumed over six hours nearly doubled the quantity of calcium lost in the urine.
“Caffeine is one of the most widely used recreational drugs in the world, with 80 percent of adults consuming at least one caffeinated beverage per day. It’s a common stimulant, consumed by professionals, parents, shift workers, and teenagers alike to start their day and stay alert – even the military uses caffeine to help combat sleepiness. But while coffee has its perks, it’s also important to acknowledge its fallbacks – one of them being how our kidneys handle calcium. Our research found that people who consume 800 mg of caffeine over a typical working day will have a 77 percent increase in calcium in their urine, creating a potential deficiency that could impact their bones.”
For a six-hour treatment period, subjects chewed caffeine or placebo gum for five minutes at two-hour intervals (total caffeine 800 mg). While the primary goal of the research was to examine the effect of caffeine consumption on wakefulness and other factors, this sub-study aimed to evaluate the impact of caffeine consumption on the renal clearance of calcium.
Co-researcher, UniSA’s Dr. Stephanie Reuter Lange noted that understanding the long-term impacts of high caffeine consumption is especially important for higher-risk groups.
“Increasingly, we are also seeing high levels of caffeine among shift workers who need to stay alert over the nighttime hours, as well as those in the military who use caffeine to combat sleep deprivation in operational settings. Caffeine in moderation certainly has its pros. But understanding how excess consumption could increase the risks of highly preventable diseases such as osteoporosis, is important,” added Dr. Reuter Lange.