Background: By increasing the urinary excretion of calcium, caffeine consumption may reduce bone mineral density (BMD) and subsequently increase the risk for osteoporotic fracture. Although negative associations between caffeine consumption and BMD have been reported for postmenopausal women, in particular for those who consume low amounts of dietary calcium, the relation between caffeine and BMD in younger women is unclear. Therefore, we evaluated the association between caffeine consumption and BMD in a cross-sectional study of 177 healthy white women, age 19-26 years, who attended a Midwestern university.
Methods: Average caffeine intake (milligrams per day) was calculated from self-reports of the consumption of coffee, decaffeinated coffee, tea, colas, chocolate products, and select medications during the previous 12 months (mean caffeine intake = 99. 9 mg/day). BMD (grams per square centimeter) at the femoral neck and the lumbar spine was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.
Results: After adjusting in linear regression models for potential confounders, including height, body mass index, age at menarche, calcium intake, protein consumption, alcohol consumption, and tobacco use, caffeine consumption was not a significant predictor of BMD. For every 100 mg of caffeine consumed, femoral neck BMD decreased 0.0069 g/cm(2) (95% confidence in terval [CI] = -0.0215, 0. 0076) and lumbar spine BMD decreased 0.0119 g/cm(2) (95% CI = -0. 0271, 0.0033). No single source of caffeine was significantly associated with a decrease in BMD. Furthermore, the association between caffeine consumption and BMD at either site did not differ significantly between those who consumed low levels of calcium (< or =836 mg/day) and those who consumed high levels of calcium (>836 mg/day).
Conclusions: Caffeine intake in the range consumed by young adult women is not an important risk factor for low BMD.
Copyright 2000 American Health Foundation and Academic Press.