There are so many issues we face as we go through menopause. We all know about the hot flashes, night sweats and memory issues, but another huge problem is the loss of bone density resulting in osteoporosis. A growing body of research suggests that consuming polyphenols, like those found in green tea, may help postmenopausal women preserve bone density and slow the onset of osteoporosis.
In a new study spearheaded by scientists at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, mature women who were given daily doses of green tea polyphenols (GTPs) displayed improved bone health markers after six months on the regimen. The authors said that the study confirms the findings of another recent report published in the journal Osteoporosis International (OI), which detected reduced bone deterioration among laboratory rodents fed GTPs. Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds found in chocolate, red wine, green tea and other foods and beverages.
Numerous studies have suggested that these substances have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect when ingested. In the investigation at Texas Tech, more than 170 postmenopausal women were given 500 milligrams of GTPs each day, an amount equivalent to between four and five cups of green tea. Some participants also engaged regularly in tai chi exercises. After half a year of these interventions, researchers found that both treatments improved bone density and muscle strength.
The team concluded that there was "[a] favorable effect of modest green tea consumption on bone remodeling in this pre-osteoporotic population." In the OI report, GTPs increased the volume and density of laboratory rodents' femurs and hip joints, which are common sites for osteoporosis-related bone fractures in humans. Of the estimated 2 million broken bones caused in the U.S. each year by osteoporosis, nearly 300,000 are fractures of the hip, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF). Researchers, many of whom were involved with both studies, concluded that drinking green tea may be an effective way for postmenopausal women with osteoporosis to slow bone loss and even improve bone mineral density. Of the 10 million Americans suffering from osteoporosis, four in five are women.