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Bone up with black tea

New rodent research suggests an antioxidant in black tea may be key to fighting osteoporosis.

Black tea may be the antidote to brittle bones for seniors, according to new research.

Mice with osteoporosis (weak bones) recovered nearly healthy levels of bone volume after being given an antioxidant found in black tea leaves.

Researchers led by Keizo Nishikawa of Osaka University in Japan found that theaflavin-3 (TF-3), a compound in black tea, essentially stops an enzyme called DNA methyltransferase from destroying bone tissue. The research is published in the online edition of the journal Nature Medicine and was noted on

Forty million people in the U.S. either have osteoporosis or are at a high risk of developing the condition due to low bone mass, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. The condition causes two million bone breaks every year, often in the wrist and hip. Hip fractures often results in long-term functional impairment, nursing home admission and increased mortality. One out of five hip fracture patients dies within a year of their injury, according to the CDC.

The results of the new study “may provide the molecular basis for a new therapeutic strategy for a variety of bone disorders,” according to the Nature Medicine article. The mechanism may be molecular, but the dosage you’d need is massive in terms of teacups. A 130-pound adults would have to drink 60 cups of tea over three days to see a noticeable difference.

Recent research has also suggested black tea may decrease body fat and inflammation in mice fed a high-fat, high-sugar (American) diet.


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