Does Caffeine Affect Your Osteoporosis Risk?

Caffeine consumption appears to increase your risk of losing bone density, which can lead to osteoporosis (brittle bone disease) and broken bones.

This article looks at the research behind caffeine and osteoporosis, how much caffeine is too much, what it means for your osteoporosis risk, and how to mitigate it.

Two takeout coffee cups sitting on a table.

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Worldwide, about 80% of adults drink at least one caffeinated beverage daily. That includes coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, and hot chocolate.

Meanwhile, about 55 million Americans are believed to have osteoporosis or low bone density.

Caffeine and Calcium Absorption

The problem with caffeine is that it interferes with how your body uses calcium, which is essential to bone health. For calcium to do its job of maintaining your bone health, your body first has to absorb it.

Multiple studies suggest that high levels of caffeine consumption prevent calcium absorption, so the important mineral flushes out of your system and down the toilet when you urinate. 

How Much Is Too Much?

So far, research suggests that only high levels of caffeine consumption are a problem. But what’s considered high?

Most studies say less than 400 milligrams (mg) daily poses no significant risk of health problems, including osteoporosis.

For perspective, 400 mg of coffee equals roughly:

  • Three or four eight-ounce (oz) cups of coffee
  • Nine or 10 cans of most caffeine-containing sodas
  • Five Red Bull energy drinks

A 2022 study concluded that 800 mg of caffeine over nine hours did, in fact, increase the amount of calcium in participants’ urine. The calcium level rose substantially—by 77%.

Again, that amount of caffeine would equal about eight cups of coffee, up to 20 sodas, or 10 Red Bulls during the average workday.

But researchers say urine calcium levels may only present part of the picture. The total effect of caffeine consumption on your body’s use of calcium is still to be determined.

And it’s important to note that studies haven’t looked at the results of low or moderate caffeine consumption over many years.

Caffeine Content of Popular Drinks
Caffeine-Containing Drinks Serving Size (oz) Caffeine (mg)
Coffee (brewed)  8 80–135
 Espresso 2 (2 shots) 100
 Tea (black) 8 30–60
 Tea (green) 8 15
 Hot cocoa 8 14
Energy drinks 8 80–150
Energy shots  1.9-2.5 200–300
Cola/Diet cola  12 34–55.5
Jolt Cola 12 71.2
Mountain Dew  12 55
Dr. Pepper 12 41
Sunkist orange soda 12 40–41
Bottled iced tea 12 9–31.5
Sources: University of Utah, Center for Science in the Public Interest

When comparing caffeine amounts on labels, be sure to check the serving sizes, as well.

What This Means for Your Osteoporosis Risk

If you regularly consume moderate to high amounts of caffeine, you may want to take steps to lower your osteoporosis risk.

You can do this by consuming less caffeine and/or incorporating other healthy lifestyle choices, such as exercising and quitting smoking.

Additional Risk Factors for Osteoporosis

Many factors influence your risk of developing osteoporosis. Some you can change, and others you can’t. 

If you have multiple unchangeable risk factors, you may want to work harder at the ones you can control. Unmodifiable risk factors include:

  • Being older than 50
  • Being assigned female at birth
  • Being post-menopausal
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Weighing under 125 pounds
  • Previous falls 
  • Previous broken bones
  • Losing height due to aging
  • Having White or Asian ancestry
  • Previous bariatric surgery
  • Genetic factors

Assigned Sex and Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is four times more likely in people assigned female at birth than those assigned male.

Certain conditions can also increase your risk. It’s possible that getting proper treatment for other conditions may lower your osteoporosis risk. These conditions include:

Some medications also increase your risk of losing bone density. They include:

If your osteoporosis risk is high, ask your healthcare provider whether an alternative medication would be better for you.

Modifiable risk factors include:

How to Counteract the Effects of Caffeine

The simplest way to eliminate the osteoporosis risk posed by caffeine is to:

  • Eliminate caffeine
  • Lower caffeine consumption
  • Add milk or real cream (not artificial creamers ) to your coffee

Withdrawal Symptoms

If you eliminate or reduce caffeine intake, you may have withdrawal symptoms for several days. They include:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Bad mood/irritability
  • Concentration problems
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stiff, sore muscles

Other ways you can improve your bone health include:

If you're at risk for osteoporosis, talk to your healthcare provider about a bone density test. After an osteoporosis diagnosis, make sure you take the prescribed medication.

Be sure to include your healthcare provider in decisions about nutritional supplements, dietary changes, and increased physical activity. They can help you make the right decisions.


High levels of caffeine intake may increase your risk of osteoporosis. About 400 mg a day or less probably won’t cause bone loss (or other health problems), while 800 mg or more is considered the threshold for osteoporosis risk.

To mitigate this risk, you can consume less caffeine, increase calcium intake, exercise more, stop smoking, and drink less alcohol.

Talk to your healthcare provider about your caffeine intake, osteoporosis risk factors, and what changes are best for your health.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you drink coffee with osteoporosis?

    Yes, you can drink coffee with osteoporosis. Research generally says 400 mg of caffeine or less per day is a perfectly fine amount.

    Everyone is different, so you should talk to your healthcare provider about the amount that's safest for you.

  • How much caffeine is too much for people with osteoporosis?

    Research suggests that 800 mg of caffeine a day may increase bone loss, which could worsen your osteoporosis.

    Some studies suggest that 400 mg per day isn’t associated with osteoporosis or other health problems.

  • What are the best ways to increase bone density?

    You can increase your bone density by:

    • Getting enough calcium and vitamin D through food or supplements
    • Maintaining or reaching your ideal weight
    • Not smoking
    • Avoiding alcohol
    • Practicing strength training and weight-bearing exercises such as walking, dancing, or step aerobics
9 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Osteoporosis Foundation. Osteoporosis fast facts.

  2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Spilling the beans: how much caffeine is too much?

  3. University of Utah. Caffeine content of popular drinks.

  4. University of South Australia. Caffeine cuts close to the bone when it comes to osteoporosis.

  5. University of California San Diego Health. Osteoporosis risk factors.

  6. Pouresmaeili F, Kamalidehghan B, Kamarehei M, et al. A comprehensive overview on osteoporosis and its risk factors. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2018;14:2029-2049. doi:10.2147/TCRM.S138000

  7. Bone Health & Osteoporosis Foundation. Are you at risk?

  8. Alswat KA. Gender disparities in osteoporosisJ Clin Med Res. 2017;9(5):382-387. doi:10.14740/jocmr2970w

  9. Harvard Health Publishing. 5 ways to boost bone strength early.

Additional Reading

By Adrienne Dellwo
Adrienne Dellwo is an experienced journalist who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and has written extensively on the topic.