Does Caffeine Deplete Vitamin D in the Body?

Too much caffeine may be bad for bone health because it can deplete calcium. Overdoing the caffeine also may affect the vitamin D in your body, which plays a critical role in your body's bone metabolism. However, the roles of vitamin D as well as caffeine in the development of osteoporosis continue to be a source of debate.

A couple enjoying their morning coffee. (Image: 4774344sean/iStock/Getty Images)

Significance

Caffeine may interfere with your body's metabolism of vitamin D, according to a 2007 "Journal of Steroid Biochemistry & Molecular Biology" study. You have vitamin D receptors, or VDRs, in your osteoblast cells. These large cells are responsible for the mineralization and synthesis of bone in your body. They create a sheet on the surface of your bones. The D receptors are nuclear hormone receptors that control the action of vitamin D-3 by controlling hormone-sensitive gene expression. These receptors are critical to good bone health. For example, a vitamin D metabolism disorder in which these receptors don't work properly causes rickets.

Dose

The interference with vitamin D metabolism appears to be dose-dependent, meaning more caffeine has stronger effects, notes Prema B. Rapuri, lead author for the "Journal of Steroid Biochemistry & Molecular Biology" study. This effect may be one of the molecular mechanisms that helps explain caffeine's role in a raised risk for osteoporosis, according to Rapuri. However, this study was done in a laboratory, so more research is needed to determine the actual effects in your body. Consuming more than 300 mg of caffeine daily appears to accelerate bone loss among elderly women, raising risk for osteoporosis, according to a November 2001 study in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition." This conclusion is based on data culled from a longitudinal study and a cross-sectional study examining caffeine intake and bone mineral density in elderly women.

Risk Factor

The risk for a negative effect of caffeine on your bone density appears to be raised when you have the TaqI, or tt, genetic variant of VDR, according to Rapuri, also the lead author for "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" study. This is a genetic factor that's involved in regulating cell growth in your body. Other variants of VDR include the polyA, or short short, variant; the BsmI, or BB, variant; and the Fokl variant. Such variants are implicated in risk for a variety of health issues, from bone health to risk for colon cancer.

Considerations

Just how much effect caffeine has on skeletal metabolism is still a source of debate, according to "Principles and Practice of Endocrinology and Metabolism," by Kenneth L. Becker. Demonstrating a strong link between caffeine intake and bone problems like raised fracture risk is difficult due to difficulty in determining true caffeine intake levels and also due to other risk factors that exist, such as phosphorus intake from cola drinks and alcohol intake, Becker notes. Lifestyle factors, like smoking and amount of exercise, also come into play.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Load comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.