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I was recently looking for information concerning Tea (which I drink alot of) and Iron absorption. My concern is probably the opposite of most people's (especially women); my body loves iron, a bit too much and so I have to be careful about my intake. Most anaemics have the opposite problem, they can't get enough of the stuff.

Anyway, I found an interesting article from the UK Tea Council on exactly this subject. Tea and Iron Absorption (doc file).

Basically, it comes down to this quote:

Tea drinking mainly influences the absorption of non-haem iron as haem iron is relatively unaffected by tea.

Heam iron - haemaglobin and myoglobin of animals - easily absorbed
Non-haem iron - plant foods - not as easily absorbed

So, in effect, tea has a slight effect on the absorption of iron from plant sources but not from animal sources. This may be of a concern to vegetarians, but I suspect that the other health benefits related to tea more than outweigh a slight reduction in iron.

Also, not only do legumes such as beans, peas and lentils have a high concentration of iron, these are typically found in many vegetarian and vegan diets, so an extra helping here or there should balance it all out...

Finally, this choice quote from the tea council's document:

Vitamin C found in fruit, fruit juice and vegetables, enhances iron absorption by reducing the ferric iron to the more readily absorbed ferrous form. In addition, it also protects any iron in the ferrous form from being oxidised back to the ferric form.

So, Vitamin C has the added benefit (or risk, if you're ferophobic like me) of aiding iron absorption. So eat lots of fruit and veggies, drink some tea and you should be on the right track.

 

Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor or anything, just a guy interested in this stuff trying to spread some knowledge. Before making any drastic lifestyle changes, please consult your doctor.


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U2, The Joshua Tree

Posted on Monday, January 8, 2007 11:51 PM Life , Health and Healthcare | Back to top


Comments on this post: Tea Consumption and Iron Absorption

# re: Tea Consumption and Iron Absorption
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This is the info I was looking for - exactly. I have started drinking two cups of Oolong Tea a day, and I was concerned by that fact that I am on the Aneamic side. Thank you very much!!
Left by jenny on Nov 01, 2007 6:50 AM

# re: Tea Consumption and Iron Absorption
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thanks a lot....have acute iron deficiancy....have alergy probs bcoz of dat....love tea.....info helped a lot....:)
Left by indrani saha on May 11, 2008 12:19 AM

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