Other Substances Affect Iron Absorption

Other Substances Affect Iron Absorption

Caffeine is not the only substance known to interfere with iron absorption.

The polyphenols found in coffee and tea are thought to be major inhibitors of iron absorption.

These include chlorogenic acid, which is found mainly in coffee, cocoa and some herbs. Also, tannins found in black tea and coffee inhibit iron absorption (4Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source).

These compounds bind with iron during digestion, making it more difficult to absorb (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source).

Their effect on iron absorption is dose-dependent, meaning that iron absorption decreases as the polyphenol content of the food or beverage increases (9Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).

In one study, drinking beverages containing 20–50 mg of polyphenols per serving reduced iron absorption from a bread meal by 50–70%. Meanwhile, beverages containing 100–400 mg of polyphenols per serving reduced iron absorption by 60–90% (4Trusted Source).

Another study found that consuming 5 mg of tannins inhibited iron absorption by 20%, while 25 mg of tannins reduced it by 67% and 100 mg by 88% (9Trusted Source).

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