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Does Caffeine Block Iron Absorption?

By
Monica Reinagel, M.S.,L.D./N
October 13, 2010

Q. I just read your episode on coffee and was surprised that it didn't mention anything about caffeine interfering with iron absorption. Is this another caffeine myth I've been believing?


A. It is true that drinking coffee or tea with or after meals can inhibit the uptake of iron, but it’s not the caffeine.  Rather it's tannins that are found in both coffee and tea that bind to iron in foods. I don't think it's too big of a deal unless you drink tea or coffee with or after every single meal--or you have trouble with iron deficiency. By the way, drinking tea or coffee before a meal doesn't seem to have the same effect.

Coffee image courtesy of Shutterstock

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