Green Tea & Iron Absorption -- Is it safe to drink? - VeggieBoards

Forum Jump: 
Thread Tools
#1 Old 05-09-2010, 06:16 AM
Luxxi's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 696
I've been reading that green tea limits non-heme iron absorption (in plant based diets, not animal-derived iron) and this really concerns me, since I have low iron anyway.

Its been said that a little lemon can mostly counter this effect.. but I'm still not sure that its safe to drink in larger amounts. (I drink 2-4 cups per day)

Does anyone have insight into this?

Click here to visit my webpage!
Luxxi is offline  
Sponsored Links
#2 Old 05-09-2010, 06:00 PM
SkyDog's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 323
I drink two cups a day, and I've read that too. It's the tannic acid, or tannins in the tea. It's also found in coffee though. Between tannins and caffeine, it does reduce iron absorption. But I'm not entirely sure if it would make that huge of impact to a person; but our sources of iron being non-heme, it's probably worth looking into.

Personally, I think there are so many amazing benefits to drinking green tea that it would be worth the risk, if it being that big of one. I just make sure I get plenty of legumes and such, as greens like spinach is not a good source because of the oxalates it contains. And plenty of vitamin C to increase absorption!
SkyDog is offline  
#3 Old 05-09-2010, 06:06 PM
TomatoSauceHobo's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 84
I've read that putting milk (of any type) or lemon juice can help neutralize the action of the tannins, although I have to say I don't know whether it neutralizes the iron-absorption-blocking ability of the tannins. I think specifically it might just limit the attack of the tannins on the mucous membrane in your mouth that results in that dried out feeling you get from oversteeped black tea or a red wine, for example. Like you, I'm typically lower in iron so I've moved my daily litre or so of tea away from meals by about an hour, just in case.
TomatoSauceHobo is offline  
#4 Old 05-09-2010, 06:23 PM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,529
Luxxi, add some lemon juice into your green tea. I always have some lemons or oranges on hand to squeeze a bit of vitamin C into my green tea.

I'll quote one of my nutrition manuals (written by R.D.s).

Vitamin C (ascorbic Acid)

This water-soluble vitamin supports collagen synthesis and wound healing, strengthens blood vessels and helps the body absorb iron in plant foods. It's antioxidant powers may help prevent heart disease, stroke, cataracts and macular degeneration. It may also guard against osteoporosis. By supporting the body's immune system, vitamin C may lessen the severity and duration of the common cold.

** On a side note, if you don't have the money to have that much vitamin C rich foods laying around just to spray in tea, you can maybe buy one of those squeeze bottles of lemon juice (used for cooking?) for really cheap. They last a while if you squirt a 1/2 a tsp in each cup of green tea.
KrisMTL is offline  
#5 Old 05-09-2010, 06:25 PM
Veggie Regular
Digger's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 3,897

"Flavonoids in tea can bind nonheme iron, inhibiting its intestinal absorption. Nonheme iron is the principal form of iron in plant foods, dairy products, and iron supplements. The consumption of one cup of tea with a meal has been found to decrease the absorption of nonheme iron in that meal by about 70%. To maximize iron absorption from a meal or iron supplements, tea should not be consumed at the same time."

Digger is offline  
#6 Old 05-11-2010, 09:20 AM
Veggie Regular
Lothar M Kirsch's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Cologne
Posts: 2,144
If you aren´t iron deficient, you can still have your tea. Yes - green tea also absorbs non-heme iron, but to a lesser extent than black tea. Drink your tea well off meal times. Eat lots of vitamin C with your meals to enhance absorption.

If I'm not answering quickly enough - leave a note on Twitter for @Rheumatologe
Lothar M Kirsch is offline  
#7 Old 05-11-2010, 01:14 PM
MJVeggie's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 432
I drink green tea all the time but I also try and get a lot of vitamin C AND I wont drink green tea before/during eating something with high amounts of iron in it (e.g. I drink green tea in the morning and then after a few hours I will have some trail mix)
MJVeggie is offline  
#8 Old 05-11-2010, 06:20 PM
SkyDog's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 323
I wonder when the optimal time to drink it would be then...because I always have a cup after breakfast, and a cup after supper. Never before or during, after I've eaten my meal. It seems to really help with digestion.
SkyDog is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the VeggieBoards forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off