Do Coffee And Caffeine Hamper Iron Absorption

The required essential nutrient for the body is iron as it builds up the formation of hemoglobin that is a protein that transfers oxygen via the bloodstream and also delivers the same to cells. People with a vegetarian diet eat plant-based foods such as legumes, whole grain cereals and leafy vegetables that have iron but it is not available readily and takes some time to absorb into the body.

Caffeine is a stimulant that is included in tea, coffee, cola, and chocolate. All these contribute to the absorption of some necessary nutrients such as iron which is needed to be there for the proper diet. Coffee has also some other contents such as polyphenol that have some sort of antioxidant properties that are good for health. But if the polyphenol containing foods are consumed with the other iron-containing food, then it has some issue while drinking coffee or tea.

In today’s modern-day diet, the consumption of food loaded with caffeine is attached to our lives. With such caffeinated food and beverages, our life is nothing. The most popular one is Coffee as eighty percent of adults in the United States drinking it on a weekly or daily basis. The natural stimulant caffeine is present in coffee. On the contrary, some people claim that it affects the absorption of essential nutrients such as Iron. As a result of which people advised to avoid coffee as well as food products made up of caffeine.

That is why here we discuss all the things related to the coffee and caffeine and how it affects the absorption of iron.


How Coffee And Caffeine Hamper The Iron Absorption?

It is observed in some studies that coffee, as well as other caffeinated drinks, can minimize the absorption of Iron.

Another study also found out that iron absorption can be reduced by 39 percent if you drink a cup of coffee with a hamburger meal. In addition to this, drinking tea along with another inhibitor of iron absorption which is the same meal can also reduce iron absorption by a percent of 64.

It is not over there as there is more reduction in the absorption of iron from 60 to 90 percent if you drink a cup of coffee regularly with bread in the meal.

The less iron is absorbed if the coffee or the tea is stronger and vice versa. However, caffeine is not only the substance that is solely responsible for the reduction of iron absorption in the body.

It is noticed that caffeine contributes only six percent to the iron from any meal and it is quite a small amount. Iron absorption is also affected by other factors too as it may present in caffeine products or coffee or tea. Further, the storage level of iron is also affected by the regular consumption of a high amount of coffee.

A large study by a health community observed that if an elderly people drink a cup of coffee every week, there is a reduction of one percent in ferritin that is a protein signifies the level of iron storage.

On the contrary, it is vital to keep in mind that the absorption of iron is affected by the consumption of coffee and caffeine depends upon when you drink the coffee. For instance, if you are drinking coffee before one hour of eating something, then there is no even a single side effect on iron absorption.

All in all, it is the result that drinking coffee and other caffeinated products along with a meal is attached with a 39 to 90 percent minimization in iron absorption. Caffeine has a small amount of iron.

What Are Other Substances That Affect Iron Absorption?

In the absorption of iron, caffeine is not the only substance that contributes to or affects. As we mentioned earlier that there are some other factors apart from Caffeine too. Another major inhibitor of iron absorption is the polyphenols that are also found in coffee and tea. It has an acid known as chlorogenic acid which is found in coffee, cocoa, and other herbs too. Furthermore, the absorption of iron is also hindered with tannins which are found in black tea and coffee. These compounds make it more difficult for iron to absorb as they mixed up with the ion during the process of digestion.

The entire effect of iron absorption is dependent on dose as it is referring to a decrease in iron absorption as the proportion of polyphenol increases in the food or beverage products. In a study, it is observed that drinking beverages with twenty to fifty mg of polyphenols each serving declined the iron absorption with bread meal by fifty to seventy percent. Moreover, the beverages with 100-400 mg of polyphenols in each serving minimized absorption of iron by sixty to ninety percent.

The polyphenol present in coffee and tea hinders the absorption of iron with over 90 percent. If you consume more polyphenol, then it increases the level of hindrance in iron absorption.

Thus, apart from the caffeine, some of the caffeinated products such as foods and beverages that interfere with the absorption of iron like tannins and polyphenols are found in these products and especially the chlorogenic acid in coffee.

What Types Of Food Affect Iron Absorption?

The absorption of iron is loaded with complexities and affected by various sorts of dietary factors. It is observed that the varieties of food that you eat daily have a major effect on the iron absorption rather than the coffee or tea and other caffeinated products that you drink.

Some sort of food products increases the absorption of iron but others affect badly the iron absorption and lead to reduce the amount. It also matters what type of iron you eat.

The presence of iron is in two forms that are heme and non-heme iron. First of all, non-heme iron is consumed from the plant-based food which is comparatively unstable as well as affected by most of the dietary factors. A proportion of 2 to 20 percent of non-heme iron is absorbed.

On the other side, the absorption rate of iron absorption is high in the case of heme iron products that are found in tissues of animals such as seafood, meat, and poultry which has 15-35 percent more. Hence, the coffee and caffeinated products have more chances to hinder the iron absorption from plant-based foods but the little effect from the heme iron from animal foods.

In addition to this, the non-heme iron consumption can enhance with the animal protein, vitamin C and copper in meals and minimizes the negative effect of coffee and other caffeinated products.

Overall, the effect of coffee and other caffeinated drinks on the absorption of iron is determined based on food that you eat and the type of iron.

Is It Required To reduce The Intake Of Coffee And Caffeine?

Most of the studies show that the consumption of coffee and caffeine has no connection with the deficiency of iron in a healthy body. So, there is no risk of deficiency of iron. People daily eat food that contains iron and they can easily consume a particular amount of iron. An adequate amount of vitamin C and other animal products such as meat, poultry, and seafood can help to overcome the hindrance that arises from drinking coffee and other caffeine products.

For those who have low iron, it is not a good habit to drink coffee or tea daily. However, people of certain age groups are also at risk if they drink more amount of coffee or tea daily such as the childbearing age of women, infants, and young children. Further, other people with restrictive diet plans such as vegetarians and other people with specific medical conditions such as inflammatory bowel diseases are also under risk area.

But it is not required for these groups of people to entirely avoid coffee and tea but they can adopt some valuable health tips. Here are some of the healthy tips for people who cannot drink more amount of coffee and other caffeine products. Let us have a look.

  1. If you want to drink tea or coffee, then drink between the meals.
  2. Wait for a minimum of one hour after eating a meal to drink coffee and tea.
  3. Increase the intake of heme iron such as meat, poultry, and seafood.
  4. During mealtime, do not forget to take vitamin C intake.
  5. Prefer iron-fortified foods.
  6. Apart from iron-rich, prefer foods that are rich in calcium as well as high-fiber foods such as whole grains.

In this way, people can eliminate the effect of coffee as well as tea on the absorption of iron.

Steps To Take

If the level of iron is low, then eating iron-rich foods with the intake of vitamin C is necessary like oranges, preference is given to the animal-based foods and at the same token, plant-based iron foods. On the other hand, you need to avoid food that is rich in fiber and calcium as foods that have a high level of iron maintains the iron absorption in the body.

Some other legumes, as well as grains with phytates and some polyphenols, can also reduce the level of iron absorption in the body. But it does not mean that you have to entirely avoid these nutritious foods but eat them with sources of iron at a different time.

Wrapping Up

It has been shown that coffee and other caffeine products are meant to reduce iron absorption. But it is not just because of the caffeine itself, other polyphenol contents also play a vital role in the reduction of iron absorption. In healthy people, Deficiency of iron is not related to the consumption of caffeinated foods as well as drinks as it gets also affected by the dietary factors too.

Other people who are at risk of iron deficiency can avoid drinking coffee and tea however if they want to drink, then preferable time is between the meals and waits for at least one hour after eating a meal. Hence, deal with iron absorption and iron deficiency is in your hands and eat accordingly.

Joshua K. Lopez

I do take care of my health so I do love writing many articles over health and care. Developed several new methods for merchandising tar in West Palm Beach, FL. Crossed the country analyzing human brains in Los Angeles, CA. Managed a small team creating marketing channels for carnival rides in Atlantic City, NJ. Developed several new methods for testing the market for mosquito repellent for fun and profit. Enthusiastic about supervising the production of cabbage with no outside help. Had some great experience consulting about weed whackers in Ocean City, NJ.

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