Tea lowers iron status in women with low levels
A reader pointed out a paper that will be published in the May issue of Food Research International on tea and iron absorption.
The study tested black tea and green tea (1 liter per day with meals), independently for four weeks each, on both vegetarian and omnivore women. It found:
- Black tea lowered serum ferritin levels in omnivore women, but not vegetarian women.
- Both teas lowered serum ferritin levels in both omnivore and vegetarian women who began the study with serum ferritin levels below 20 µg/l.
- Male vegetarian and omnivore ferritin levels were not affected, but none started with serum ferritin levels below 20 µg/l.
This study supports my suggestion from earlier this month:
“If your iron status is always fine when tested, then I don’t see a need to change your tea drinking habits; but if you have a tendency towards iron deficiency, it’s probably a good idea to avoid drinking tea with meals.”
Schlesier K, Kühn B, Kiehntopf M, Winnefeld K, Roskos M, Bitsch R, Böhm V. Comparative evaluation of green and black tea consumption on the iron status of omnivorous and vegetarian people. Food Research International. 2012 May;46(2):522-27. | link