Should I avoid tea if I have iron-deficiency anemia?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Studies do show that tea interferes with iron absorption, which can aggravate anemia. Some chemicals in tea, called tannates, absorb the iron in your stomach and steal it before your body has a chance to absorb it. Studies have shown that it can reduce absorbed iron by as much as 87%!

You should wait at least an hour after a meal before you drink tea. That allows your body time to absorb as much iron as possible before the chemicals in tea can steal it from you. You can also drink tea at least an hour before your meal.

Studies have shown similar effects from drinking coffee. However, the iron loss isn’t as strong as tea. One study found that coffee can block iron absorption by as much as 39%; however, the mechanism is different than that of tea.

But don’t let coffee or tea scare you! They both have multiple health benefits, so you shouldn’t avoid drinking them. In fact, even if you drink tea or coffee with your meals and you’re not already anemic, chances are you’re getting the iron you need anyway. If you’re constantly fatigued and think you may have iron-deficiency anemia, you should see a doctor and get your iron levels tested.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.