Jan 1, 1975

The mechanism of the inhibition of iron absorption by tea

The South African Journal of Medical Sciences
P B DislerR W Charlton


Previous human studies have shown that drinking tea during meals significantly inhibits the absorption of both food iron and medicinal iron. This study provides evidence from experiments with rats that the tannins in the tea are responsible for the inhibition, probably by forming non-absorbable complexes with the iron within the intestinal lumen. The molar ratio of tannin: iron is dependent on the pH, being 1:1 at pH 2,0 2:1 at pH 5,5 and 3:1 at pH 8,0. Since tannins are present in many vegetable foods the formation of such complexes may be a factor in the poor availability for absorption of much food iron.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Depression, Chemical
Complex (molecular entity)
Iron Absorption Measurement
Molar Tooth
Metabolic Inhibition
Intestinal Absorption
Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
Tannic Acid

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