The mechanism of the inhibition of iron absorption by tea

P. B. Disler, S. R. Lynch, J. D. Torrance, M. H. Sayers, T. H. Bothwell, R. W. Charlton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

77 Scopus citations


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 nonabsorbable 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationS.AFR.J.MED.SCI.
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 1975

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'The mechanism of the inhibition of iron absorption by tea'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this