Does Coffee Increase Iron Absorption? (Find Out)

Your body needs enough iron (7-8mg) daily to function properly. Taking a cup of coffee every day is almost part of everyone’s routine. But have you ever thought if coffee is good or bad for iron absorption?

Iron takes the responsibility of forming hemoglobin in your body. Hemoglobin provides sufficient energy to your body by transporting oxygen to different cells. It means that iron plays a very vital role in energizing you. 

So, does coffee increase iron absorption? You will be surprised to know that coffee does the opposite. 

Coffee does not increase iron absorption in the human body. However, research has shown the reduction of Iron absorption due to intake of coffee. In general, coffee is not harmful for iron absorption if taken in moderation. 

Coffee is not a good choice if you want to increase iron absorption in your body. Coffee contains polyphenol, which reduces iron intake from nonheme sources.

However, everyone should know what it is made of. Coffee is a mixture of many contents that can affect the functioning of your body in a certain way. How iron absorption affects the human body differs from person to person. 

With that said,  healthy people can consume coffee without being worried about iron absorption. However, frail patients and elderly people should avoid drinking too much coffee.

Minor disturbance in the absorption of iron makes a person weak and dizzy. So, you need to avoid anything that can cause harm to iron absorption.

A considerable amount of coffee does not affect iron absorption. However, you still need to take care of a few things while consuming coffee. For instance, check yourself for any signs or symptoms that you may be experiencing an iron deficiency.

If you are, it’s best to just avoid coffee entirely or take minimal amounts of it as too much coffee can reduce iron absorption in the body. Especially if taken right after a meal.

Let’s dig a little deeper and find out about the link between coffee and iron absorption.

Is Coffee Bad For Iron Absorption? 

Coffee is not too bad for iron absorption. Caffeine present in coffee does not harm a physically fit person in this regard. However, it may prove to be a little bad for anemic patients and people with iron deficiency. 

Along with coffee, many dietary factors influence iron absorption. Caffeinated products can hinder the absorption of nonheme iron in plant-based foods. However, they have little to no effect on heme iron that can be found in animal tissues.

A study shows that caffeine can reduce iron absorption in some cases. According to this research, taking one cup of coffee with a hamburger can reduce iron absorption in your body. This reduction can be up to 39%.

Did this research scare you? It is not something to worry about.

Another study showed that the reduction of iron absorption by caffeine is only in a small amount. It can only bind with iron to 6%. It means that coffee is not responsible for a 39% reduction in Iron absorption. There are more factors along with coffee that affect it.

ContentsReduction in Iron Absorption
A cup of coffee with a hamburger39% reduction
Instant coffee with a meal of semipurified ingredients1.64% reduction
Instant coffee, double the strength, with a meal of semipurified ingredients0.53% reduction

If you are still scared to take coffee, then you can follow this tip.

A study showed that iron absorption remains unaffected if you consume a cup of coffee 60 minutes before a meal. That said, drinking coffee at the right time in the right amount does not affect iron absorption.

In short, coffee is bad for people who face iron deficiency. However, it does not prove to be very harmful to healthy people.

Can I Drink Coffee After An Iron Infusion?

A cup of coffee next to two metal spoons

You should avoid taking coffee right after the iron infusion. Experts suggest avoiding coffee for two hours after you consume something high in iron. That said, you can drink coffee only after 2 hours of consuming iron. 

Following this strategy will help you stay healthy and maintain iron absorption. However, if you consume coffee right after iron infusion, then it will affect you.

Experts have observed the reduction of iron in people who take coffee right after iron infusion. Hence, it is better to avoid coffee for two hours after iron infusion.

You can boost the iron absorption from meals by consuming foods high in beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, or beta-carotene. 

Coffee won’t increase iron absorption, but some food does!

Food that increases iron absorption:

  • Fish salmon or tuna
  • Meat 
  • Poultry food 
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Veal
  • Clams, oysters, and mussels

Can Coffee Make Anemia Worse?

Coffee may affect anemic patients. As in anemia, a patient already faces a deficiency of iron and coffee can worsen the issue.

Experts have noticed a drop in iron absorption in anemic patients after taking coffee.  It also affects the storage level of iron in their body. It means that caffeinated coffee can be harmful to anemia.

Similarly, decaffeinated coffee is also bad for anemic patients. Decaffeinated coffee does contain little caffeine, which can reduce iron absorption in your body. 

In short, coffee can play a role in worsening your anemia, even if it is decaffeinated.

Watch this video to learn more about iron deficiency in anemia.

Is Coffee Bad for Iron Deficiency?

black coffee in a black cup on a dark table

Coffee is terrible for iron deficiency. A study shows that coffee reduces iron absorption in the human body by 39%. A 39% reduction can be hazardous for people who are already low on iron. 

Moreover, another study proves that coffee reduces 1% iron in the elder ok a weekly basis. That said, it is not suitable for people with iron deficiency.

Hence, people should take coffee within the limit, especially those with iron deficiency. Make sure that you do not excessively take it. Moreover, avoid coffee after iron infusion for better results.

Listed down are food that you need to avoid if you have low iron compare to a healthy person:

  • Oxalates And Phytate
  • Dairy
  • Polyphenols
  • Eggs

How Long Should You Wait to Take Coffee After Taking Iron? 

After iron infusion, the person should take coffee after two hours. Iron is one of the vital nutrients for your body as it forms hemoglobin. Allowing you to become healthy. 

If your body has an iron deficiency, taking iron is an effective strategy.

But this strategy does not effectively work if you take iron-reducing meals right after taking iron. For example, coffee is known to reduce iron in your body. If you take coffee right after taking meals, you will face a reduction in iron absorption. 

Hence, try to avoid coffee for at least 2 hours. It would be best to take coffee after 3 hours because it will not affect iron absorption.

Moreover, coffee contains tannins. Tannin is not suggested in iron deficiency. Those who are iron deficient should avoid it to maintain iron absorption in their bodies. If you’re not familiar with the tannins in coffee, you can read my other article to know more.

Along with coffee, you should avoid taking dairy products, tea, and food that contains tannins after intaking iron. These items can also reduce iron absorption in your body. 

Final Thoughts

A cup of coffee in between two hands

Coffee does not increase iron absorption. It reduces iron absorption. That said, it is terrible for anemic patients. However, it does not affect healthy people. 

Moreover, patients with iron deficiency should also avoid coffee, but if you really can’t give it up, only take it in small amounts and not with or right after every meal. Wait around 2 to 3 hours before taking your coffee after a meal.

You can adopt these specific changes in your daily diet to help you with iron absorption. 

  • Wait for one hour after eating before drinking coffee or tea
  • Increase heme iron intake: meat, or seafood
  • Increase vitamin C intake 
  • Consumed  iron-fortified foods
  • Eat foods high in calcium 
  • Eat food high in fiber, like whole grains, separately from iron-rich foods.

If followed regularly, these little changes can be helpful for people with iron deficiency.

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Matt Marshall

As I learn more and more about coffee and coffee products I want to share all my learnings with you here on this website. I hope you find my articles useful and entertaining to read.

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