Green Tea

Ideas about food and supplements and how these relate to hair
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mickey
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Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:16 am

Green Tea

Post by mickey » Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:10 am

Hi, Tom,

Does green tea contain tannin? I am interested as I have an iron deficiency.

Tom Hagerty
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Posts: 614
Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:21 am

Re: Green Tea

Post by Tom Hagerty » Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:05 am

Yes, tea contains tannins, darker teas containing more than lighter teas. Tea, though, does not contain tannic acid, which is used to make leather. But what you want to know is if these tannins in tea have any effect in preventing or slowing down the absorption of dietary iron. This is a complex issue that I will try to make simple.

The iron you get in food is in two forms - heme and non-heme. Heme iron is in the meat you eat; non-heme iron is the iron you get from plant sources - vegetables, whole grains, leafy greens, and the list goes on. The heme iron you get from meat is unaffected by the tannins in tea. But the non-heme iron you get from plant sources is definitely affected by these tannins. The iron that you absorb from plant sources is poorly absorbed to begin with, so adding tannins to the mix makes this iron even less bioavailable.

If you are borderline anemic or have a low serum ferritin level, I would be careful about drinking gallons of tea, especially if you are a vegetarian or one who eats little meat. I prefer drinking tea at least an hour before or after meals. This way the tannins have little effect on iron absorption.
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mickey
Posts: 52
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:16 am

Re: Green Tea

Post by mickey » Sat Jul 28, 2012 8:10 am

How can I easily monitor my iron levels, to ensure they are sufficient ?

Tom Hagerty
Site Admin
Posts: 614
Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:21 am

Re: Green Tea

Post by Tom Hagerty » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:25 am

By far the best test for finding out if have sufficient iron levels is the serum ferritin test. You have to ask a doctor specifically for this test. The test measures the carrier molecule for iron. This is a protein that stores the iron. If you have low ferritin levels you iron levels are almost certainly low. The best range of serum ferritin is between 20 and 80 ng/ml (nanograms per mililiter). Between 40 and 80 is even better. If you are below 20 you are iron deficient; if you are above 80 you have too much iron. Too much iron is not good either. That's why it's not a good idea to get your iron from supplements - the chance of iron overload. Red meat is the best source of bioavailable iron. The iron you get from plant sources (spinach, broccoli) is assimilated poorly.

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