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The link between caffeine and iron deficiency – is decaf coffee OK for anaemia?

First of all, what is anaemia?

Generally speaking it’s classified as a condition in which your body has fewer red blood cells than it needs.

Though food sources of iron are plentiful, it’s a fact that not everyone can absorbs iron as efficiently from various foods. Common symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness and pale skin or gums.

Moving on to caffeine and anaemia…

Iron deficiency is the leading cause of anaemia and caffeine can indeed inhibit the absorption of iron. Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body using haemoglobin, which binds oxygen in the cells.

Parts of haemoglobin is comprised of iron, so when haemoglobin is low, the rate at which oxygen reaches the muscles, skin and the rest of the body is reduced resulting in symptoms like low energy, pale skin and fatigue.

Caffeine is one of several substances that interfere with the absorption of iron, so if you have issues with anaemia, then it is sensible to limit your intake of caffeine.

Indeed, the Cleveland Clinic recommends a pause of 1-3 hours between eating meals and taking in caffeine in order to reduce the effect of caffeine’s ability to reduce the absorption of iron.

Having said all that, it really depends on the individual. Some people have no issue with caffeine’s effect on iron absorption and others do.

What about decaffeinated coffee and anaemia? Can you still drink decaffeinated coffee if you suffer from anaemia?

The fact is that decaffeinated coffees, such as the Swiss Water Decaf process, has minuscule amounts of caffeine and certainly not enough to effect iron absorption, so on first glance, decaffeinated coffee would appear safe for anaemia sufferers, but there is a little or no research on the matter, hence why we can’t give you guarantees.

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Mar 10, 2019 • Posted by Missiec76

I have been told milk and dairy products also stop iron absorption..
So would iron fortified cereal be useless unless it is eaten without milk? Also how can you help iron deficient toddlers and babies considering the amout of dairy they need in their diets…?

Nov 20, 2018 • Posted by shan

I was diagnosed with anemia three years ago but had no clue of the effects coffee would have had on persons with anemia. I had not taken my tablets for about four days and I started to feel really tired and light headed so I bypassed it because I had not eaten anything all morning. I made a cup of really strong coffee and like three minutes after I started breathing heavily and shaking to the point I couldn’t speak or hold anything. would that be a result of drinking the coffee or would it be something else?

Nov 05, 2018 • Posted by Guy

With regards to personal health issues, we can’t comment and recommend you visit a Health Professional/Doctor if you have any health concerns.

Nov 05, 2018 • Posted by Lawrence

Hi i am a 50 year man

I’m always fatigued,tired,sleeping less and i have joint pains as well.
Could it mean i am anaemic

Jul 30, 2018 • Posted by Coffee Addict

I understand it’s the Tannins in Coffee and Tea that actually blocks the absorption of B12 (other wise it’s pointless to have it in RedBull).

Jul 23, 2018 • Posted by Guy

I’m afraid we can’t give you specific medical advice. We recommend you to consult a Doctor.

Jul 23, 2018 • Posted by L.E.

Can decaf coffee be had with meals. One cup. I have low iron . ..My blood cells is ll.3 based on l3.2 limit Hemoglobin is ll.3 compared to low limit of l3.2 Tongue is not all pink. Carbon Dioxide is 29 compared to upperlimit 31. I have always been a coffee and Tea drinker. What else should be tested. Is ferritin suggested for tiredness.

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