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Question
Posted by: Heather | 2004/11/23

Rules re. iron tablets

My sister has recently undergone surgery (hysterectomy) and had complications where she lost a lot of blood and required blood transfusions. She has been told to take iron tablets. I said that I recall one mustn't have iron tablets in conjunction with anything that contains caffeine as it affects absorption of the iron. Is this correct and could you please advise anything else that is important on this issue. Thank you.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Heather
Caffeine and certain food components called phytates which occur in foods with a high fibre content and red wine, may affect iron absorption. It is thus a good idea to take the iron supplement before a meal on an empty stomach. Foods that contain vitamin C (citrus fruits, cabbage, etc) will assist with the uptake of iron. Red meat, liver, egg yolk, fish, legumes, iron-fortified bread, maize meal and breakfast cereals, and dried fruit are good sources of dietary iron. The iron in vegetables like spinach is actually not very available to humans because it is bound to chemicals that make it difficult to absorb.
Best regards
DietDoc

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