Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
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Does Green Tea Cause Anemia?

Monday, 22 Jun 2009 03:41 PM

Question: When a friend tried to donate blood, she was refused because they said that she was iron-deficient because she drinks a lot of green tea. She was also told that she should not drink green tea with her meals. I was told that it was possible that green tea could absorb some of the iron nutrients from food. Is there any truth to this?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

All of your "advisers" are wrong! Let's look at this point by point:

First, anemia is one reason to refuse blood donation. Iron deficiency may be one of the most common forms of treatable anemia, resulting most often from diets with insufficient red meat or rich vegetable sources of iron, which menstruating women need especially. By no means is anemia because of green tea consumption! Iron deficiency or other anemias should be corrected and investigated for cause if unclear, especially if persistent or in non-menstruating individuals, since it may be the only symptom of chronic infections and even malignant disease.

Second, green tea may have numerous health benefits and is generally free of being harmful when used in moderation.

Lastly, green tea will not interfere with iron absorption. Tell your friend to enjoy her green tea with or without meals! Tell your friend to see her primary care physician for evaluation and correction of her anemia, regardless of whether it is resulting from iron deficiency or something else.


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