Skip to content


    Exciting News for WebMD Members!

    We've been busy behind the scenes building new message boards for you. You'll have new and easier ways to find messages, connect with others, and share your stories.

    And, this will all be available on your smartphone or other mobile device!

    What Do You Need to Do?

    The message board you're used to will be closing in the coming weeks. While many of your boards will be making the move to our new home, your posts will not. Want to keep a discussion going? Save posts you want to continue (this includes your member profile story), so that you can re-post them in the new message boards.

    Keep an eye here and on your email inbox, we'll be back in touch soon to give you all the information you need!

    Yours in health,
    WebMD Message Boards Management

    Hidden Danger of Polyphenols in Coffees & Teas
    technosp1ce posted:
    Recently I went to the doctor to try to get on Xolair for my asthma. I'd been on it before and it's a miracle drug when it comes to asthma combined with allergies. When the blood tests came back, I was very surprised to find out I was anemic enough to have a lowered red blood cell count and had a Vitamin D deficiency which has put off the opportunity. I was surprised; eat lots of fish (which is supposed to have Vitamin D) and eat lots of leafy greens (for iron). Well, at least that explained why I was always so tired. So after the doc put me on supplements, I went on the hunt for information.

    The internet will tell you all about how great polyphenols in coffee and tea are, that they are antioxidants and will fight cancer and so on and so forth and all the ways you can boost your polyphenol intake. What isn't spoken of so much is that caffeine decreases nutrient absorption and polyphenols bind with iron and other minerals. I'll admit, I go through tea like a seive and like a cup of coffee now and then, too. I thought I was alright because I prefer rooibos tea which is caffeine-free (I suspect it contains crack instead for addictivity). But the real culprit is in the polyphenols. I had no idea it especially binds to non-Heme iron sources like that of leafy greens. If you're not big on red meat (like me), apparently having a coffee/tea habit is enough to give you a deficiency.

    I have tried to cut back on tea intake and switch to the lowest polyphenol tea I could find (chamomile) but discovered it makes me sleepy. On top of my iron deficiency, I found myself nearly narcoleptic so that isn't going to work. Hot chocolate and cider are both very rich to drink casually. I drink lots of water, but hot beverages are a creative stimulus for me. I study better and focus on writing better when I have one at hand. Tea and coffee was one of the few luxuries I can indulge in as a poor student. Can anyone think of any good hot beverages that don't contain polyphenols? Or am I doomed to a life drinking only water?
    jc3737 responded:
    What about herbal teas like hibiscus or naturally decaffeniated coffee?They don't block iron absorption do they?

    I think you are on to something in looking for what may have blocked your iron absorption.I have the same problem and I think it may have been all the herbs I was taking.I have also read the too many sweet potatoes can block iron absorption and I was eating sweet potatoes at very meal.

    jc3737 replied to jc3737's response:
    I almost forgot....where did you get the idea that herbal teas can block iron absorption?
    jc3737 replied to jc3737's response:
    I just found are correct.
    jc3737 replied to jc3737's response:
    I asked your question to a friend of mine in the health field and here is his reaponce:

    "It is not just the polyphenols, more specifically tannins, found in coffee, tea, chocolate, berries, etc. Many of these, such as coffee, tea and chocolate also contain oxalates that also bind iron.
    There are many teas out there that be drunk safely as they contain little to no tannins or oxalates. My favorite is nettle leaf with a little lemon grass and stevia steeped overnight. There is also rooibos (red bush, honey bush, red tea), mints, hibiscus, diluted and sweetened jiaogulan (Gynostemma), red clover blossom, etc.
    Another option is to get the flavored stevia extracts to make flavored waters with. The come in many different flavors such as peach, mango, orange, cherry, grape, coffee, champagne, etc."

    Spotlight: Member Stories

    Let's see.... I'm the mom of six (three hers, three mine) who used to live in Florida but now lives in the Chicago area. (Don't ask.) I&#...More

    Helpful Tips

    Zeal for Life
    I couldn't find my old post so I'm not sure what happened to it. I have back problems, panic issues and anxiety disorder since childhood. ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    5 of 5 found this helpful

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.