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Consumption of black, green and herbal tea and iron status in French adults



A number of potential health effects have lately been accorded to tea consumption. It is, however, not clear whether an increase in tea consumption increases the risk of iron depletion in a normal apparently healthy adult population. We have therefore evaluated this.


Cross-sectional study.


A total of 954 men (aged 52–68 years) and 1639 women (aged 42–68 years), who were participants of SU.VI.MAX Study, completed a detailed questionnaire on tea consumption. To determine the iron status of the participants, a venous blood sample was drawn and serum-ferritin was measured. Iron depletion was defined as a serum ferritin concentration <16 μg/l. Three 1-day food records were used to estimate the intake of other dietary enhancing or inhibiting factors of iron absorption, which were included in the logistic regression models.


The mean serum-ferritin concentration was not related to black, green and herbal tea consumption in men, pre- or postmenopausal women. Also the risk of iron depletion was in the multivariate model not related to any kind of tea drinking or to the strength of tea, the infusion time or the time of tea drinking.


The data suggest that normal apparently healthy adults are not at risk of iron depletion owing to any kind of tea drinking.


The SU.VI.M.AX project received financial support from public and private sectors. Special support was received from Unilever Bestfoods France (UBF) and to the ‘Centre d’Information Scientifique Thé & Santé de Lipton’, UBF.

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Correspondence to S Hercberg.

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Guarantor: S Hercberg.

Contributors: LM designed the present study, developed the tea questionnaire, participated in data analyses and has written the manuscript. TH has participated in data analyses and writing of the manuscript. SB participated in the data collection and management and in the writing of the manuscript. NA participated in the data collection and the analyses of the dietary data. PG and SH designed and coordinated the SU.VI.MAX study.

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Mennen, L., Hirvonen, T., Arnault, N. et al. Consumption of black, green and herbal tea and iron status in French adults. Eur J Clin Nutr 61, 1174–1179 (2007).

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  • Tea
  • iron status
  • epidemiology
  • diet

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