The effect of tea on iron and aluminium metabolism in the rat

Susan J. Fairweather-Tait, Zoe Piper, S. Jemil A. Fatemi, Geoffrey R. Moore

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Weanling male Wistar rats were fed for 28 d on a semi-synthetic diet containing normal (38 micrograms/g) or low (9 micrograms/g) levels of iron. They were given water or tea infusion (20 g leaves/l water) to drink. Two further groups were given a normal- or low-Fe diet containing added tea leaves (20 g/kg diet). At the end of the study period, all rats given the low-Fe diet were severely anaemic, as assessed by haemoglobin, packed cell volume and liver Fe. Those given tea or the diet with added tea leaves showed a greater degree of Fe depletion. The blood and liver aluminium levels were not increased as a result of consuming tea or tea leaves, despite the higher Al intakes. Fe deficiency per se had no effect on Al absorption or retention from tea. It was concluded that the Al in tea was very poorly absorbed but that tea, either in the form of an infusion or as tea leaves, had an adverse effect on Fe status.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-68
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1991


  • Aluminum
  • Anemia, Hypochromic
  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Body Weight
  • Iron
  • Liver
  • Male
  • Organ Size
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Tea

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