The effect of rooibos tea on iron absorption
The original publication is available at http://www.samj.org.za
A study was carried out to determine if rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) has a deleterious effect on iron absorption similar to that of ordinary tea (Camellia sinensis). Three groups of volunteers, each consisting of 10 healthy young men comparable with regard to iron status and body dimensions, were studied. After ingestion of 1 μCi 59Fe and 16 mg of elemental iron, group A drank rooibos tea, group B ordinary tea and group C boiled water. Iron absorption was measured 14 days later with a whole body counter. Mean iron absorption after ingestion of rooibos tea, ordinary tea, and water was 7.25%, 1.70% and 9.34% respectively. In contrast to ordinary tea (P<0.001), rooibos tea did not affect iron absorption significantly. The ascorbic acid content of rooibos tea varies between 121,8 and 154,9 μmol/l depending on the method of preparation. Rooibos tea contains small amounts of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium chloride and potassium. These findings have practical nutritional and therapeutic implications.