Low in Iron? Here’s Something You Should Know…

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Lucas Aoun

Founder @ BYB

July 21, 2021

If you’ve struggled with low iron levels in the past, you may want to avoid using these around iron rich foods/supplements… Don’t combine red meat with the following…

Key Facts

Milk Thistle.


Milk thistle contains silybin, which is a potential iron chelator (Hutchinson et al., 2018).


Coffee with meals.


Polyphenols present in coffee inhibit iron absorption during a meal in a dose-dependent manner (Layrisse et al, 2000).




Aspirin has iron-chelating properties, and thus, when combined with iron rich foods, may reduce iron absorption (Schwartz et al., 1988).


Zinc Supplements.


Use of a modest zinc supplement improves zinc indices, but also appears to induce a cellular iron deficiency and, possibly, further reduce iron status (Donangelo et al., 2002).




Consistent with the hypothesis that curcumin acts as an iron chelator, mice that were fed diets supplemented with curcumin exhibited a decline in levels of ferritin protein in the liver (Jiao et al., 2006).




One study demonstrated that freeze-dried, ground chili pepper (14.2 g fresh wt; 25 mg polyphenols as gallic acid equivalents) reduced iron absorption from a basic rice and vegetable meal by 38% (P=0.0017)(Tuntipopipat et al., 2006).


Black Tea with meals.


Black tea is known to be a potent inhibitor of intestinal absorption of non-haem iron at least in healthy subjects (Kaltwasseret et al., 1998).


Cranberry supplements.


The strong iron-binding properties of the predicted “iron-binding motif” in phenolic compounds present in cranberries and other plants have been confirmed (Guoa et al., 2007).


Calcium supplements.


Pre-menopausal women with low iron stores show significant inhibition of non-haem iron absorption with co-consumption of a typical calcium supplement (Benkhedda et al., 2009).


On the contrary, if you have high iron retention, these can be useful.


Always get your levels checked via blood test!


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