Magazine article USA TODAY

"Cancel" Combination of Green Tea and Iron

Magazine article USA TODAY

"Cancel" Combination of Green Tea and Iron

Article excerpt

Green tea is touted for its many health benefits as a powerful antioxidant, but experiments in a laboratory model of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) suggest that consuming green tea along with dietary iron actually may lessen green tea's benefits.

"If you drink green tea after an iron-rich meal, the main compound in the tea will bind to the iron," says Matam Vijay-Kumar, assistant professor of nutritional sciences at Pennsylvania State University, University Park. "When that occurs, the green tea loses its potential as an antioxidant. In order to get the benefits of green tea, it may be best to not consume it with iron-rich foods," which include red meat and dark leafy greens, such as kale and spinach. The same results also apply to iron supplements.

Vijay-Kumar and colleagues found that EGCG--the main compound in green tea--potently inhibits myeloperoxidase, a pro-inflammatory enzyme released by white blood cells during inflammation. Inactivation of myeloperoxidase by EGCG may be beneficial in mitigating IBD flareups but, when EGCG and iron are consumed simultaneously, iron-bound EGCG loses its ability to inhibit myeloperoxidase. …

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