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Phytomedicine. 2005 Jun;12(6-7):410-5.

Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) (TEAVIGO) does not impair nonhaem-iron absorption in man.

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Roche Vitamins Ltd, Human Nutrition and Health, Research and Development, Basel, Switzerland.


A number of studies have shown that tea catechins can inhibit intestinal iron absorption, mostly iron in the nonhaem form. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 3-periods cross-over study examined the degree of inhibition of nonhaem iron absorption by pure crystalline epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). The study was designed to show the maximum inhibitory action of EGCG by selecting 30 healthy women with low iron stores. Treatments were 150 mg, 300 mg EGCG and placebo each for 8 consecutive study days with a wash-out period of 14 days between treatments. Iron incorporation was assessed by supplying 57Fe orally and 58Fe intravenously. Differences in fractional nonhaem iron absorption between the treatments were evaluated by using two-sided ANOVA. Results showed a relative nonhaem iron absorption reduction of 14% with 150mg EGCG and 27% for 300mg EGCG treatment compared to placebo. Differences were statistically significant (p < or = 0.05) between the placebo and the 300mg EGCG treatments and between the 150 and 300 mg EGCG treatments. The inverse relation between EGCG dose and fractional nonhaem iron absorption was linear (p = 0.0002). In this study the magnitude of the inhibitory action of EGCG on nonhaem iron absorption was found to be much lower than that reported in the literature for black tea and similar compounds. The doses of EGCG in supplements, which will be lower than those used in this study, are not expected to have any health relevant effects on iron absorption in subjects with normal iron stores.

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