How Long After Iron Can I Drink Coffee (And Why)?

Exact Answer: After 1 hour

Iron deficiency is a worldwide issue where women are found to be more deficient in iron. Everyone especially women should maintain a proper healthy range of iron levels particularly while bearing a child. At a rapidly growing age, children tend to be at risk due to iron deficiency.

One of the points to note is, Though Coffee is a very popular beverage drink among almost all people of the world it always interferes during the absorption of a certain type of nutrients especially iron. If you working to build iron, it is highly recommended to avoid coffee or tea right away from the meal because it completely blocks the iron absorption.

How Long After Iron Can I Drink Coffee


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How Long After Iron Can I Drink Coffee?

Generally, when you are healthy, your body has no issues with absorbing iron. But for people with an iron deficiency, it is best to avoid coffee at least before and also after an hour of meal. Hence, it is strictly prohibited during the meal. Absorption level always depends on the type of iron supplement used.  Doctors recommend 325mg Ferrous Sulphate, one of the most common forms of iron which is almost equal to 65mg of elemental iron.

For few people side effects like the upset of the stomach occur but do not last long. Even additional iron supplements must be avoided during the food. If your doctors recommend taking extra supplements of iron, it is worth giving priority to it before an hour of meal. After taking iron supplements, waiting for two hours will be the more sensible way to go.

As an acidic stomach helps to absorb iron rapidly, an empty stomach is the best time to take iron for good results. There are also few drinks like coffee, milk, and tea that are very much effective to reduce the rate of absorption. The iron-absorbing level is always inversely proportional to the quality of coffee, the stronger the coffee is less iron is absorbed.

Quite often, people take too many supplements of iron at a time. But our body couldn’t bear which may also lead to any adverse effects. Eating pepper, spinach, citrus fruits, and other vitamin C foods are also recommended to attain the best results.

Deficiency StagesDuration to wait
Ferritin1 hour
Transferrin1-2 hour
Anemia2 hour

Why Do I have to wait that Long to Drink Coffee?

One of the key parts to treat anemia, which is caused by a deficiency in iron is to have iron-rich foods. For few people when the iron level is too low, they take additional iron supplements to regain or rebuild the stores of iron in the body.  The caffeine and tannins which are present at an extreme level in coffee-like drinks interfere with minerals and vitamins, particularly iron. It also increases urination, which leads to reduce the water-soluble vitamins.

The most important reason to avoid coffee and tea during or after iron because they harbor few polyphenols that have a great affinity for iron. Hence, these polyphenols latch into iron rapidly once they are mixed with iron-rich foods, this will not show any improvement for individuals with iron deficiency.

When both (iron supplement and coffee) are mixed, the amount of iron absorbed decreases by 40%.  Even consuming coffee with bread reduces it to 75% which would be a huge loss of iron in the body, when it gets worst. But it is not necessary to stop it forever or until the supplement gets over.

Diarrhea, cramps, and fatigue are few effects that occur once the supplement is taken. To avoid these types of effects, the quantity of food should be reduced. Or else iron can be taken before going to bed where you may also have an empty stomach as avoiding food before two hours of food has many other benefits too.


Without an adequate quantity of iron in your body, you may become tired and breathless soon due to a lack of a proper amount of energy. Your skin may also turn pale. Some medications also affect the absorption of iron particularly medications that reduce stomach acid and certain antibiotics.

Vitamin C is a highly considered factor to improve iron absorption. That is why it is recommended to take your supplement with a drink containing C. If any side effects occur, try to reduce the dose or lower strength supplement. Usually, you have to take a blood test once in 2-4 weeks after the starting of iron supplements, to check for improvement.



Last Updated : 23 February, 2024

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