The Effect of a Natural Polyphenol Supplement on Iron Absorption in Adults With Hereditary Hemochromatosis


News release, Polyphenols Applications - May 8, 2023

Iron absorption can be affected by various factors, including the presence of polyphenols in the diet. Polyphenols are a group of naturally occurring compounds found in many plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, tea, and wine.

Polyphenols can bind to iron and form insoluble complexes, which can reduce the amount of iron that is absorbed in the intestine. This effect is more pronounced when polyphenols are consumed with non-heme iron, which is the form of iron found in plant-based foods.

However, the impact of polyphenols on iron absorption can vary depending on the type and amount of polyphenols consumed, as well as individual differences in gut microbiota and iron status. For example, some polyphenols, such as those found in tea and coffee, may have a stronger inhibitory effect on iron absorption than others.

Buerkli et al., in their study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, developed a natural polyphenol supplement that strongly chelates iron in vitro and assessed its effect on non-heme iron absorption in patients with hereditary hemochromatosis (HH).

Dr. Buerkli and his colleagues performed in vitro iron digestion experiments to determine iron precipitation by 12 polyphenol-rich dietary sources, and formulated a polyphenol supplement (PPS) containing black tea powder, cocoa powder and grape juice extract. In a multi-center, single-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over study, we assessed the effect of the PPS on iron absorption from an extrinsically labelled test meal and test drink in patients (n = 14) with HH homozygous for the p.C282Y variant in the HFE gene. We measured fractional iron absorption (FIA) as stable iron isotope incorporation into erythrocytes.

They reported that black tea powder, cocoa powder and grape juice extract most effectively precipitated iron in vitro. A PPS mixture of these three extracts precipitated ~ 80% of iron when 2 g was added to a 500 g iron solution containing 20 µg Fe/g.

In the iron absorption study, the PPS reduced FIA by ~ 40%: FIA from the meal consumed with the PPS was lower (3.01%) than with placebo (5.21% ), and FIA from the test drink with the PPS was lower (10.3%) than with placebo (16.9%).

In conclusion those results indicate that when taken with meals, this natural PPS can decrease dietary iron absorption, and might thereby reduce body iron accumulation and the frequency of phlebotomy in patients with HH.

Article DOI.

Polyphenols Applications 2023 will keep you upddated and discuss about the implication of polyphenols on non-heme iron absorption. You can submit a related abstract here.

Image credit: by Freepik

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