The Best Time to Drink Coffee After Taking Iron

The Best Time to Drink Coffee After Taking Iron

Iron supplements are frequently required for those who are iron deficient, suffer from anemia, or just need to improve their regular iron consumption. Coffee is a widely popular beverage, beloved by millions for its flavor and invigorating effects. 

However, there is one factor to consider: the time of coffee drinking might have an impact on the effectiveness of iron absorption from supplements. 

Here’s everything you need to know about how long can you drink coffee after taking iron supplements.

How Long After Taking Iron Can You Drink Coffee?

Iron is a trace mineral that helps the body produce hemoglobin and myoglobin. Hemoglobin transports oxygen through the blood, whereas myoglobin supplies oxygen to the muscles. When it comes to iron absorption, a variety of circumstances, including the presence of other nutrients and molecules, might impact the body’s intake.

Coffee, a popular pick-me-up for many of us, has chemicals that can inhibit iron absorption. These include polyphenols, tannins, and caffeine, which can bind to iron ions and reduce the body’s capacity to absorb them properly.

To increase iron absorption, wait at least 1-2 hours after taking iron before drinking coffee. This timeline is based on the estimated time it takes for iron supplements to be absorbed by the digestive system.

Allowing enough time for iron absorption ensures that you get the most out of this crucial mineral while still enjoying your favorite caffeinated beverage.

Tips for Taking Iron

Taking iron supplements correctly necessitates paying attention to when and how you take them. Follow these suggestions to get the most out of your iron intake:

Take iron on an empty stomach

Iron should be taken on an empty stomach, roughly 30 minutes to an hour before a meal, for maximum absorption. However, iron supplementation can occasionally induce stomach pain or constipation. If this happens, take it with a modest amount of food to reduce the negative effects.

Choose the appropriate kind of iron

Iron supplements are available in two varieties: ferrous and ferric. The former is better absorbed by the body. Look for iron sulfate, ferrous fumarate, or ferrous gluconate on supplement labels to receive the most bioavailable alternative.

Pair iron with vitamin C

Combining iron with vitamin C (ascorbic acid) can boost absorption rates. Vitamin C has a high iron-binding action, increasing iron solubility and bioavailability. 

Taking 250-1000 mg of vitamin C with iron supplements or eating vitamin C-rich foods (e.g., oranges, bell peppers) during meals increases iron absorption.

Avoid taking iron with calcium

Avoid taking iron with calcium because calcium can inhibit iron absorption. To enhance the efficiency of both minerals, avoid taking iron supplements when eating or consuming calcium-rich meals.

Check with a healthcare professional

Always with a healthcare practitioner before beginning an iron supplementation plan. They can correctly analyze your requirements, provide personalized advice, and do necessary monitoring.

What are Coffee Alternatives I Can Drink?

While you wait to drink coffee after taking iron, you might want to try an alternate beverage that won’t affect iron absorption but will satisfy your desire for warmth and flavor. Here are some recommendations for coffee alternatives:

Green or herbal tea

Green teas have less caffeine and iron-binding polyphenols than coffee, whereas herbal teas are usually caffeine-free. These are soothing and healthy alternatives that do not dramatically impair iron absorption. Peppermint, ginger, and chamomile tea are among examples.

Golden milk

Golden milk is a healthy and tasty turmeric-based beverage that blends warm milk, honey, and warming spices such as cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper. Additionally, this drink has anti-inflammatory properties.

Rooibos tea 

Rooibos tea is a caffeine-free, low-tannin tea from South Africa with a somewhat sweet, earthy flavor. When it comes to avoiding tannins that interfere with iron absorption, Rooibos tea is an excellent choice.

Chicory root drink

Similar in appearance and flavor to coffee, a chicory root brew is a caffeine-free option that will not interfere with iron absorption.


Knowing how long after taking iron to drink coffee and other alternatives to explore will help you strike the right balance between increasing iron absorption and enjoying your favorite beverage. To summarize, waiting at least 1-2 hours after taking iron supplements before drinking a cup of coffee is critical to maximizing the advantages of your supplementing strategy.

In addition, you can increase your iron consumption with vitamin C and avoid calcium-rich meals or supplements at the same meal. Always ask your doctor before starting a new supplement regimen or making any dietary changes.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to read this article on 5 Iron-Rich Drinks You Can Make at Home.

*This information is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional medical or dietary advice tailored to individual needs.

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Dr. Kimberly Langdon

Kimberly Langdon

Dr. Kimberly Langdon has been an MD for 31 years, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine, earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place accolades for her Senior Research Project and Score of 98th percentile on a National Proficiency Test.

During her clinical career, she delivered over 2000 babies and specialized in minimally invasive procedures, menopause, endometriosis, menstrual disorders, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. After retiring from clinical practice, she founded a medical device company to commercialize her two patented and four patent-pending medical devices for both life-threatening and non-life-threatening infections.

Kimberly Langdon M.D.

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Coologics, 2010-present
The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Doctor of Medicine 1987-1991
The Ohio State University Hospital Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program 1991-1995
Private practice 1995-2010

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu, M.D., received his medical doctorate from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. During his medical school training, Dr. Hsu worked with various patients, including adult and pediatric patients with acute and chronic conditions. Dr. Hsu’s interests include neurology, psychiatry, pediatrics, and sleep medicine.

Before medical school, Dr. Hsu finished a master’s degree at Harvard University and wrote a thesis on neuroimaging in schizophrenia patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospital. Dr. Hsu was also a part of the 2008 NASA Phoenix Lander Mission team, which sent a robotic spacecraft to the North polar region of Mars. Dr. Hsu also had research experience on neuroimaging in neonates at Boston Children’s Hospital, another Harvard Medical School-affiliated Hospital.

Since graduating from medical school, Dr. Hsu has worked as a full-time medical writer and consultant. In addition, he has experience writing and ghostwriting books and articles for physicians and health technology start-up companies. Dr. Hsu believes good communication between healthcare providers and patients creates the best results.


-Peer Reviewed Journal Article:
Kounaves, S.P., Hecht, M.H., West, S.J., Morookian, J.-M., Young, S.M.M., Quinn, R., Grunthaner, P., Wen, X., Weilert, M., Cable, C.A., Fisher, A., Gospodinova, K., Kapit, J., Stroble, S., Hsu, P.-C., Clark, B.C., Ming, D.W. and Smith, P.H. The MECA wet chemistry laboratory on the 2007 phoenix mars scout Lander. Journal of Geophysical Research. 2009, Mar; 114(E3): 10.1029/2008je003084.

-Poster Presentation:
2011 Harvard Psychiatry Mysell Poster Session; Boston, MA
Hsu, P.C., Rathi, Y., Eckbo, R., Nestor, P., Niznikiewicz, M., Thompson, E., Kubicki, M., Shenton, M.E. (March, 2011). Two-Tensor Diffusion Tensor Imaging of Acoustic Radiations in Schizophrenia

Dr. Nicolette Natale

Nicolette Natale

Dr. Nicolette Natale is a physician, with a background in Psychology, General Medicine, and English Literature, combining her expertise to provide readers with the most accurate, easy-to-understand, and comprehensive information regarding healthcare. She received her Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from Nova Southeastern University, and her bachelor’s in English Literature and Psychology from the University of Miami. Dr. Natale seeks to empower individuals with knowledge, fostering a greater understanding of holistic health and encouraging a proactive approach to well-being