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What factors might contribute to a deficiency of iron?
Iron absorption is increased when there is an increased physiological need for iron, as occurs in children during rapid growth periods and during pregnancy and lactation.
Iron absorption is decreased in people with low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria), a condition that is common in the elderly and those who use antacids frequently. In addition, iron absorption is decreased by caffeine and tannic acid found in coffee and tea and by phosphates found in carbonated soft drinks.
Phytates, found in whole grains, and oxalates, found in spinach and chocolate, may also decrease iron absorption by forming complexes with the mineral that cannot be absorbed through the digestive tract.
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