G6PD deficiency is an inherited condition in which the body doesn’t have enough of the enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, or G6PD, which is essential for assuring a normal life span for red blood cells, and for oxidizing processes. This enzyme deficiency may provoke the sudden destruction of red blood cells and lead to hemolytic anemia with jaundice following the intake of fava beans, certain legumes and various drugs.
Most people with G6PD deficiency don’t have any symptoms, while others develop symptoms of anemia only after RBCs have been destroyed, a condition called hemolysis. In these cases, the symptoms disappear once the cause, or trigger, is removed. In rare cases, G6PD deficiency leads to chronic anemia
Kids with G6PD deficiency typically do not show any symptoms of the disorder until their red blood cells are exposed to certain triggers, which can be:
illness, such as bacterial and viral infections (or fevers)
certain painkillers and fever-reducing drugs
certain antibiotics (especially those that have “sulf” in their names)
certain antimalarial drugs (especially those that have “quine” in their names)
Foods to avoid for G6PD Deficient person
- Avoid all legumes. Such as lima beans, fava beans, kidney beans or soybeans. Soy-containing products, such as tofu, bean curds, miso or textured soy protein. Look out for less easily recognizable legumes such as alfalfa sprouts, peanuts, licorice or carob. Some legumes, such as fava beans cause severe hemolysis but several other legumes, beans and pulses cause less severe hemolysis but can still damage your health, Sulfites and foods containing them. Sulfites are used in a wide variety of foods, so check it out carefully.
- Do not eat menthol, or menthol-containing foods such as breath mints or candy, tooth paste, mouth wash, but mint from natural mint oils is alright to consume.
- Artificial blue food coloring (Methylene and Toluidine blue) other artificial food color can also cause hemolysis but natural food color such as found in foods like turmeric or grapes is okay.
- Artificial ascorbic acid commonly put in food and vitamins can cause hemolysis in large doses and should be avoided.
- Do not drink tonic water or eat bitter melon; do not eat refined sugar, high-fructose corn syrup or white flour.
- Avoid already-prepared Chinese foods. These foods can contain herbs that could provoke a hemolytic episode.
- Herbs include Flos Chimonanthi praecosis, Rhizoma coptidis, margarita, Flos ionicerae and Calculus bovis. margarine, jarred salad dressings, canned soups, potato chips, canned fish and meats, hot dogs, sausages, processed meats, lowfat cheeses and sauces such as sweet and sour sauce or Worcestershire sauce.
Symptoms of G6PD Deficiency
A child with G6PD deficiency who is exposed to a certain food, medication or infection that triggers the destruction of RBCs may have no symptoms at all. In more serious cases, a child may exhibit symptoms of hemolytic anemia (also known as a hemolytic crisis), including:
»paleness (in darker-skinned kids, paleness is sometimes best seen in the mouth, especially on the lips or tongue)
»rapid breathing or shortness of breath
»jaundice, or yellowing of the skin and eyes, particularly in newborns
»an enlarged spleen
»dark, tea-colored urine
Important: The symptoms mentioned above should be taken seriously, especially when more one of them are present. Extreme exhaustion without cause should always be investigated if anemia gets bad enough it can be fatal.