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G6PD Deficiency Food To Avoid

Some of the foods commonly eaten around the world can cause people with G6PD Deficiency to hemolyze. Some of these foods can be deadly (like fava beans). Some others can cause low level hemolysis, which means that red blood cells die, but not enough to cause the person to go to the hospital. Low level hemolysis over time can cause other problems, such as memory dysfunction, overworked spleen, liver, kidney and heart, and iron overload. Even though a G6PD Deficient person may not have a crises when consuming these foods, they should be avoided.

Fava Beans and other legumes


This list contains every legume we could find, but there may be other names for them that we do not know about. Low level hemolysis is very hard to detect and can cause other problems, so we recommend the avoidance of all legumes.




and foods containing them. Sulfites are used in a wide variety of foods, so be sure to check labels carefully.




and foods containing it. This can be difficult to avoid as tooth paste, candy, breath mints, mouth wash and many other products have menthol added to them. Mint from natural mint oils is alright to consume.


Artificial blue food coloring


other artificial food color can also cause hemolysis. Natural food color such as found in foods like turmeric or grapes is okay.


Ascorbic acid


Artificial ascorbic acid commonly put in food and vitamins can cause hemolysis in large doses and should be avoided. It is put into so many foods that you can be getting a lot of Ascorbic Acid without realizing it. See Ascorbic Acid for more information about iron absorbtion and ascorbic acid.


Vitamin K


This is from drugbank: "Menadione (vitamin K3), which is not used as a nutritional supplemental form of vitamin K for humans, has been reported to cause adverse reactions, including hemolytic anemia. Large doses have also been reported to cause brain damage. Vitamin K administered to newborns with G6PD Deficiency has been known to cause adverse outcomes including hemolytic anemia, neonatal brain or liver damage, or neonatal death in some cases."



(contains quinine, a contraindicated drug which causes hemolysis in G6PDD people).


Bitter Gourd and Garden Egg


Bitter Gourd is also known as Bitter Mellon. These are common foods in some parts of Africa and Asia.


Some Chinese herbs


particularly Rhizoma Coptidis (huang lien), Calculus Bovis (neu huang), Flos Chimonanthi Praecocis (leh mei hua), Flos Lonicerae (kam ngan fa) and Margarita or anything containing them.

Avoid moth balls, artificial blue food color, legumes (fava beans, beans, peas, peanuts, soy, lentils, etc.), sulfites, tonic water. Please read all labels on processed foods before feeding to patient.

Substances labeled Low Risk MAY be given safely at normal therapeutic doses UNLESS the patient is severely G6PD Deficient or has chronic non-spherocytic hemolytic anemia. There is no guarantee that low risk drugs will not cause hemolysis. Please see for more information.

A diet rich in antioxidant foods is recommended to help minimize the effects of oxidative stress and the resultant hemolysis. Vitamins b6, b12, folic acid and NAC are also important.

Acetaminophen - Low Risk Acetanilid - High Risk Acetylphenylhydrazine - High Risk Aminophenazone - Low Risk Antazoline - Low Risk

Antipyrine - Low Risk

Ascorbic Acid - Low Risk Aspirin - High Risk Astemizole - Risk Beta-Naphthol - High Risk Chloramphenicol - High Risk Chloroquine - High Risk Ciprofloxacin - High Risk Colchicine - Low Risk Dapsone - High Risk Dimercaprol - High Risk Diphenhydramine - Low Risk Dopamine - Low Risk Doxorubicin - High Risk Ethanol - High Risk Furazolidone - High Risk Furosemide - High Risk Gadopentetate dimeglumine - High Risk Glucosulfone - High Risk Glyburide - High Risk Henna - High Risk Ibuprofen - Low Risk Isobutyl Nitrite - High Risk Isoniazid - Low Risk Lamotrigine - High Risk Levofloxacin - High Risk

Lisinopril - high Risk

Magnevist - Risk Mefloquine - High Risk

Menadiol Sodium Sulfate (Vitamin k4 sodium sulfate) - High Risk

Menadione - High Risk

Menadione sodium Bisulfite (Vitamin K3 sodium bisulfite) - High Risk

Menthol - High Risk Mesalazine - High Risk Metformin - High Risk Methylene Blue - High Risk Mirtazapine - Low Risk Moxifloxacin - High Risk Nalidixic Acid - High Risk Naphthalene - High Risk Nimesulide - High Risk Niridazole - High Risk

Nitrofurantoin - High Risk Nitrofurazone - High Risk Norfloxacin - Low Risk Oxidase, Urate - High Risk Pamaquine - High Risk Para-Aminobenzoic Acid - Low Risk Pefloxacin - High Risk Pentaquine - High Risk Phenacetin - High Risk Phenazopyridine - High Risk Phenylbutazone - Low Risk Phenylhydrazine - High Risk Phenytoin - Low Risk Primaquine - High Risk Probenecid - High Risk Procainamide - Low Risk Proguanil - Low Risk Pyrimethamine - Low Risk Quinacrine - High Risk Quinidine - Low Risk Quinine - Low Risk Stibophen - High Risk Streptomycin - Low Risk Sulfacetamide - High Risk Sulfacytine - Low Risk Sulfadiazine - Low Risk Sulfadimidine - High Risk Sulfafurazole - High Risk Sulfaguanidine - Low Risk Sulfamerazine - Low Risk Sulfamethoxazole - High Risk Sulfamethoxypyridazine - Low Risk Sulfanilamide - High Risk Sulfapyridine - High Risk

Sulfasalazine - High Risk Sulfathiazole - High Risk Sulfonylurea - Low Risk

Sulfoxone - High Risk Tamsulosin - High Risk Tiaprofenic Acid - Low Risk Toluidine Blue - High Risk Trihexyphenidyl - Low Risk Trimethoprim - Low Risk Trinitrotoluene - High Risk Tripelennamine - Low Risk Vitamin K1 - Low Risk

informed decisions about the food you eat. The main object of the G6PD Deficiency diet should


be to

obtain necessary nutrients with as little use of precious G6PD

(necessary for life) as

possible. This is especially true for people with Class 1 (the most severe) G6PD Deficiency. We

can help our bodies

conserve G6PD by eating antioxidants, providing plenty of suitable fats

and eating fewer refined carbohydrates. We need to eat foods that help our bodies repair


oxidative damage and replace damaged red blood cells. We should also be diligent






Once you understand the ideas presented below, providing a proper diet for the G6PD Deficient is fairly straight forward and can be quite satisfying, delicious and full of variety.

Inability to fight oxidative stress.

Since G6PD is necessary for the body to produce reduced glutathione (the body's big gun antioxidant),
Since G6PD is necessary for the body to produce reduced glutathione (the body's big gun
antioxidant), red blood cells are susceptible to damage by oxidative substances. This can be
minimized by eating a diet rich in antioxidants . List of Antioxidants .
Difficulty digesting fats.
This is especially a problem with cholesterol in some who are G6PD Deficient. Cholesterol is
necessary for proper nerve health and without it, we can develop nerve problems such as
Peripheral Neuropathy or Multiple Sclerosis. If you have a problem with low cholesterol, you need
a diet rich in fat. Our fats should come from traditional sources (olive oil, animal fat, palm oil
and coconut oil) and other vegetable fats should be avoided. List of foods and their cholesterol
content sorted from highest to lowest
List of foods and their cholesterol content sorted

Problems with artificial vitamins causing or contributing to hemolysis.

Our vitamins should come from our food as much as possible.

If supplementation is needed,

use natural vitamins. We need to eat a variety of vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables


such as lettuce, cabbage, spinach, kale, etc. Most should be supplemented with the following


vitamins (dose is for an adult):


B1 (thiamine) 50 mg daily


B3 (niacin as niacinamide) 50 mg daily

B6 (pyridoxine) 50 mg daily

Folic acid 400 mcg twice daily

B12 (cobalamin) 500 mcg twice daily

NAC (N-acetyl-cysteine) 400 mg twice daily. Boosts glutathione and is a powerful antioxidant. (The Better Brain Book by Dr. David Perlmutter)

Tests can be done to check for adequate levels of vitamins. Eat liver and good homemade
Tests can be done to check for adequate levels of vitamins. Eat liver and good homemade bone
stocks (use to make soups and sauces) regularly.
One of the problems with hemolytic anemia is that iron is released into the blood stream and can
build up to a harmful level. Iron can even be fatal if the levels are high enough. Consequently, iron
supplements should NEVER be given to a G6PDD person without testing for iron levels and
should only be done with a Doctor's supervision. G6PDD people should have their iron levels
tested regularly as iron overload can cause heart and liver problems.
Since digestion of carbohydrates (especially refined sugar, white flour, high fructose corn syrup,
etc) requires G6PD, products containing these ingredients should be limited.
Our bodies cannot convert sulfites to a usable form, therefore sulfites should be
avoided . Sulfur is also necessary for a healthy body and should be obtained from sulfates,
which can be found in garlic and onions, as well as Epsom Salt baths .

List of Legumes for Those With Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (G6PD) Deficiency and Favism

Fava beans are contraindicated for people with G6PD Deficiency, however, many people also react to varying degrees to many or all legumes. Many times the reaction is not a full blown hemolysis where hospitalization is required, but does cause hemolysis of a lesser degree. Over time, these smaller hemolysis events can lead to other more serious complications or related disorders. See Why We Recommend Avoiding Legumes for more information. This list is provided as an aid to those wishing to abstain from all legumes. If you would like more information about legumes and g6pd deficiency, Plants Of Life, Plants Of Death has in interesting discussion.



aduki bean

Madagascar bean

adzuki bean

maicoba bean

anasazi beans

maine Yellow eye

appaloosa bean

mayocoba bean

asuki bean

marrow bean

azufrado bean

mauritius bean

azuki bean

Mexican black bean

baby lima bean

Mexican red bean

bayo bean

molasses face bean

bengal bean

mortgage lifter bean

black azuki bean

mortgage runner bean

black bean

moth dal

black turtle bean

mucuna bean

bolita bean

mucuna pruriens

bonavist bean

mucuna prurita

borlotti bean

mung bean

Boston bean

Boston navy bean

mung pea mungo bean

broad bean

navy bean

brown speckled cow bean


buffalo bean

orca bean

butter bean

pea bean

butterscotch calypso bean

pearl haricot

calypso bean

Peruano bean

canaria bean

Peruvian bean

canario bean


cannellini bean

pink bean

chestnut lima bean

pinto bean

chili bean

pde mico

Christmas lima bean

prince bean


purple appaloosa bean



coco bean-French white bean

rattlesnake bean

coco blanc bean-French white bean

red ball bean

crab eye bean

red bean


red eye bean


red chori


red kidney bean


red Oriental bean

cranberry bean

rice bean

dermason bean

rosecoco bean

Dolichos pruriens

roman bean


runner bean

Egyptian bean


Egyptian white broad bean

salugia bean

English bean

scarlet runner bean

European soldier bean

Setae Siliquae Hirsutae

eye of the goat bean

shell bean


small red bean

fagiolo romano

small white bean

fava bean

soy bean


soya bean



fazolia bean

Spanish black bean

feijao bean

Spanish Tolosana bean


speckled brown cow bean

field pea

Steuben yellow bean


Steuben yellow eye bean


Stizolobium pruriens


Sweet bean

frijo bola roja

Swedish brown bean

frijole negro

tapary bean

Fuji mame

tepary bean


Tiensin red bean

great Northern bean

Tolosana bean

green gram

tongues of fire bean




trout bean

haricot blanc bean

turtle bean

horse bean

turtle soup bean

hyacinth bean

vallarta bean

itchy bean


Indian bean

velvet bean

Jackson wonder bean

wax bean

Jacob's cattle bean

whit bean


white kidney bean

kidney bean

white pea bean

lablab bean

Windsor bean

lima bean

Yankee bean

lingot bean

yellow Indian woman bean

lupini bean

yin yang bean


Snap Beans


asparagus bean


manila bean

princess pea

asparagus pea bodi

romano bean


runner bean



Chinese long bean

snap bean

dau gok

string bean

dow gok

Thailand long bean

dragon tongue bean

wax bean

French bean

winged bean

French green bean

winged pea

four-angled bean

goa bean

yard-long bean

green bean

haricot verts

Italian flat bean

long bean


Edible Pods


Chinese pea pod

mange-tout pea

Chinese pea

snow pea

Chinese snow pea

sugar pea

edible-podded pea

sugar snap


Bean Products


black beans in salted sauce

fermented black bean

black salted fermented bean

frijoles refritos

Chinese black bean

refried beans


salted black bean

dow see


salty black bean




lablab beans

arhar dal

lentilles du Puy

beluga black lentil

lentilles vertes du Puy

beluga lentil

Bengal gram

masar masar dal

black beluga lentil

black chickpeas

masoor masoor dal

black gram


black lentil


brown lentil

moong dal

channa dal


chana dal

mussoor dal

chilke urad

petite beluga lentil

chowli dal

Puy lentil

continental lentil

red lentil




toor dal




tuvar dal



Egyptian lentil

tur dal

French green lentils

urad dal

German lentil

val dal

gram dal

white lentil

green lentil

horse gram

yellow lentil

Indian brown lentil

kala channa

kali dal



Bengal gram

kabuli channa

black-eyed pea

kabli chana

black-eye bean

kabli channa

black-eye pea


black-eyed suzy

locust bean

ceci bean


cici bean

no-eyed peas

China bean

pigeon pea


pois chiches


poor man's pea


Southern pea



white chickpea

yellow pea

congo pea congo bean

yellow matar dal


crowder pea

yellow-eyed pea

dried peas

Egyptian pea

field peas

fresh peas


garbanzo bean

garbanzo pea

garbonzo bean


goongoo pea

green pea green matar dal

green split pea

gunga pea

gungo pea


Soy Products



plant protein


preserved bean curd

aka miso

pressed tofu


protein crumbles


red miso


regular tofu

bamboo yuba

roasted soybeans

barley miso

sendai miso

awase miso

shinshu miso

bean cheese

shiro miso

bean curd


bean curd sheets

silken tofu

bean curd skins

soft tofu

bean curd stick

soy cheese

bean paste

soy mayonnaise

bean sauce

soy milk

bean stick

soy milk skins

brown rice miso

Chinese yuba

soy sour cream soy nuts

dark miso

soy yogurt

deep fat fried tofu

soya cheese

deep-fried tofu

soya mayonnaise


soybean curd

dow fu kon

soybean paper

dried bean curd stick

soybean paste

dried bean stick


extra-firm tofu

soy nut butter

fermented bean cake

soynut butter

fermented bean curd


fermented soy cheese

sweet miso

firm tofu

sweet white miso

foo yu


fried bean curd


fu jook pei

textured soy protein

fu yi

texturized soy protein

fu yu

textured vegetable protein

genmai miso

texturized vegetable protein

hat-cho miso


hatcho miso

tofu mayonnaise

inaka miso

tofu sour cream







kyoto shiro miso


mame miso



medium tofu

usuage vegetable protein

mellow white miso

wet bean curd


white miso

mugi miso

yellow miso


nama nori san





nigari tofu



Vegetable Gum Thickeners

These are either made from legumes, or can be made from legumes

albumin - from peas

Monosodium Glutamate (from soy)

Acacia gum

Tara seed gum

carob bean gum


Flavoring or natural flavoring

Vegetable broth (soy or even fava beans)

gum arabic

vegetable emulsifier

vegetable glycerin

guar gum lecithin

Vegetable gelatin

locust bean gum

vegetable stabilizer


Other Legumes

Alfalfa sprouts


Astragalus (herbal medicine)

Red Tea

Carob (chocolate substitute)

African Red Tea


Senna or Cassia






Vetch Family (Not normally used for food)


Other Foods Likely to Contain Hidden Soy or Legume Additives

Artificial butter flavor

Low fat cheeses or cheese substitutes

Baked goods



Sausages, hot dogs, processed meats

Canned meats or tuna

Sauces (Worcestshire. Sweet and Sour etc)

Canned soups

Salad Dressings


Stock or bouillon

Chinese food


Gravy Mixes


Powdered foods

Infant formula

Why We Recommend Avoiding Legumes

There is a lot of controversy about legumes causing hemolysis in G6PD Deficient patients. In order to address this issue, I will first address the issue of varying degrees of hemolysis.

Low Level Hemolysis

Most doctors and other medical professionals see hemolysis in G6PDD patients as an all or nothing problem. If you don't hemolyze badly enough to send you to the hospital, you're fine. I strongly disagree with this for the following reasons:


If that were true, all hemolytic events would end in death, and this is not correct. The vast

majority of hemolytic events are mild enough for the body to compensate for without intervention. Following this reasoning, it is only logical that hemolysis can happen from very mild to very severe, depending on circumstances such as health, stress, trigger, age, etc. Many people go for years experiencing hemolysis without knowing it. They can have other health issues that eventually lead to the discovery that they have G6PDD, or they eventually have a hemolytic crises. I have received countless emails from people in this category. Their health issues run from liver, heart, blindness, renal, spleen and chronic yellow color to skin, to death in some cases. These problems can occur from early in life to later in life. Many families discover G6PDD runs in their family only after the needless death or serious illness, caused by G6PDD complications, of a family member.

What Causes Hemolysis

Now that we know that hemolysis varies in intensity, let's discuss the cause of hemolysis. When a red blood cell comes into contact with an oxidative substance, an RBC with sufficient G6PD to reduce glutathione will neutralize the oxidative substance rendering it harmless. Those with G6PDD cannot reduce enough glutathione to protect RBCs from damage so, the oxidative substance destroys the RBC. It is my opinion that this happens to everyone with G6PDD, regardless of which variant they have. What is more important than variant is the degree of G6PDD the person has. One person may have more G6PD than another so that person is able to produce more reduced glutathione to protect RBCs than a person with less G6PD. For the purpose of this discussion both less G6PD and less effective G6PD are considered the same.

Legumes and Hemolysis

Now I will discuss legumes. In every contraindicated list I have ever seen, fava beans, or broad beans, are considered contraindicated for all variants of G6PDD, yet some insist that all variants of G6PDD do not exhibit favism. The definition of favism is a condition that causes hemolysis from exposure to fava beans. As of now I have never seen a research paper or other proof as to the exact chemical, or chemicals, in fava beans that cause hemolysis.

Over the past few years, some people using hemoglobin meters have shown that many other legumes also cause hemolysis to varying degrees. Again, it is my opinion that all people react to these substances, but to varying degrees depending on severity of G6PDD, health, etc., as described above.

Because low level hemolysis (or mild hemolysis) is very hard to detect, it is logical that many people believe that they are not reacting to legumes or other substances that cause low level hemolysis. But, low level hemolysis can be very dangerous over time. Our bodies must generate more RBCs to

compensate for the ones that are destroyed and the destroyed RBCs must be cleaned up. This process takes resources needed for healthy bodies, consequently we are more susceptible to other diseases and they can be more severe than when we are not undergoing low level hemolysis.

Medical research is far behind when it comes to legumes and G6PDD. Because I have had so much success in stopping hemolysis by avoiding all legumes and products containing them, I recommend that they be avoided. Hopefully, someday maybe medical research will provide us with more information concerning the exact chemicals they contain that causes hemolysis.

This from a doctor.

Fellow travelers:

How much rat poison do you need in your system to poison your body? How often can you expose yourself to it to become immune? If 100 people are exposed to poison, do all die or bleed overtly? And, those who show no clinical signs of poison are they assumed not harmed in any way? It is funny, once you consume poison regardless of clinical presentation, you get treated because we know in the hospital that damage is done regardless. Poisons are dangerous to humans because we lack the specific enzymes to break them down into non-threatening wastes. Likewise, oxidative stressors are our kryptonite. Superman had enough sense to not only stay away from it but bury it out of his existence. He didn't take any chances. Non of us is super person so we must pay heed.

Not knowing the facts is one thing, but to be exposed to facts and not consider? That is another thing. There seems to be such arrogance in ignorance that it is baffling. Quite a big difference between allergy and enzymopathy. Allergy involves the immune system and the body can be re-trained in a method called de-sensitization. On the other hand, enzyme deficiency or dysfunction is what it is, a lack in functionality. When a deficient body is exposed, there is untoward ramification. Seen or unseen the damage happened. Even, the so called partial deficient female (I call insufficiency) definitely suffers damage as well when exposed. However, the response in her case could be likened to a double engine plane in crisis. When one engine is done, unlike its single engine counterpart, it continues to fly and land with the other. Ask, any seasoned pilot, they'll attest that it is not the most desirable situation and that plane got a problem.

As I read along it seems that no matter what likes of Marion, Dale, John and many others advocate, there will be people who prefer to bury their heads in the sand. There is a cliche that g6pdd is not a serious problem. Cliches are myths and like all myths based on prejudicial ignorance and non-facts. The damning danger is that the group most guilty of perpetuating this myth is no other than those sworn keepers of our health, our physicians. This is not only the irony but a disgrace for their lack of investigative curiosity in this genetic dysfunction. Imagine, this is not only one of the 5 most common newborn genetic disorder but, causes more kernicterus(brain damage due to high bilirubin). Yet, in 2011 we continue to quibble on the merit of newborn testing and transformative education.

If I sound angry it is because I am. The stand that you can eat anything except fava beans is not only ignorant but dangerous. I know because the cold earth instead of my mother's warm arms was all that cuddled my 4 male siblings (two same day) after being exposed to a stressor. My vigilante rescued me from my mom's fate when my oldest son took ill after exposure to mothballs. Ironically, my little study has shown that most babies with g6pdd do not naturally like beans but are taught or forced into acquiring the taste. Nature always has a way of protecting us if we pay heed.

Be well.

Dr. Ogundu