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- Dietary Restrictions
Forbidden Food for G6PD Cases
In our family, there has been a rising trend in G6PD diagnosed cases in my 2 nephews and my niece. G6PD is Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase Deficiency. It is a condition inherited and passed on through the X chromosome and is said to be a common deficiency of human enzyme. This deficiency causes red blood cells not to function normally. It may result to hemolytic anemia if the person is exposed to certain medicines, food or even infections.
When we got our first (diagnosed) case of G6PD in the family, it seemed so unreal. Since we didn’t have prior experience of this deficiency, we didn’t know how to react. What made it worse was that our first case was classified as “severe”, that is, exposure to the prohibited medicines and food may cause death to the child. So we started educating ourselves about this deficiency. We found out which medicines were not allowed on the child, and even which vitamins should not be taken in excess. Most of all, we found out which food was not allowed for the G6PD child. Our research has led us to the following food generally not allowed for them:
A Link on G6PD
- G6PD DEFICIENCY INFORMATION WEBSITE
G6PD Deficiency, a disorder affecting the X-chromosome, was once thought to affect only men. G6PD Deficiency is now known to affect women much more than originally thought.
Fava Beans. This is the number one “no-no” food for the child and has been proven to trigger the symptoms. This is so related to the deficiency that G6PD may be sometimes referred to as “favism” in reference to this food.
Legumes. Beans, black beans, etc., this is another group of foods that must be avoided by children / adults with G6PD.
Soya or Soy. This is an additive to some common food that we eat, including ice cream, burgers, pizzas, chocolate, doughnuts and other food products. It may go by different names but it is definitely one of those food or food additives that should be avoided if one has G6PD.
Peanuts. Peanuts (in particular) and legumes (in general) are found everywhere, including peanut butter, cereals, sauces and salad dressings. Legumes are vegetables and are, supposed to be, in general, good for ones’ health. Peanuts are known as “brain food” and are becoming more popular with recently-discovered antioxidant qualities. But for G6PD cases, avoiding these foods is highly recommended.
Menthol-Flavored Candies and Food. People with G6PD are not advised to not only eat menthol-flavored candies and food, they are not allowed to inhale this substance as well! Menthol can be found in various candies, in mouthwashes, toothpaste and gums. For children with G6PD, it is doubly hard to avoid menthol-flavored candies but avoiding these is not a matter of choice for them but a matter of survival.
Note There are times when these food can be found as ingredients in certain processed foods. Like peanuts in chocolates or soy added as meat extenders or in butter. The key here is to read the ingredients carefully to check for these food. When you see them, avoid these food at all cost. Better to be safe than sorry.
The above are the food my nephews and niece are not allowed to eat. They are a lot fewer than the medications not allowed for people with G6PD (the list of medications is almost one page long while the above is like only a half page) but they are no less dangerous. Knowing this has made us more conscious in terms of reading food labels and checking the ingredients. The children are also taught at a very young age to choose the food that they eat (my two and a half year old niece already knows that she cannot eat peanuts!). Lastly, their parents made sure that the people around them (especially their doctors, teachers and classmates) were advised that these children need to avoid certain foods. This is to ensure that we gain their cooperation. Children with G6PD may grow up to live healthy, normal lives and this is what we hope for them (my nephews and niece) as they grow older and more adept in handling their deficiency.
Note: The facts I wrote here are all based on consultations with my niece / nephew's pediatrician and the websites I have provided links to on the right side of my hub. Although the Internet is a great place to look for information on G6PD, my advice is still to consult your child's doctor. G6PD may be relatively unknown for people outside the medicine profession but I have found that, in general, doctors are very well aware of this condition.