Today was an interesting day as work days go. I was working on this website and searching the web for information about why legumes cause hemolysis. They do and I know that because people have proven it by using hemoglobin meters to check for hemolysis after eating them. I have also read from medical research about the suspicion of other foods besides fava beans that cause hemolysis and people with G6PD Deficiency get a lot better when they stop eating them. What I don’t know, is why.
The standard answer about fava beans is that convicine and vicine (proteins found in fava beans) are the culprits. But they are not found in other legumes and they also do not explain why fava bean pollen can cause hemolysis. So what is it about legumes that is causing oxidative stress.
Another term for oxidative stress is free radicals which have gotten a lot of press in recent years as causing cancer and aging. So after searching for the usual G6PD Deficiency and legumes and oxidative stress and getting nowhere I tried legumes and free radicals. It is amazing what using the right search terms can get you. In this case, a whole new concept.
There were several interesting things that came up in the search, but the first result caught my eye because it was on the NIH’s website and it was dated 1992. Twenty one years ago. The title is Transition metals in legume root nodules: iron-dependent free radical production increases during nodule senescence. What in the devil is senescence? Turns out it means aging.
Okay, so we have free radical production that is dependent on the presence of iron in legumes. So now this article has my full attention, and here’s why.
One of the things that is released during hemolysis is iron. That is one of the reasons we aren’t supposed to take iron supplements. What if legumes are reacting to the iron in our bodies to create free radicals?
Now I’m no scientist, I’m not even a doctor, but sometimes I really wish I were one of them because this is the first thing I have read that makes any sense and I would love to know if it is true. It would answer a whole lot of questions and help us identify what foods act as triggers and why. Which is the first step in fixing the problem.
Here is my plea. If there are any medical people reading this post, would you please explain this to me or perhaps investigate this further? I would really like to know why legumes are acting as triggers. Maybe there is a way to stop it from happening. First, we have to understand why legumes cause hemolysis.