Why Avoid Legumes
There is some controversy about G6PD Deficient people avoiding legumes. In order to address this issue, I will first discuss 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:
- 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 colored skin, to death of a relative in some cases. These problems can occur at any or all stages of life. Many people discover G6PDD runs in their family only after the needless death or serious illness of a family member, which was caused by G6PDD complications.
For more information, see Low Level Hemolysis.
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
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.