G6PD Deficiency can cause or contribute to the metabolic issues discussed below which can be lessened through proper diet. By being aware of these issues you can make better informed decisions about the food you eat. The G6PD Deficiency diet should focus on obtaining the 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 in avoiding contraindicated foods, drugs and other substances.
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), 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 alphabetically.
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. 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.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 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.
For more information, see The Dangers of Iron Overload in G6PD Deficient People
Since the changing of carbohydrates (especially refined sugar, white flour, high fructose corn syrup, etc) into a useable form requires G6PD, products containing these ingredients should be limited. Diabetes is also prevalent in G6PDD people, which is another reason to limit refined carbohydrates.
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.