G6PD Deficiency Foods to Avoid List

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Information PacketSome of these foods to avoid are commonly eaten around the world and can cause people with G6PD Deficiency to hemolyze and can even 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.

Thank you so much for your help! I have been reading your website and have your book for some time now. My dr recommended it after my son was diagnosed almost 5 years ago.

— Chelsea

Fava Beans and other legumes

Our list of legumes 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.”

Tonic water

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

Gluten Free Products

These are not prohibited, but are mentioned because some of these, like flour, etc. have fava beans in them. Be sure the check the label for legumes before you purchase or eat them.

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, Gan Cao (licorice root).

Black and Green Tea and extracts

Research has shown that these products significantly reduce reduced glutathione levels among other things in people with G6PDD. See article 55 on the references page.

G6PD Deficiency Foods to Avoid List was last modified: September 19th, 2015 by Dale Baker

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