G6PD Deficiency Foods to Avoid List

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Some 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.

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

Some of these, like flour, etc. have fava beans in them. Be sure the check the label for legumes before you purchase of 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.

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 — 28 Comments

  1. Hello to everyone. I found out vitamin K contains in a lot of foods like dried Basil, dried Тymus (used for tea and seasoning), Kale, onions, Brussels Sprouts, cucumbers, olive oil, prunes, and even cabbage. Should my son avoid them?

    Also my son will start going to a daycare center and every week they have once a week Fagopyrum mixed with lentils, and also beans without the skins. Can he try eating few spoons and then if there no symptoms of getting anemia to eat them just once a week or the risk is not worth trying?

    My son has also allergies to some foods and he will not be able to eat a lot of the foods at the daycare. He had blood transfusion once when he was 1 year old and 8 months due to g6pd and we didn’t find the reason because he wasn’t sick and didn’t have any foods or medications of the list in your site in the period of one week before he got hemolic anemia. The only reason I can think of was that he was leaking the top coding of wooden items that were not designed for kids and other cheap plastic baby toys.

    • Natural vitamin K in foods is okay.

      Most of the time reactions are not noticeable. A reaction has to be pretty severe before you will see symptoms. So, no I would not allow consumption of triggers in any amount.

      Be careful what you allow your son to play with. Remember that what goes on your skin, goes in your body. Also, being around moth balls and even fava beans can cause reactions for some people.

      All the best,

      • Just trying to verify..you are saying to avoid , basil, onions and olive oil?

        Next i put words in the above to reference and everything says legume=(whatever word i put in)
        then it reads not contra indicated even when it is a bad food for g6pd…

        And asking..is peppermint essential oil from a reputable company ok or to be avoided?

        • NOOO. It says legume = whatever (a repeat of what you entered). Under that it will give you a link to the record or it will say whatever is not in our contraindicated list and is safe as far as we know. That means it is okay to eat.

  2. Good day Mr. Dale Baker! My son, 1year 3months old, is also a G6PD deficient. You mentioned that sulfites should also be avoided. I researched some foods containing them and it includes baked items, bottled lime and lemon juice,frozen or canned foods or veggies, cornmeal and cornstarch, crackers, sauces like ketchup and mustard, processed meat like hotdogs and sausage, dried fruits and veggies like raisins,dried spices and herbs, tea, fresh grapes, jams, lettuce, fruit and veggie juices, chips and candy,prepared potatoes like fries, prepARed rice and noodle mixes, soy products, processed tomato, vinegar, fish and shellfish (source: http://www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com/foods-for a-baby-with-G6PD-deficiency.html) Should all these foods really be avoided especially the fish? Hope to hear from you Sir coz this is really freaking me out.. =( Thank you!

    • Jane,
      It can be daunting until you get the hang of it. Organic foods are much better and are not supposed to contain sulfites. You may do better shopping at health food stores. I used to go to the store and leave empty handed more times than I left with something. Prepared foods are usually not good for us. Making your own from scratch is much better, better tasting, and cheaper than buying prepared foods. Make more than you need and freeze it in amounts you would use. Another thing you will notice if your whole family follows the diet is that everyone will feel better and as the cook, you will be the hero. :)

      All the best,

  3. Hi! Good Day! I just want to confirm if Moringa Oleifera also known as drumstick tree or Malunggay (here in the Philippines) is not good for G6pdd? I have tried searching it on the food to avoid list but no records were found. I avoided malunggay since my baby was born. But yesterday in her school, the children was given a juice with malunggay on it. Is malunggay / Moringa Oleifera bad for people with g6pd? Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you!

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