GLUCOSE-6-PHOSPHATE DEHYDROGENASE (G6PD) DEFICIENCY

 

Written by Slawomir Gromadzki, MPH

WHAT IS G6PD DEFICIENCY

G6PDs (glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase) deficiency is a genetic disorder that affects red blood cell enzyme.  It interferes with the ability of red blood cells to provide body cells with enough oxygen, causing a variety of symptoms related to anaemia. In this case, anaemia is caused by increased hemolysis or destruction of red blood cells, due to a defect in the glucose-6-phosphate enzyme. The more severe form of this condition is called favism.

PREVALENCE

Worldwide, around 400 million people have the genetic disorder called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency. It almost always occurs in males.

SYMPTOMS

Many people with G6PD deficiency don’t experience any symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they include especially weakness and fatigue. Symptoms may be also associated with weaker immunity.

By avoiding certain problematic foods and drugs and by supporting the immune system those with G6PD can significantly lower their risk for complications.

CAN NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS AND HERBS BE USED IN G6PD DEFICIENCY

Concerning questions about taking multivitamins and other nutritional supplements by adults and children with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, according to what I have found, there are contradicting opinions. Some sources suggest that supplements with vitamin C shouldn’t be recommended in this condition (unfortunately, almost all multivitamins contain vitamin C).

On the other hand, there are publications that claim there is no evidence for the above to be true. Here is a quote from one review study conclusion: “The review showed that there was insufficient evidence to contravene the use of most herbal or dietary products at therapeutic doses in G6PD deficient subjects…. No evidence of harm was observed for vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, Gingko biloba and α‐lipoic acid” (>).
Taking into consideration the above contradicting information, if you decide to try multivitamins and other nutritional supplements that contain vitamin C, I would suggest to start from a very small amount such as 1/5 of a tablet and if well tolerated, I would increase to 1/3 of tablet after about 24 hours, and so on until 1 whole tablet per day.
Another option is to try taking vitamins and minerals separately (to avoid vitamin C).
Since adults and children with this condition are at higher risk of infections, the following would be the priority supplements: vitamin D3, zinc, selenium, magnesium, B12, alpha lipoic acid, black seed oil (Nigella sativa), astragalus, etc.
To fight anaemia, and tiredness I would also try organic chlorella as it is the best natural energy booster.
Whatever nutritional supplement or herb you decide to try, the initial dosage of individual nutrients and chlorella should be very small and gradually increase if well-tolerated.
SYMPTOMATIC TREATMENT

To boost energy, treat anaemia and other symptoms use the same nutritional supplements (especially chlorella, B12, D3, magnesium, etc.) described in the article on SICKLE CELL ANAEMIA >

MEDICATIONS TO AVOID

The best way to avoid symptoms due to G6PD deficiency is to limit exposure to the triggers including the following:

  • Aspirin
  • Anti-malarial drugs
  • NSAIDs painkillers (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • Drugs with “sulf” in the name and products containing sulfites (not the same as sulphates/sulfates)
  • Quinine and drugs with “quin” in their name
  • Brinzolamide
  • Sulfadimidine
  • Furazolidone
  • Dimercaprol

FOODS & DRINKS TO AVOID

  • Fava beans and possibly other legumes
  • Soy products (tofu, miso, tempeh, etc.)
  • Vitamin C supplements and foods high in vitamin C (although the above study couldn’t find scientific proof for this)
  • Menthol
  • Foods with artificial blue dyes
  • Tonic water
  • Blueberries
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Any information or product suggested on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. Consult your primary healthcare physician before using any supplements or making any changes to your regime.