APR 02, 2017 05:18 PM PDT

Why Fava Beans can be Deadly

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch
3 4 476

Fava beans can trigger a bad reaction in some people, but it has nothing to do with allergies. Instead a compound in the beans can result in a rapid breakdown of red blood cells, which ferry oxygen around the body. As such, not enough oxygen gets to the organs. This break down of red blood cells is called hemolytic anemia, and symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue and jaundice. In very severe cases, death can result.

This all happens because some people don't have enough of a certain enzyme called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, or G6PD. That enzyme helps deal with a particular class of chemicals called reactive oxygen species, and consuming fava beans leads to a buildup of those chemicals.

Learn more about the other characteristics of G6PD deficiency from the video; it was discovered when researchers were developing a drug for malaria. There is an interesting connection between the deficiency and the disease as well, discussed in the final minute of the brief video.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
JUL 15, 2018
Videos
JUL 15, 2018
Meet the Rare Binary Asteroid Recently Confirmed by NASA
Astronomers first became aware of an asteroid called YE5 in December of 2017, but something seemed odd about it after they were unable to discern its physi
JUL 26, 2018
Videos
JUL 26, 2018
Most Military Deaths Are Not From Combat
Since 2006, 16,000 military service members have died while on active duty. While some were killed in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, 72% of those deaths o
JUL 28, 2018
Videos
JUL 28, 2018
Separating Microbial Fact From Fiction
Can the toilet really send germs flying to your toothbrush?
AUG 08, 2018
Videos
AUG 08, 2018
Pesticide Use in Cannabis Farming
What's the first thing you do when you get home with freshly bought fruits and vegetables? You wash them off to make sure they are clean and free of re
AUG 08, 2018
Videos
AUG 08, 2018
Different Strains Different Effects
 A geographical split in the cannabis population is the main factor is the taxonomic differences between Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa. The diff
AUG 13, 2018
Videos
AUG 13, 2018
Some Ways of Healing the Brain Actually Damage It
Fixing the body usually involves “doing no harm” since that is part of the Hippocratic Oath doctors take. However, to repair the brain, sometim
Loading Comments...