Last update Oct. 4, 2020

Fava beans

Low Risk

Moderately safe. Probably compatible. Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended. Read the Comment.

A herbaceous leguminous plant whose seeds are used in food.

They contain substances such as vicin and convicin, which are metabolized to products with a powerful oxidizing action and which can trigger hemolytic anemia crises when ingested by people with a certain type of Glucose-6-Phosphate-Dehydrogenase (G6FD) deficiency, therefore this disease is also known as favism (Belsey 1973).

Numerous cases of severe hemolytic crisis have been reported in G6FD-deficient breastfed infants after their mothers have eaten fava beans (Kaplan 1998, Schiliro 1979, Kattamis 1971, Taj-Eldin 1971, Emanuel 1961, Casper 1956).

Breastfeeding mothers with a personal or family history of G6FD deficiency or with infants diagnosed with this disease should not eat fava beans.

Given the high global prevalence of G6FD deficiency (Nkhoma 209), higher in certain ethnicities, it may be prudent to generally recommend that breastfeeding mothers avoid eating fava beans (Wennberg 2017).


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Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

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References

  1. Wennberg RP, Watchko JF, Shapiro SM. Maternal Empowerment - An Underutilized Strategy to Prevent Kernicterus? Curr Pediatr Rev. 2017;13(3):210-219. Abstract Full text (in our servers)
  2. Nkhoma ET, Poole C, Vannappagari V, Hall SA, Beutler E. The global prevalence of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Blood Cells Mol Dis. 2009 May-Jun;42(3):267-78. Abstract
  3. Kaplan M, Vreman HJ, Hammerman C, Schimmel MS, Abrahamov A, Stevenson DK. Favism by proxy in nursing glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase-deficient neonates. J Perinatol. 1998 Nov-Dec;18(6 Pt 1):477-9. Abstract
  4. Schiliro G, Russo A, Curreri R, Marino S, Sciotto A, Russo G. Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency in Sicily. Incidence, biochemical characteristics and clinical implications. Clin Genet. 1979 Feb;15(2):183-8. Abstract
  5. Belsey MA. The epidemiology of favism. Bull World Health Organ. 1973;48(1):1-13. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  6. Kattamis C. Favism in breast-fed infants. Arch Dis Child. 1971 Oct;46(249):741. No abstract available. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  7. Taj-Eldin S. Favism in breast-fed infants. Arch Dis Child. 1971 Feb;46(245):121-3. No abstract available. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  8. EMANUEL B, SCHOENFELD A. Favism in a nursing infant. J Pediatr. 1961 Feb;58:263-6. No abstract available. Abstract
  9. CASPER J, SHULMAN J. Bilateral cortical necrosis of the kidneys in an infant with favism. Am J Clin Pathol. 1956 Jan;26(1):42-7. No abstract available. Abstract

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