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Acupuncture and G6PD Deficiency

Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (G6PD) Deficiency (also known as favism) is a genetic condition which is prevalent among people of Mediterranean origin, as well as other ethnic groups. Medical research has identified nine subtypes of this condition. Some of these subtypes can cause very significant problems, while others cause symptoms which are mild or not noticeable. Because the condition can range widely in its severity of symptoms, many people may live their entire lives being unaware that they have this condition.

In patients with clinically significant symptoms of G6PD deficiency, there is a risk of anemia due to rapid destruction of red blood cells, called hemolytic anemia. If severe, this situation may in some cases lead to kidney failure, because the kidneys are unable to process the hemoglobin within red blood cells.

Patients with this condition may experience a worsening of symptoms after exposure to certain foods (in particular, fava beans), as well as medications, infections, or chemicals. Exposure to these items causes the body to use up its stores of glutathione, a chemical used in detoxification processes. Normally, the enzyme G6PD has a role in restoring those levels to healthy amounts, but in patients with this condition, the enzyme functions less efficiently.

Clinical symptoms of this condition are caused by 1) inefficient recycling of glutathione (a substance involved in cellular detoxification), and 2) buildup of glucose, as the body is less able to chemically convert glucose-6-phosphate to 6-phosphoglucono-δ-lactone. Both of these processes are required for normal metabolism within cells. This buildup of glucose may in some patients lead to complications such as diabetes.

Many people with G6PD deficiency will learn about their condition after having their first occurrence of symptoms. At that point, the patient will usually also learn about foods to avoid. Many symptoms will be under control when the patient avoids these triggers.

However, certain pharmaceutical treatments can worsen this condition through causing oxidative stress. In general, as people get older, it is not uncommon for people to take multiple medications for several different health conditions. Therefore, a natural or non-pharmaceutical approach to health can be greatly supportive for patients with G6PD deficiency.

During treatment for G6PD deficiency, it may be necessary to address other conditions. We will create an integrated treatment strategy for your unique concerns. We welcome the opportunity to partner with you, and with your other medical providers, in order to help you reach the best possible outcome for your health.

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About Maryland Holistics

Maryland Holistics LLC is the private practice of Dr. Eric Windsor, D.Ac., L.Ac. Our serene, professional office is located in Ellicott City, MD. Maryland Holistics has provided care to thousands of satisfied customers since opening in 2009. Dr. Windsor is a preferred provider in the CareFirst, Blue Cross Blue Shield, GEHA, and United Healthcare networks.

3525 Ellicott Mills Dr., Ste E
Ellicott City, MD 21043
Phone: 301-588-5858
Fax: 443-308-5690