Understand how metabolism works
The metabolism is like the operating system of a computer. It is composed of chemical reactions that occur in our body as if they were computer programs. There are programs to send messages, improve photographs or do mathematical calculations, as well as chemical reactions to adjust body temperature, transmit messages to neurons or release glucose in the blood when we are "low battery".
Each animal has its own metabolism, just like each computer model has its own operating system. Therefore, humans can not dissolve cellulose, while other animals, such as cows, can. These own metabolic reactions in each animal species are stored in the hard disk of the cells, that is, the genes .
But just as, on occasion, a pen drive is defective at the factory or error occurs when loading some information, some people do not have the gene that makes the protein (called enzyme ) capable of controlling a specific chemical reaction. This leads to some people suffering from congenital diseases .
Among these deficiencies we find some lactose intolerances, the inability to digest alcohol, the diseases to accumulate iron (hemochromatosis) or copper (Wilson) and the lack of "glucose 6 phosphate dehydrogenase" in red blood cells, which is commonly called " favism ".
How is favism triggered?
The hemoglobin of the red blood cells is responsible for transporting oxygen, which would be oxidized if not for a substance called G6FD (glucose 6 phosphate dehydrogenase). This substance, therefore, prevents the hemoglobin from oxidizing with the oxygen it carries. In people with favism , the lack of G6FD causes hemoglobin to oxidize and break down, causing anemia .
There are foods and drugs especially oxidants , such as aspirin or beans , capable of triggering a sudden anemia. Rupture of red blood cells releases bilirubin , a yellowish bile pigment that floods the blood and is therefore responsible for the yellowing of the skin and conjunctiva in patients with favism.
For this reason, there are many patients who confuse favism with acute hepatitis. Even so, the gastroenterologist must be able to think of a deficit of antioxidant substance (glucose 6 phosphate dehydrogenase).
How to treat favism?
This disease remits on its own, with a normally rapid recovery, as long as the patient does not repeat the exposure to these oxidizing foods.. In addition to aspirin and fava beans , pollen inhalation , goat's milk fed by beans and other drugs that could contain the plant in its composition should be avoided.