The G6PD Test is a simple test for levels of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD), a naturally occurring enzyme. An enzyme is a type of protein that’s important for cell function, and this particular enzyme helps protect blood cells.
G6PD helps red blood cells function normally. It also protects them from oxidative stressors and other potentially harmful byproducts that can accumulate during a fever or infection, when you take certain medications, or when you eat certain foods including fava beans. A lack of G6PD may make red blood cells more vulnerable to breaking down in a process called hemolysis.
A G6PD deficiency is an inherited genetic disorder. It’s most common in men of African, Asian, or Mediterranean descent. It’s the result of X-linked recessive transmission, which means it’s much more likely to affect men as opposed to women.
While most people who are affected by G6PD deficiencies have experienced severe symptoms and likely have been diagnosed before, the test is still required for doses of Vitamin C over 25 grams. Higher doses of Vitamin C act as powerful natural antioxidants, but levels of G6PD outside of the normal range can turn these anti-oxidative treatments into oxidative stressors. To prevent this reversal, it is best to be certain of your G6PD enzyme levels prior to receiving these natural yet powerful treatments.