What is favism?
Toxicity of broad bean
CHARACTERISTICS OF BROAD BEANS
A drawing of the plant
Scientific noun: Vicia Faba L.
Common noun: Broad bean, fava bean, , field bean, bell bean, tic bean, horse bean etc
Family: Pea family- Leguminosae
Habitat: Native from Asia. Cultivated.
Active principles: Amines (tyrosine, vicine, tiramine, dioxifenilalanine and convicine)
Active parts: Seeds and pollen, but sometimes the whole plant. Horse bean variety (Vicia faba var. equina) equina and Vicia faba var. angustifolia, mainly used as animal food, but equally edible, are the main responsible for cases of favism by ingestion.
PROPERTIES OF BROAD BEANS
Edible food: Broad beans are used as human food and as animal food
Medicinal values: diuretic and depurative. (More information)
Are broad beans toxic?
Broad beans are not toxic for people, except for people suffering from favism, in which case, they are very toxic.
Fruits of broad bean (Vicia faba L.)
What is favism?
Favism is a medical condition that seems to have an inherited origin and affects certain populations in Africa, Southeast Asia or the Mediterranean, especially on the island of Sardinia. It arises after ingestion of pollen or fruits of broad beans.
How does favism take place?
Because of lack of an enzyme, certain components of faba beans can not be decomposed . They are toxic and cause breakage of the blood cells.
The enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) is responsible for breaking down certain toxic found in beans (especially on broad beans). Toxic amines convicine and vicine are degraded in the gut into isouramil and divicine. When these amines can not be metabolized, they are toxic and cause a breakdown of red blood cells (hemolytic anemia).
Photo of Vicia fava
Symptoms of favism
Some initial symptoms of favism are a dark micturition, jaundice and the feeling of permanent tiredness. Given this possibility, especially, if there is family history of this condition, it is advised to conduct a blood test.
Treatment of favism
The best treatment includes not to eat this food and take it away to prevent pollen inhalation. Some patients could need blood transfusion in more severe cases of anemia.
Other times the ingestion of other legumes has triggered favism in people with similar reactions.
More information about plants in the listing above.
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This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.