Q. I have developed an addiction to crushed ice in the last year. I crave it and consume three to four huge cups of ice a day.
One of my friends said my body must be missing something it needs, and that’s what is causing this problem. Do you have any suggestions?

A. The crushed ice craving you describe falls into the category of pica, seeking and eating a “non-food substance.” Even though ice might be considered food, your level of craving is unusual and probably does signal some deficiency. Ask your doctor to check your iron and zinc levels. Correcting the deficiency usually eliminates the craving.

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  1. M.SAID
    Reply

    I have been chewing ice as long as I remember along with my mother. It drives everybody around me crazy except my husband who makes sure I have a glass full of ice whenever we are out. Bless his heart.
    I have been always anaemic all my life. I can’t take iron supplements because my tummy does not get along with them. I have been trying to eat raw spinach regularly which helps me feel better but If I miss a day or two my craving come right back.
    A week ago while I was at WHOLE FOODS MARKET supplement shelves I came across MEGA FOOD BLOOD BUILDER. It was quite pricy but I decided to give it a try. I could see a different just within a week. My ice cravings have gone and I have more energy.

  2. Pat S.
    Reply

    I went to Arkansas in June (2013) I started getting sick halfway through the week–flu like, but also my legs hurt, after only walking a very short distance(I’m usually a very quick paced walker) –hard to walk fast like I usually do..Since then, I have been to the doctor 5 times, with flu like conditions, and continual coughing… Now I’m craving crushed ice. I’m 61 years old and have never experienced these things before. I want to get rid of these things, want to get back to feeling like me. What do you suggest? thankyou for listening :-)

  3. Desiree' Young
    Reply

    I personally have been eating ice almost my entire life and was also diagnosed w/ anemia.. Even taking an Iron supplement I still crave crushed ice and often joke about moving to Alaska just to eat the snow. When it snows here after the first or second snow I’ll actually put out a bowl to catch the snow just so I can eat it. I go through two 20lb bags of ice a month just to eat my crushed ice. I crave it everyday, and have no answer for it.

  4. GMB
    Reply

    Hi..I see the last post was a year ago but I just wanted to say that I’ve been eating crushed ice for about a year. My lower eyelids are very pale and I am so tired all the time.
    My doc did a blood test and my thyroid numbers are low. I’m type 2 diabetic. I will be seeing my doc soon again with an ultrasound of my thyroid in hand.
    I never knew how much of a big part the thyroid plays in our bodies. The thyroid seems to be involved in all of our cells.
    I have a few weeks to wait for my doc appt but I am taking Geritol liquid once a day and it is giving me energy.
    I have been feeling so tired and uninterested in anything except sitting in a recliner, watching TV, and sleeping. Since I started taking the Geritol about five days ago I have a little pep in my step. My eyelids are getting a little pinker and hopefully we will get the thyroid and whatever else is the problem.
    I am a 64 year old female having gone through “forced” menopause when I was 30.
    Peoples Pharmacy response: Be sure to ask the doctor to check for anemia. It sounds as though you are aware that this could be the source of your craving for crushed ice.

  5. J.A
    Reply

    Hi
    I am writing from Kenya where quite a lot of women eat clay. It is even packaged and sold at the supermarkets. Women whether pregenat or not go through these two hundred gram packs of dirt at an alarming pace. I was one of these then I went to the doctor who said I was anaemic but that did not work and the cravings just got more intense during my periods and after.
    I went back to the doctor and he put me on a zinc supplement for a while and the cravings for clay dissapeared. I guess what I am trying to say is women do seem susceptible to cravings when we have mineral deficiencies and it does not matter which part of the world we come from :-)

  6. paula zoe b.
    Reply

    With regard to the person who wrote on Sept. 23 of ice cravings, I can offer a personal experience. When I went through menopause, I began craving hard candy and ice – regardless of the fact that it was winter in Wisconsin I took a glass of ice cubes with me in the car everywhere. I thought it strange as I had never wanted ice nor hard candy, in fact. Only after I was through the “active” phase of menopause did I realize one day that I no longer wanted either. Later I found info on such cravings in some women during menopause. Of course, I do not know the gender or age of your questioner, but thought this might be of interest.

  7. Niw
    Reply

    I also developed a craving for ice. It drove my husband crazy since I would chew it when ever I had an iced drink, and that was constantly. It turned out that I was extremely iron deficient secondary to undetected celiac disease. Once the celiac was diagnosed and as soon as my iron was replaced, the craving disappeared.

  8. s.h.
    Reply

    I am glad this subject was posted. I have wanted to say that as a pre-teen and teen, I craved chewing ice. -years later on my first visit with a new dentist, he exclaimed,”Oh, I see that you used to chew ice. You have the hairline cracks to prove it!”
    I had read that ice cravings usually were low zinc, or usually iron. A few years ago, as I was going through my parents things, I came across a box with my childhood medical records. There, right in front of me, was proof: I was anemic during those years.
    I put this subject to the test, when I would get songs stuck in my mind. I am a musician, and sometimes songs would get hung up in my mind. It happens to a lot of people! I thought that if pica could occur because of low iron, maybe it would stop repeating songs…. I just took an over the counter iron dose, then just forgot about it. After a short time, the songs stopped. (this only happens maybe twice a year, but is bothersome. Taking a dose of iron stops it.) The worst song to get hung up is “on the road again”. Haha

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