Q. I was addicted to eating cornstarch for ten years. Then I was hospitalized for an unrelated problem and got a blood transfusion.
My doctor also put me on iron and potassium supplements, and my cornstarch cravings completely disappeared. Other people who crave cornstarch should really be tested for anemia so they don’t have to be addicted like I was.
A. We have heard from hundreds of people who crave cornstarch or non-nutritive substances like ice and clay at our website (peoplespharmacy.com). This is called pica. It is often associated with a deficiency of iron, zinc or other minerals. People with celiac disease, which interferes with proper absorption of nutrients, may be at higher risk (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Feb., 1990).