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Curing Anemia Overcame Cornstarch Craving

Curing Anemia Overcame Cornstarch Craving

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).

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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