Background/purpose: Oral submucous fibrosis (OSF) is a progressive fibrotic oral mucosal disease associated with betel quid chewing. This study evaluated whether Taiwanese male OSF patients with folic acid (FA) deficiency (the serum FA level ≤6 ng/mL, so-called FA-deficient OSF patients) had high frequencies of blood hemoglobin (Hb) and serum iron and vitamin B12 deficiencies, and serum gastric parietal cell antibody (GPCA) positivity. Materials and methods: The blood Hb and serum iron, vitamin B12, FA, and GPCA concentrations in 59 Taiwanese male FA-deficient OSF patients were measured and compared with the corresponding data in 118 age-matched healthy male control subjects. Results: We found that 3 (5.1%), 35 (59.3%), and 7 (11.9%) of the 59 FA-deficient OSF patients had blood Hb (<13 g/dL) and serum vitamin B12 (≤450 pg/mL) deficiencies, and serum GPCA positivity, respectively. Furthermore, 59 FA-deficient OSF patients had significantly higher frequencies of serum vitamin B12 deficiency and serum GPCA positivity than 118 healthy control subjects (all P-values <0.05). Of the 3 anemic FA-deficient OSF patients, one had macrocytic anemia and the other two had thalassemia trait-induced anemia. Conclusion: We conclude that Taiwanese male FA-deficient OSF patients have high frequencies of serum vitamin B12 deficiency and GPCA positivity than healthy control subjects. The vitamin B12 and FA deficiencies in FA-deficient OSF patients are more likely due to OSF symptoms and signs-caused insufficient intake, difficulty in chewing and swallowing, and malabsorption of food fragment-bound vitamin B12 and FA rather than the GPCA positivity in these OSF patients.
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