Folate deficiency in patients seeking treatment of alcohol use disorder

Arantza Sanvisens, Paola Zuluaga, Miriam Pineda, Daniel Fuster, Ferran Bolao, Jordi Juncà, Jordi Tor, Robert Muga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017 Elsevier B.V. Introduction Nutritional deficiency is frequent in patients with an alcohol use disorder (AUD). We aimed to analyze serum and erythrocyte folate deficiency in a case series of patients that initiated treatment of AUD. Patients and methods A cross-sectional study in patients admitted for detoxification between 2007 and 2015 was performed. Sociodemographic characteristics, history of alcohol consumption, type of alcohol, and medical co-morbidity were assessed at admission. Blood samples for biochemistry and hematological parameters were collected at admission. Logistic regression models were used to establish predictors of folate deficiency. Results 211 patients (79.1% men) were eligible; age at admission was 46 years [IQR:40-51], and the amount of alcohol consumption was of 160 g/day [IQR:120-200]. Thirty four percent of patients had macrocytosis (MCV > 100 fL), 12.8% had anemia, 23% of cases presented with serum folate deficiency and 7% presented with erythrocyte folate deficiency. Most (69%) of the patients with serum folate deficiency had normal erythrocyte folate levels. In univariate analysis, macrocytosis (OR = 3.4, 95%CI:1.7-6.6), alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD) (OR = 2.5, 95%CI:1.0-6.1) and drinking alcoholic beverages other than beer (OR = 3.3, 95%CI:1.5-7.3) were associated with folate deficiency. However, only macrocytosis was significantly associated with serum folate deficiency in multivariate analysis (OR = 3.1, 95%CI:1.1-8.9). Macrocytosis (P < 0.001), ARLD (P = 0.01) and the type of alcohol consumption (P < 0.001) were factors associated with erythrocyte folate deficiency in univariate analysis. In multivariate analysis only macrocytosis remained significantly associated to erythrocyte folate deficiency (P = 0.037). Conclusion Folate deficiency is a relatively frequent finding in contemporary, middle-aged patients with AUD, and macrocytosis is significantly associated with the deficiency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-422
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Folate deficiency
  • Macrocytosis
  • Type of alcohol


Dive into the research topics of 'Folate deficiency in patients seeking treatment of alcohol use disorder'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this