Do favic patients resume fava beans ingestion later in their life, a study for this, and a new hypothesis for favism etiology

Hematol Oncol Stem Cell Ther. 2013 Mar;6(1):9-13. doi: 10.1016/j.hemonc.2013.03.002. Epub 2013 Mar 22.


Background and objectives: The etiology of favism remains unclear and the fate of favic patients has not previously been studied. Therefore, individuals who had experienced an episode of favism were studied regarding subsequent fava bean ingestion, including the reason for fava bean ingestion after the initial favic attack and any adverse reactions. In addition, a new hypothesis for the etiology of favism is proposed.

Patients and methods: From June 2005 to June 2012, a total of 38 patients with a history of favism were included in this study. Circumstances regarding the initial favic attack were obtained from medical records and patient interviews, and subsequent fava bean ingestion and recurrence of symptoms were investigated.

Results: Three of the 38 patients (7.9%) were female, and 35 (92.1%) were male. The mean age was 27.9 years (14-63 years). The first attack of favism occurred before 10 years of age for 31 patients (81.6%) and in the springtime for 35 patients (92.1%). Thirty-three patients (86.7%) regularly ate fava beans before the attack, and 35 (92.1%) resumed eating fava beans within 1-17 years after the attack without symptoms. Two patients (5.2%) experienced a single recurrence of symptoms. No evidence of hemolysis was found in the four patients checked after fava bean re-ingestion.

Conclusions: Patients resumed eating fava bean for various reasons, and the recurrence of symptoms was uncommon. An infectious agent such as a virus may play a role in the development of favism.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Eating
  • Favism / diagnosis
  • Favism / etiology*
  • Favism / genetics
  • Female
  • Glucosephosphate Dehydrogenase / genetics
  • Glucosephosphate Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pollen / adverse effects
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seasons
  • Vicia faba / adverse effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Glucosephosphate Dehydrogenase