Folate Deficiency Causes, Symptoms & More

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By shirley
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Reviewed: dr. vanta
Article Sources Article Sources
  • 1. Folate Deficiency (Folic Acid Deficiency) By Larry E. Johnson, et al. 'Folate Deficiency - Disorders of Nutrition.' Merck Manuals Consumer Version, Merck Manuals, www.merckmanuals.com/home/disorders-of-nutrition/vitamins/folate-deficiency.
  • 2. 'Folate-Deficiency Anemia.' Johns Hopkins Medicine, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/folate-deficiency-anemia.
  • 3. 'Folate Deficiency.' Winchester Hospital, www.winchesterhospital.org/health-library/article?id=96682.
  • 4. 'Folate Deficiency Anemia.' Folate Deficiency Anemia | Michigan Medicine, www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hw152337.
  • 5. Khan, Kashif M. 'Folic Acid Deficiency.' StatPearls /[Internet/]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 30 June 2020, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK535377/.
  • 6. NHS Choices, NHS, www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamin-b12-or-folate-deficiency-anaemia/.
  • 7. 'Folate-Deficiency Anemia.' Mount Sinai Health System, www.mountsinai.org/health-library/diseases-conditions/folate-deficiency-anemia.
  • 8. 'Folic Acid.' Womenshealth.gov, 1 Apr. 2019, www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/folic-acid.
  • 9. 'Folate (Folic Acid).' Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 23 Feb. 2021, www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-folate/art-20364625.
Medical Expert Medical Expert

Folate is one of the B vitamins. It works with vitamin B12 to help the body create normal red blood cells, which help carry oxygen throughout the body. These nutrients are also involved in DNA synthesis, the genetic material in cells. Folate plays a key role in the proper development of a fetus’s nervous system as well.

The body only stores a small amount of folate at a time, so without regular replenishment, folate levels become depleted.1Folate Deficiency (Folic Acid Deficiency) By Larry E. Johnson, et al. ‘Folate Deficiency - Disorders of Nutrition.’ Merck Manuals Consumer Version, Merck Manuals, www.merckmanuals.com/home/disorders-of-nutrition/vitamins/folate-deficiency. When this occurs, the body produces fewer red blood cells, and less oxygen is delivered to body tissues and organs, disrupting proper bodily functions.2‘Folate-Deficiency Anemia.’ Johns Hopkins Medicine, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/folate-deficiency-anemia.

1. Causes of Folate Deficiency

Folate deficiency occurs when a person fails to consume sufficient amounts of folate, which is also known as vitamin B9. Meat, leafy green vegetables, fruits, yeast and fortified cereals are good sources of folate. This nutrient is also included in many multiple vitamins and is available separately as a supplement.2‘Folate-Deficiency Anemia.’ Johns Hopkins Medicine, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/folate-deficiency-anemia.

Heavy alcohol use, medical conditions, medical procedures or medications may prevent the digestive tract from properly absorbing folate, leading to low folate levels. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may experience folate deficiency since their bodies need higher levels of folate to operate correctly under those conditions.3‘Folate Deficiency.’ Winchester Hospital, www.winchesterhospital.org/health-library/article?id=96682.

Folate Deficiency

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