Learn About Folate Deficiency

What is the definition of Folate Deficiency?

Folate deficiency means you have a lower-than-normal amount of folic acid, a type of vitamin B, in your blood.

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What are the alternative names for Folate Deficiency?

Deficiency - folic acid; Folic acid deficiency

What are the causes of Folate Deficiency?

Folic acid (vitamin B9) works with vitamin B12 and vitamin C to help the body break down, use, and make new proteins. The vitamin helps form red and white blood cells. It also helps produce DNA, the building block of the human body, which carries genetic information.

Folic acid is a water-soluble type of vitamin B. This means it is not stored in the fat tissues of the body. Leftover amounts of the vitamin leave the body through the urine.

Because folate is not stored in the body in large amounts, your blood levels will get low after only a few weeks of eating a diet low in folate. Folate is found primarily in legumes, leafy greens, eggs, beets, bananas, citrus fruits, and liver.

Contributors to folate deficiency include:

  • Diseases in which folic acid is not well absorbed in the digestive system (such as Celiac disease or Crohn disease)
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Eating overcooked fruits and vegetables. Folate can be easily destroyed by heat.
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Certain medicines (such as phenytoin, sulfasalazine, or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole)
  • Eating an unhealthy diet that does not include enough fruits and vegetables
  • Kidney dialysis
What are the symptoms of Folate Deficiency?

Folic acid deficiency may cause:

  • Fatigue, irritability, or diarrhea
  • Poor growth
  • Smooth and tender tongue
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What are the possible complications of Folate Deficiency?

Complications include:

  • Anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • Low levels of white blood cells and platelets (in severe cases)

In folate-deficiency anemia, the red blood cells are abnormally large (megaloblastic).

Pregnant women need to get enough folic acid. The vitamin is important to the growth of the fetus's spinal cord and brain. Folic acid deficiency can cause severe birth defects known as neural tube defects. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for folate during pregnancy is 600 micrograms (µg)/day.

How do I prevent Folate Deficiency?

The best way to get vitamins your body needs is to eat a balanced diet. Most people in the United States eat enough folic acid because it is plentiful in the food supply.

Folate occurs naturally in the following foods:

  • Beans and legumes
  • Citrus fruits and juices
  • Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, asparagus, and broccoli
  • Liver
  • Mushrooms
  • Poultry, pork, and shellfish
  • Wheat bran and other whole grains

The recommended daily amount of folic acid for adults is 400 µg of folate daily. Women who may become pregnant should take folic acid supplements to ensure that they get enough each day.

Specific recommendations depend on a person's age, sex, and other factors (such as pregnancy and lactation). Many foods, such as fortified breakfast cereals, now have extra folic acid added to help prevent birth defects.

First trimester of pregnancy
Folic acid
Early weeks of pregnancy
Who are the top Folate Deficiency Local Doctors?
Elite
Highly rated in
19
conditions

National Taiwan University

TPQ, TW 

Andy Sun is in Taiwan. Sun is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Folate Deficiency. He is also highly rated in 19 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Glossitis, Vitamin B12 Deficiency Anemia, Folate-Deficiency Anemia, and Folate Deficiency.

Elite
Highly rated in
19
conditions

Far Eastern Memorial Hospital

Tainan, TNQ, TW 

Yu-hsueh Wu is in Tainan, Taiwan. Wu is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Folate Deficiency. They are also highly rated in 19 other conditions, according to our data. Their top areas of expertise are Folate Deficiency, Folate-Deficiency Anemia, Aphthous Stomatitis, and Vitamin B12 Deficiency Anemia.

 
 
 
 
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Elite
Highly rated in
24
conditions

National Taiwan University

TPQ, TW 

Chun-pin Chiang is in Taiwan. Chiang is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Folate Deficiency. They are also highly rated in 24 other conditions, according to our data. Their top areas of expertise are Vitamin B12 Deficiency Anemia, Folate-Deficiency Anemia, Folate Deficiency, and Glossitis.

What are the latest Folate Deficiency Clinical Trials?
Factors Affecting Colonic Folate Absorption and Metabolism in Humans
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Clinical Characteristics and Pathogenic Mechanisms of Anemia in Non-celiac Wheat Sensitivity Compared to Celiac Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome
What are the Latest Advances for Folate Deficiency?
The Cerebrospinal Fluid Concentration of Methyltetrahydrofolate and Serum Folate in Children with Developmental Delay, Regression, and/or Refractory Epilepsy.
Development and Validation of a Novel Food-Based Global Diet Quality Score (GDQS).
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The Global Diet Quality Score is Associated with Higher Nutrient Adequacy, Midupper Arm Circumference, Venous Hemoglobin, and Serum Folate Among Urban and Rural Ethiopian Adults.
What are our references for Folate Deficiency?

Antony AC. Megaloblastic anemias. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Silberstein LE, et al, eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 39.

Koppel BS. Nutritional and alcohol-related neurologic disorders. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 388.

Samuels P. Hematologic complications of pregnancy. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL, et al, eds. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 44.