Folate
(Folic Acid)

Alternate Names

  • RBC Folate

The B vitamin folic acid (folate) is necessary for the normal production of both red and white blood cells and normal gene replication. A deficiency of folic acid can be due to low dietary amounts, less than normal amounts absorbed in the intestines due to malabsorption diseases such as Crohn's disease or celiac disease, or from a vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is necessary for the cells of the body to take up folic acid. Low folic acid levels are seen in people who have anemia, or from chronic alcohol abuse. High consumption of aluminum-containing antacids can lead to folic acid deficiency, since aluminum binds with folic acid which makes it unavailable to the body for use. Adequate folic acid levels are extremely important during pregnancy, since a deficiency can result in neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

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