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Life Sciences => Physiology & Medicine => Topic started by: sprite190582 on 11/08/2004 06:53:14

Title: What is the normal blood folate (folic acid) level?
Post by: sprite190582 on 11/08/2004 06:53:14
What should the level of Folic Acid in your blood be at? (for a female if it differs). A  recent blood test I had showed my level of Folic Acid was 1.8. I was told that this was quite low. What should the normal level be and are there any dangers of having low Folic Acid levels? Any comments would be appreciated.

Alex
Title: What is the normal blood folate (folic acid) level?
Post by: chris on 19/06/2008 08:13:06
The normal blood folate concentration is 2.7 - 17.0 ng/mL (nanograms per millilitre), so your level is a bit low.

The main reasons for a low folate level are:

- Inadequate intake (a diet deficient in green leafy vegetables, which are the key source)
- Malabsorption (diseases like coeliac, tropical sprue, surgical resection of the small bowel)
- Malnutrition

Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin and is essential for the synthesis of new DNA. The consequences of low folate levels include:

- Anaemia (low red blood cells)
- Megaloblastic anaemia (severe anaemia associated with very large cells)
- Neutral tube defects in  a developing foetus.

Low folate should be investigated in an otherwise healthy individual, especially if there are symptoms and elements of the history that might suggest a malabsorptive condition like coeliac (e.g. a patient from Galway in Ireland, which is a coeliac hotspot).

Treatment for folate deficiency consists of folate replacement therapy either in the form of an enriched diet (broccoli, cabbage, spinach), and/or folate supplements.

Chris