What is the normal blood folate (folic acid) level?

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Offline sprite190582

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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
« Last Edit: 19/06/2008 08:05:46 by chris »
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Offline chris

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What is the normal blood folate (folic acid) level?
« Reply #1 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
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