Serum (Gold Top)
North Devon District Hospital (Mon-Fri)
3.7 - 18.7 ug/L
If taking supplements which may contain Biotin (Vitamin B7), do not take in the 8 hours prior to blood test - they may contain agents which affect the analysis
Folate is a B complex vitamin (Vitamin B9) that is necessary for normal red blood cell formation, tissue and cellular repair, and DNA synthesis. The processes work in conjunction with vitamin B12. A Vitamin B12 and/or folate deficiency reflects a chronic shortage of one or both of these vitamins. Since the body stores several months’ supply of folate in the liver, deficiencies and their associated symptoms can take months to years to manifest in adults. Infants and children, however, will show signs of deficiency more rapidly as they have not yet established extensive reserves.
Over time, a deficiency in either B12 or folate can lead to macrocytic ('large cell') anaemia, a condition characterised by the production of fewer, but larger red blood cells resulting in a decreased ability to carry oxygen. Due to the anaemia, patients may be weak, light-headed, tired and short of breath.
Pregnant women need increased amounts of folate for proper development of the baby. If a woman has a folate deficiency before pregnancy, it will become worse during gestation and may lead to premature birth and neural tube birth defects, such as spina bifida, in the child.