Folate Deficiency: What You Should Know

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As cold temperatures coat the United States respectively, many are quick to jump to comfort foods and forget to incorporate important vitamins into their diet. January is acknowledged as the month for folic acid awareness.

What is Folate? How does Folate Deficiency develop? 

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Although diets low in fresh fruit, vegetables, and fortified cereals are the main reason for folate deficiencies, people diagnosed with gastrointestinal diseases that affect absorption may also experience folate deficiencies. Diseases such as Crohn’s, celiac, and certain cancers can predispose someone to a folate deficiency.

Excessive alcohol consumption may also cause folate deficiency by stimulating folate excretion through urine. Some medications such as phenytoin, tripmethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, methotrexate, and methotrexate have been noted to cause folate deficiency.

What can happen if I am folate deficient? 

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How can I know if I am folate deficient? 

While most people consume the suggested amount of folate through the food in their diet, it is always good to be familiar with the subtle signs of folate deficiency.

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How can I prevent becoming folate deficient? 

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Folate deficiency, for most people, can be prevented through eating a balanced, nutritious diet.

Foods that are high in folic acid are: 

  • leafy, green vegetables (ex: spinach)
  • Brussels sprouts
  • peas
  • citrus
  • lentils
  • fruits, such as bananas and melons
  • tomato juice
  • peanut butter
  • eggs
  • beans
  • legumes
  • mushrooms
  • asparagus
  • nuts
  • shellfish
  • wheat bran
  • fortified cereals

The recommended folate dose is 400 micrograms per day. Women who may become pregnant should take a folate supplement. Folate is critical for normal fetal growth.

People who take medications known to cause folate deficiency should take a supplement as well, but it’s always important to check with your doctor first.

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Find out how you can help medical research and contribute to finding cures by contacting PlasmaMed through our website: www.plasmamedpatients.com/contact 

Article resources:

  • https://www.healthline.com/health/folate-deficiency#complications
  • Bueno, O., Molloy, A. M., Fernandez-Ballart, J. D., Garcia-Minguillan, C. J., Ceruelo, S., Rios, L., . . . Murphy, M. M. (2015, November 11). Common polymorphisms that affect folate transport or metabolism modify the effect of the MTFHR 677C > T polymorphism on folate status. Journal of Nutrition, 146(1), 1-8ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26561410