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Vitamin B9 Folate - description and reference ranges

What is it?

Folate is a vitamin in the B group, specifically B9. It is generally important in production of red blood cells and if this vitamin is not present then the body may not be generating sufficient number of red blood cells (anaemia).

This can cause a number of problems such as anaemia and folic acid deficiency can be a contributing factor in heart attacks.

B9 is generally found in most vegetables (particularly in peas and spinnach) or staples such as rice and potatoes (much less than in greens).

Reference ranges

If your indicative Vitamin B9 level is lower than the reference range for our laboratory:

If your folate level is lower than the reference range, it can indicate a deficiency of folate. Vitamin B9 deficiency usually means that the body is not absorbing or getting enough B9 from food you consume. If dietary related, then you are not consuming enough foods rich in folate, such as leafy greens, legumes, and fortified cereals.

It could also be the result of malabsorption, where conditions like celiac disease, Crohns disease, or other gastrointestinal disorders can impair folate absorption.

Excessive alcohol intake can also interfere with folate absorption and metabolism.

In terms of symptoms - fatigue, weakness, pale skin, shortness of breath, irritability or cognitive issues (e.g., memory problems) may all be linked to low levels of B9.

It is also possible to have high or low levels of B9 and not have any health concerns.

You should discuss this result with your GP if you have concerns or symptoms.

If your indicative Vitamin B9 level is higher than the reference range for our laboratory:

High folate levels are usually not associated with significant symptoms but can sometimes mask a vitamin B12 deficiency, which can lead to neurological issues.

Usually, high levels are due to taking too many folic acid supplements or the diet, i.e. consuming large amounts of folate-rich foods, although this is less common.

It is also entirely possible to have high or low levels of B9 and not have any health concerns.

You should discuss this result with your GP if you have concerns or symptoms and we advise to monitor the levels until concerns are resolved.

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