Folic Acid Deficiency

(Folate Deficiency; Folacin Deficiency)


Folic acid deficiency means that there is a lower than normal amount of folic acid in your blood. Folic acid is a water-soluble B vitamin, which means it cannot be stored well in the body. You must get a continual supply of it.This B vitamin plays a role in:
  • Building proteins in the body
  • Producing DNA
  • Helping to form red blood cells
Scanning Electron Micrograph of Red Blood Cells
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


There are several causes of folic acid deficiency, including the following:
  • Inadequate dietary intake of folic acid due to:
    • Limited consumption of fresh, minimally cooked food
    • Chronic alcoholism
    • Long-term need for IV nutrition (total parenteral nutrition)
  • Inadequate absorption of folic acid due to:
    • Malabsorption syndromes, such as celiac disease
    • Inflammatory bowel disease
    • Drug interactions, such as anticonvulsant medicines and oral contraceptives
    • Bariatric surgery
  • Increased need for folic acid due to:
    • Pregnancy
    • Lactation
    • Infancy
    • Malignancy, such as cancer
  • Increased loss that can occur from hemodialysis
  • Impaired use that can occur from certain medications, such as methotrexate

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your risk of developing folic acid deficiency include:
  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • Malignancy
  • Liver disease
  • Alcoholism
  • Chronic hemolytic anemia
  • Kidney dialysis treatment
  • Celiac disease or other malabsorption disorders
  • Need for certain medications, such as anticonvulsants and oral contraceptives
  • Elevated homocysteine levels in the blood

leave comments
Did you like this? Share with your family and friends.
Related Topics:
Current Research From Top Journals

Music May Improve Sleep Quality in Adults with Insomnia
October 2015

Insomnia can make your days miserable and a cure can be hard to find. There are some medications but there is some worry with side effects and the potential for addiction. Music is side effect free and according to this study may help you find sleep.

dot separator
previous editions

CPAP May Help Older Adults with Obstructive Sleep Apnea
September 2015

Water Before Meals May Promote Weight Loss
August 2015

Fecal Transplants Induce Ulcerative Colitis Remission
July 2015

dashed separator


Our Free Newsletter
click here to see all of our uplifting newsletters »