Vitamin B9 (Folate/Folic Acid)

Vitamins & Minerals

A healthy result should fall into the range 5.3 - 20 ng/mL, or 12.01 - 45.32 nmol/L.

Folate, also referred to as folic acid, is one of many B vitamins needed by our bodies. Folate is used to make red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and for normal cell growth. Folic acid also plays an important role in the development of a healthy fetus. Folate cannot be made by the body and must be ingested through foods like citrus fruits, dark greens, leafy vegetables, whole grains, beans, cereals enriched with B vitamins, kidney, and liver.  A healthcare professional may order a folic acid test to:

            -Check for the cause of anemia (low red blood cell count)

-Check for malnutrition or absorption problems  (i.e., celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease)

            -Monitor treatment for folate deficiency

            -Assure a pregnant woman has enough folic acid to prevent birth defects


Without enough folic acid in your body, a developing baby’s neural tube may not close correctly, and they could develop a neural tube defect. These include:

            -Spina bifida: incomplete development of the spinal cord or vertebrae

            -Anencephaly: incomplete development of major parts of the brain


These defects can occur within the first 3-4 weeks of pregnancy. So it’s important for expecting mothers to have enough folate (400 micrograms / day) during those early stages when the baby’s brain and spinal cord are developing. 

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