A B-complex vitamin important in red blood cell production. Low levels cause a type of anemia.
PLEASE NOTE: ALL RESULTS AND INFORMATION PROVIDED BY HEALTH eLABS ARE INTENDED FOR GENERAL HEALTH INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. AS SUCH THEY ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR A MEDICAL EXAMINATION, AND SHOULD NOT BE USED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, PREVENT OR CURE ANY DISEASE, SYNDROME, OR CONDITION WITHOUT THE SUPERVISION OF A LICENSED PHYSICIAN.
This test can also be purchased as part of our Anemia panel.
PREPARATION: No fasting or other special preparation is needed for this test.
What does this test do?
This test determines the concentration of folate contained within red blood cells (RBC) circulating in the bloodstream. Folate (also known as folic acid) is a B vitamin that is very important in red blood cell production. The direct measurement of folate contained in the red blood cells (or RBC) is a much more sensitive test than measuring blood concentrations, as it is not affected by diet or recent ingestion of supplemental folate.
What do the results mean?
Low levels of folate cause decreased production of red blood cells, and the cells which are produced are typically larger than normal (which is called a macrocytic anemia). Folate deficiency can be caused by diets that do not include enough fruits and vegetables, chronic alcoholism, diseases of the digestive tract (such as Crohn’s, or Celiac disease), and certain medications (phenytoin, sulfasalazine, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole). Some rare genetic disorders can lead to abnormally low levels of folate as well.