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Alias: N/A

Discipline: Clinical Chemistry

Test information: Folate and folic acid are forms of a water-soluble B vitamin. Folate occurs naturally in food. Folic acid is the synthetic form of this vitamin that is found in supplements and some fortified foods. Folate plays an important role in the formation of cofactors for certain vital metabolic reactions, and are also essential components in the production of DNA. Folate measurement is often clinically indicated, since left untreated, folate deficiency can lead to megaloblastic anaemia and a deficiency in pregnancy has been associated with neural tube defects in the foetus. It is important to measure B12 and folate in all patients suspected of having low levels of either vitamin. Folate deficiency usually arises from inadequate intake, malabsorption or increased requirements (pregnancy, lactation, or excessive alcohol consumption). Signs of folic acid deficiency are often subtle. Diarrhoea, loss of appetite, and weight loss can occur. Additional signs are weakness, macroglossia, headaches, heart palpitations, irritability, and behavioural disorders.  

Specimen Type(s)
  • Blood;
Other Acceptable Specimen Type(s)
Specimen Container - Adult
  • Gold Top SST BD;
Specimen Container - Paediatric
  • Clear - Plain;
  • N/A;
Part of a test profile?
Volume (min) of sample to be sent to laboratory
Patient Preparation, Sample Handling and Transport
Maximum add on time
Less than 32 hours
Units and Reference Ranges / Interpretation
3.1 - 20.5 ng/mL
UKAS number
UKAS accredited test?

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Last updated: 30-04-2024