FAQ: What Is Blood Work Vitamin B12/folate Serum Panel?

What are B12 and folate blood tests for?

Different types of blood tests can be carried out to help identify people with a possible vitamin B12 or folate deficiency. These tests check: whether you have a lower level of haemoglobin (a substance that transports oxygen) than normal. whether your red blood cells are larger than normal.

What are the symptoms of low folate and B12?

Symptoms of vitamin B12 or folate deficiency

  • extreme tiredness.
  • a lack of energy.
  • pins and needles (paraesthesia)
  • a sore and red tongue.
  • mouth ulcers.
  • muscle weakness.
  • disturbed vision.
  • psychological problems, which may include depression and confusion.

What do folate levels indicate?

High levels of folate in the blood may mean that you eat a diet rich in folate or folic acid, take vitamins, or take folic acid pills. Consuming more folate than the body needs does not cause problems. High folate levels can also mean a vitamin B12 deficiency. Body cells need vitamin B12 to use folate.

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What should serum folate levels be?

The reference range of the plasma folate level varies by age, as follows: Adults – 2-20 ng/mL, 2-20 μg/L, or 4.5-45.3 nmol/L. Children – 5-21 ng/mL, 5-21 μg/L, or 11.3-47.6 nmol/L.

Why would a doctor order a B12 blood test?

Vitamin B12 and folate are separate tests often used together to: Detect low levels (deficiencies) Diagnose the cause of certain anemias, such as pernicious anemia, an autoimmune disease that affects the absorption of B12.

Can a CBC detect vitamin B12 deficiency?

Macrocytic/megaloblastic anemia and large red blood cells are associated with a vitamin B12 or folate deficiency and are often initially detected during a routine CBC. In addition, abnormal physical characteristics of some of the cells are identified that are consistent with these deficiencies.

Which is one of the first symptoms of folate deficiency?

Common symptoms of folate deficiency can include:

  • Tiredness, fatigue and lethargy.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Neurological signs, such as a feeling of pins and needles, tingling, or burning, or peripheral neuropathy, i.e. a numbness in the extremities.

What is low folate a sign of?

When you have anemia, your blood can’t bring enough oxygen to all your tissues and organs. Without enough oxygen, your body can’t work as well as it should. Low levels of folic acid can cause megaloblastic anemia. With this condition, red blood cells are larger than normal.

How long does it take to correct folate deficiency?

The body has about 1,000-20,000 mcg of folate stores, and adults need about 400 mcg/d to replenish the daily losses. Folate deficiency may take 8-16 weeks to become evident.

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What medical conditions cause high folate levels?

There are several other medical conditions that may increase folic acid needs including anyone taking medications for epilepsy, Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease; anyone with kidney disease who is on dialysis; anyone with liver, sickle cell, or celiac diseases.

Can folate be too high?

You can‘t get too much from foods that naturally contain folate. You should not get more than 1,000 micrograms of folic acid a day, unless your doctor prescribes a higher amount. Too much folic acid can hide signs that you lack vitamin B12, which can cause nerve damage.

What are the side effects of too much folate?

Although doses up to 5 mg daily have been safely used in some research, doses of folic acid greater than 1 mg daily might cause abdominal cramps, diarrhea, rash, sleep disorders, irritability, confusion, nausea, stomach upset, behavior changes, skin reactions, seizures, gas, excitability, and other side effects.

What is the difference between B12 and folate?

Vitamin B12 not only helps your body to produce red blood cells, it also helps keep your nervous system healthy. Folate works with vitamin B12 to produce red blood cells, and it is also important for pregnant women, as it helps the baby to grow and develop.

Does high folate mask B12 deficiency?

The results of the first study suggest that during vitamin B12 deficiency, high serum folate levels exacerbate (rather than mask) anemia and also exacerbate cognitive symptoms.

What is the difference between serum folate and RBC folate?

Similarly, both serum and red cell folate were shown to increase in response to folic acid supplementation. Overall, serum folate is cheaper and faster to perform than red cell folate, is influenced by fewer analytical variables and provides an assessment of folate status that may be superior to red cell folate.

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