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  • About this test

    Folate and Vitamin B12 are two vitamins that are necessary for many bodily functions including normal red blood cell formation, tissue and cell repair and DNA synthesis. These vitamins are not produced by the body and must be supplied by dietary intake. The test measures the folate level in the blood.

    Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is sourced from animal products like red meat, fish, poultry, milk, yogurt and eggs. Fortified cereals, breads, and other grain products have also become important dietary sources of B12 and folate.

    When a deficiency of folate or Vitamin B12 occur it can lead to a condition called Megaloblastic anaemia where the red blood cells are fewer but larger in size.

    Vitamin B12 is also important for nerve health and a deficiency can lead nerve damage called neuropathy that result in a tingling sensation and numbness especially in the hands and feet (extremities).

    A shortage of Vitamin B12 and folate usually occur through:

    • Lack of adequate supply in the diet or from supplements
    • Poor absorption due to certain diseases that interfere with the release of these nutrients in the stomach or factors in the
    • small intestine that is required for binding and absorption (mainly Vitamin B12)
    • Increased need as seen in pregnancy (mainly folate)

    Folate and Vitamin B12 test are used:

    • To diagnose nutritional deficiencies, malnutrition and malabsorption conditions like celiac disease, cystic fibrosis and inflammatory bowel disease
    • To diagnose diseases that follow these longterm deficiencies e.g. anaemias and autoimmune diseases
    • To establish a cause for "nerve problems" or neuropathy and behavioural changes
    • Follow- up while being treated for these deficiencies

    Who is this test for?

    Folate and vitamin B12 levels may be ordered during a general health check-up or when a specific cause for anaemia is sought.

    Testing may be indicated when a person has signs and symptoms of a nutrient deficiency including: loss of appetite, fatigue, diarrhoea, dizziness, tingling or burning sensation in hands and feet, confusion and anxiety.

    Folate and Vitamin B12 test are used:

    • To diagnose nutritional deficiencies, malnutrition and malabsorption conditions like celiac disease, cystic fibrosis and inflammatory bowel disease
    • To diagnose diseases that follow these longterm deficiencies e.g. anaemias and autoimmune diseases
    • To establish a cause for "nerve problems" or neuropathy and behavioural changes
    • Follow- up while being treated for these deficiencies