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Red Cell Folate Testing

Unwarranted and Overutilized in the Era of Folic Acid Supplementation


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Causes of Folate Deficiency

Slide 5

November 2010

There are a variety of clinical conditions that contribute to folate or folic acid deficiency. A deficiency of folate may occur in situations where there is an increased demand for folate, such as during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, malignancy (where there is increased cell turnover), infection (due to an immunoproliferative response), or chronic hemolytic anemia (due to increased hematopoiesis). Clinical conditions associated with malabsorption, such as celiac disease, also place patients at a higher risk for folate deficiency. Metabolism of folate may also be impaired due to various folic acid antagonist drugs, and patients with severe liver or kidney disease may have increased excretion of folate. Furthermore, despite widespread fortification of foods with folic acid, deficiency still occurs in situations where there is inadequate ingestion or poor nutrition. High-risk patient populations include people with alcoholism, patients with psychiatric morbidities, and the elderly.

Causes of Folate Deficiency


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