How and when should you check your folate levels?
In this article, we talk you through how you can check your folate levels, as well as when you should consider getting tested.
How do you check your folate levels?
You can check your folate levels with the help of a blood test. Folate blood tests generally measure your folate serum, helping to identify a possible folate deficiency.
The LetsGetChecked Folate Test works by measuring folate serum in the blood. A folate blood test is able to rule out folate deficiency. As the symptoms of folate deficiency can be difficult to spot, using a blood test to measure is one of the most accurate ways to reach a diagnosis, though the symptoms, if any, that you are experiencing are also important in reaching a diagnosis.
If you are planning on checking your folate levels, it may also be recommended that you check your vitamin B12 levels too. Folate (also known as vitamin B9) and vitamin B12 work together to make new essential proteins in the body. Together these vitamins are essential for building and maintaining a normal red and white blood cell count, they are essential for the repair of cells and tissues, and they also help with the development of DNA.
In sum, the most accurate way to check your folate levels is via a blood test.
When should you check your folate levels?
You should consider checking your folate levels if:
- You should check your folate levels if you’re living with an intestinal condition
- You should check your folate levels if you suspect you’re living with anemia
- You should check your folate levels if you are planning to conceive
- You should check your folate levels to monitor the effectiveness of treatment of folate deficiency.
1. You should check your folate levels if you’re living with an intestinal condition
You should check your folate levels if you are living with an intestinal condition such as celiac disease or any anything that interferes with absorption), anyone who has had surgery on their colon, or anyone who believe they have a poor diet should check their folate levels.
You should check your folate levels if you suspect you’re living with anemia
Anemia is a condition that is described by a deficiency of hemoglobin or red blood cells in the blood. Hemoglobin is responsible for the transport of oxygen around the body.
If you are living with anemia, you may suffer from fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, pale skin, weight loss, confusion and/or forgetfulness. Folate-deficiency anemia presents similar symptoms, it is possible that the cause of anemia may be due to folate deficiency. As the symptoms can easily be masked for something else, it is important to get tested if you suspect that you may have low folate levels.
You should check your folate levels if you are planning to conceive
As mentioned, folate and/or folic acid is very important for a healthy pregnancy. If you are planning to conceive, you need to ensure that you are getting enough folate and/or folic acid in your diet.
If you are planning to conceive, it may be an idea to test your folate levels with a view to improving your diet, or indeed supplementing your diet with folate acid.
You should check your folate levels to monitor the effectiveness of treatment of folate deficiency
A folate blood test may also be used to measure the success of your treatment, following your diagnosis with folate deficiency.
After six weeks of folate deficiency treatment, which may include dietary changes or supplementation, consider testing your folate levels so you can compare and contrast your results, and track your progress.
Have you ever checked your folate before? If the answer to this question is no, it’s good to know that now you can check your folate levels from the comfort of home with online results available in one week.
Written by Hannah Kingston | Medically reviewed by Gwen Murphy, PhD, MPH