Folic Acid (Folates) Test
|Why is this test done?||Measuring the amount of this vitamin in the blood is useful to detect a deficiency or excess. Typically, folic acid tests help distinguish between the various types of anemia.|
|How to prepare:||
|Associated tests:||Acid folic test is rarely done by itself. A complete blood count and vitamin B12 test are usually done at the same time.|
Folic acid is a vitamin found in the diet. Green vegetables (spinach, Brussels sprouts, romaine lettuce, broccoli, avocado, asparagus, green peas), legumes, citrus fruits (and their juice), eggs, banana, melons, enriched cereals, brewers' yeast, nuts, seeds and mushrooms are all excellent sources of this vitamin. Folic acid is required for the good functioning of the body. It is involved, among other things, in the formation of normal fully functioning white blood cells, platelets and red blood cells.
What does an abnormal test result mean?
If the result is too high
This could indicate vitamin B12 deficiency.
If the result is too low
This usually indicates anemia caused by folic acid deficiency. Rarely, it may be due to liver problems. Dietary intake may be poor. The digestive system may not absorb this vitamin correctly due to an intestinal disease.
Factors that can affect the result of the test
Recent blood transfusion or a diet rich in folic acid may explain an elevated result.
Decreasing folic acid levels may be due to pregnancy, breast-feeding, a very strict vegetarian diet or a diet poor in folic acid. In addition, taking certain drugs can affect the result of this test, such as:
- oral contraceptives (the 'pill');
- trimetroprime (Proloprimtm™);
- triamterene (Dyrenium™);
- cholestyramine (Questran™);
- sulfasalazine (Salazopyrin™);
- certain anticonvulsants (drugs used to treat seizures).
What you need to know before the test
Before going for blood tests, a procedure or other exam, it is best to always bring a list of all the drugs you take (prescription, OTC and natural health products). Unless told otherwise, you should take your medication as usual on the day of the test. When in doubt, ask your pharmacist for more information.
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The patient information leaflets are provided by Vigilance Santé Inc. This content is for information purposes only and does not in any manner whatsoever replace the opinion or advice of your health care professional. Always consult a health care professional before making a decision about your medication or treatment.