Folate (folic acid)
Folate (folic acid) is necessary for the production of red blood cells and for the synthesis of DNA (which controls heredity and is used to guide the cell in its daily activities). Folic acid also helps with tissue growth and cell function. In addition, it helps to increase appetite when needed and stimulates the formation of digestive acids.
People with inflammatory bowel diseases, those who smoke cigarettes or people who drink excessive alcohol are more likely to be deficient.
Signs and symptoms of folate deficiency include:
• Elevated homocysteine levels in the blood
• Megaloblastic anemia, a type of anemia with enlarged red blood cells
• Shortness of breath
Folate deficiency can be tested by measuring the amount of folate stored within your red blood cells or circulating in your blood.