Folate (Serum) Blood Test, from our experts to you.Dr Sam Rodgers MBBS, MRCGP
Chief Medical Officermeet our doctors
What is folate?
Folate, or vitamin B9, is a water-soluble B vitamin found in foods such as leafy greens, cooked dried beans, peas, lentils, spinach and asparagus. It is also added to fortified foods such as breakfast cereals. Folate is necessary for normal red cell formation, tissue and cellular repair and DNA synthesis.
Why do pregnant women need folate?
Pregnant women require an increased amount of folate for proper foetal development as folate is necessary for healthy cell division. Low folate levels may lead to neural tube defects in the developing foetus.
Are folate and folic acid the same thing?
Vitamin B9, folic acid, and folate are often used interchangeably. While folate and folic acid are similar, there are differences. Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin, so the body can't store it, and we need to ingest it through the foods we eat. Most people should be able to get the amount they need by eating a varied and balanced diet. Folic acid is a synthesised version of folate produced in a laboratory and found in supplements and fortified foods such as cereals. For more, read our blog: Folate vs. folic acid - what's the difference?
How to prepare for your test?
Prepare for your Folate (Serum) Blood Test by following these instructions. You should take this test before you take any medication or vitamin/mineral supplements. Do not take biotin supplements for two days before this test, discuss this with your doctor if it is prescribed.