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?
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Folate - serum
Folate is a B vitamin which acts as a coenzyme in the metabolism of amino acids. It is also vital for the synthesis of purines and pyrimidines which are essential for DNA synthesis and red cell formation. Folate is also especially important during the first trimester of pregnancy so if you are thinking of becoming pregnant it is important to make sure your folate levels are normal.
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.
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