Fast Five Quiz: Vitamin B9 (Folate)

Emmanuel C. Besa, MD


November 07, 2022

The prevalence of folate deficiency has decreased since many countries in the western hemisphere introduced a mandatory folic acid food fortification program starting in the late 1990s. However, people with excessive alcohol intake and malnutrition are still at high risk for folate deficiency. Folate deficiency can result from any of these causes:

  • Inadequate ingestion

  • Impaired absorption

  • Impaired metabolism leading to inability to utilize absorbed folate

  • Increased requirement

  • Increased excretion

  • Increased destruction

Other than excessive alcohol use, a deficiency typically results from hemolytic anemia, malabsorption disorders, overcooked food, or increased requirements during pregnancy. Declining estrogen levels during menopause have been linked to symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, as has lack of sunlight. Statin use has not been well established as a cause of folate deficiency.

Learn more about folate.


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