Folate (Folic Acid), Serum/Plasma


Folate, or folic acid, serves as a cofactor in the enzymatic transfer of single carbon units in a variety of metabolic pathways that are necessary for nucleic acid and mitochondrial protein synthesis, amino acid metabolism and other processes. Folate is used as a source of a methyl group, with the help of vitamin B12, in the process of methionine production. This methyl group transfer results in the formation of tetrahydrofolate, which is of importance in several cellular processes such as the synthesis of thymines that are necessary for DNA replication and in the metabolism of histidine and serine. In humans, Folate is entirely derived from the diet. Adequate intake of folate is important to minimise the risk of neural tube defects in pregnant women, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. See Also Folate, RBCs, Vitamin B12 , Serum and Homocysteine, Serum


Folate level measurement is used in the differential diagnosis of megalobalstic anaemia. Folate deficiency during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of developmental abnormalities, particularly neural tube defects. Other potential manifestations of folate deficiency include neurological and neuro-psychiatric disorders and the development of certain neoplasms and pre-neoplastic conditions. Furthermore, folate deficiency has been associated with a predisposition to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Low folate level could result from poor diet, malabsorption, gastrointestinal disease, alcohol consumption, use of oral contraceptives, pregnancy, and proliferative disorders. Due to the close link with vitamin B12, it is recommended to test for both folate and vitamin B12 levels simultaneously.

Sample Type, Quantity & Conditions

1 ml Serum 1 ml Li-Heparin Plasma Stability: 2 Hours at 15-25 °C 24 Hours at 2-8 °C 28 Days at (-15)-(-25) °C

Special Precautions

Patient should be fasting. Contraceptives interfere with folate measurement. Haemolysed samples are not acceptable. Protect from light. Freeze only once.

Normal Range

3.89 - 26.8 ng/mL 8.83 - 60.8 nmol/L

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