Folic Acid and Vitamin B12 Deficiency

There is some concern among medical practitioners that folic acid can mask and/or exacerbate a vitamin B12 deficiency.

folic acid diabetes diet supplement and metabolic syndromeThe concern lies in the belief that high intakes of folic acid from fortified food and dietary supplements might mask the anemia that occurs as a result of vitamin B12 deficiency, thereby covering-up an important diagnostic laboratory finding. Some have also suggested that elevated folate exacerbates the low hemoglobin and elevated total homocysteine (tHcy) and methylmalonic acid (MMA) associated with B12 deficiency.

A study in June 2011 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says consuming folic acid from supplements or fortified grain products is unlikely to exacerbate problems associated with low vitamin B12 levels. There were no differences between high or low folate levels and anemia in people with low vitamin B12 levels.

The study used 2,507 university students and the question remains if this is true for all age groups and the less healthy. The data may be different for the elderly, but In this young adult population, high folate concentrations did not exacerbate the biochemical abnormalities related to vitamin B-12 deficiency.

The authors conclude: “These results provide some reassurance that folic acid in fortified foods and supplements does not interfere with vitamin B-12 metabolism at the cellular level in a healthy population.”

A review by the National Institutes of Health came to the same conclusion.

Vitamin B12 is important.  If your lab tests suggest an anemia, talk to your doctor about possible further evaluation, dietary changes, or supplementation.

Go to the Nutrientology Store to consider a Vitamin B12 Supplement.



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About Robert Creighton

Dr. Creighton is a podiatrist and foot surgeon with over 26 years in podiatric practice treating thousands of patients afflicted with the physiological, physical, and psychological side effects and complications of diabetes and pre-diabetes metabolic syndrome. He believes these disorders present a pressing public health concern that need to be more actively addressed in a multidisciplinary way. Dr. Creighton graduated from what is now the Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine after receiving his undergraduate degree in Biology. He is certified by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery, a member of the American Public Health Association, an American College of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer and a Member of the American Nutrition Association.

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One Response to Folic Acid and Vitamin B12 Deficiency

  1. hawkes April 21, 2014 at 2:29 AM #

    i am very grateful to you, many thanks.

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