Discover the vital role of folic acid in cell growth and neural development. Learn about the risks and consequences of folate deficiency anemia. This article will provide you with the knowledge you need, whether you're already experiencing symptoms or are simply curious about the impact of this vitamin on your health. Read on to find out more!

When we think of anemia, we often jump to iron deficiency as the main culprit. But did you know that other nutrient deficiencies can also trigger this condition? One such lesser known nutrient is folic acid, a B vitamin. It is involved in numerous processes, like the production of red blood cells as well as DNA synthesis and repair. It is also closely tied to various other synthesis processes within the cells of the human body and plays a crucial role in supporting overall health. Low folic acid levels can impair red blood cell production, leading to a type of anemia called ‘Folic Acid Deficiency Anemia’.

What Is Folic Acid Deficiency Anemia?

Folate plays a crucial role in the formation of red blood cells and the growth and functioning of healthy cells. It is especially important during early pregnancy, as it helps reduce the risk of birth defects. The nutrient is found in leafy vegetables and fruits, while folic acid, a synthetic form of folate, is present in dietary supplements and fortified foods. Since the body doesn’t make folic acid, a deficiency can occur if your diet lacks foods rich in this nutrient. Low folic acid levels can ultimately lead to folic acid deficiency anemia, impairing the transportation of oxygen to your body's tissues and organs. Without adequate oxygen, your body's functionality is compromised, hindering its optimal performance. Thus, the role of folic acid in anemia is not to be overlooked.

Signs and Symptoms of Folic Acid Anemia

One of the first signs of folate deficiency anemia is fatigue. Other major symptoms include:

  • Pale skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Smooth and tender tongue
  • Mouth sores/ulcers
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability

Who Is at Risk for Folic Acid Deficiency Anemia?

People who may be at risk of developing folic acid anemia are those who:

  • Don’t eat a healthy diet:

    Neglecting foods rich in folate can ultimately lead to a deficiency.
  • Consume excessive alcohol:

    Chronic alcohol consumption can cause poor folate absorption in the intestines, reduced uptake by the liver, and increased excretion from the body, mainly through urine.
  • Take certain medicines:

    Certain drugs like carbamazepine and oxcarbazepine can actually cause a folate deficiency by inhibiting its absorption by the body.

Causes of Folic Acid Deficiency Anemia

The main causes of folate deficiency anemia include:

  • Consuming foods that lack folic acid:

    Green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, fortified cereals, and meats (especially liver) are rich in folate and should be consumed to maintain optimal levels in the body. Neglecting to do so can ultimately lead to folic acid deficiency anemia.
  • Digestive diseases:

    Certain diseases can hinder your body's ability to absorb folic acid like Crohn's disease and celiac disease, which can damage your intestines, making it difficult for your digestive system to effectively absorb the nutrients it needs, and can ultimately lead to folate deficiency anemia.

How is Folic Acid Deficiency Anemia Managed?

Based on your medical history and physical examination, your healthcare provider might suspect that you are experiencing folic acid deficiency anemia. To confirm the diagnosis, you may undergo various blood tests. Furthermore, your healthcare provider will assist you in designing a personalised diet plan that suits your specific requirements. Folic acid deficiency anemia is usually managed by boosting your diet by including green leafy veggies, fresh fruits, and fortified grains. Folate-enriched products, such as fortified cereals, can also be a part of your diet.

The following foods are excellent sources of folic acid:

Food Folate Content per 100 g of a Product (μg)
Green gram, dal 92.11
Lentil dal 49.99
Rajma (brown) 330
Spinach 193
Amaranth leaves 70.33
Cabbage (green) 46.36
Beetroot 97.37
Parsley 197
Papaya (ripe) 60.90

Your doctor may recommend folic acid supplements to manage folic acid deficiency anemia, especially in older individuals. Make sure you always consult with a healthcare professional before taking any supplements, as consuming a higher dose can do more harm than good.


Don't underestimate the power of vitamins in your diet. Folate, or folic acid, a crucial vitamin, plays a vital role in the production of red blood cells and DNA. Understanding the role of folic acid in anemia is crucial for preventing and managing folate deficiency anemia. Therefore, it is important to maintain a well-balanced diet that includes an abundance of fruits, vegetables, and other foods rich in folate. By providing your body with the necessary nutrients, you can effectively combat this condition.