About The Test
What is Vit B9?
Vitamin B9 test, also known as folate test, is used to measure the levels of Vitamin B9 in the blood. Vitamin B9 is important for the formation of normal red blood cells, tissue and cell repair, and the synthesis of DNA. Folate deficiency can cause shortness of breath, irritability, fatigue, and weakness.
This test is done if a person experiences the symptoms of anemia such as weakness and pale skin. It may also be advised in case of memory loss caused due to neuropathy and to monitor the treatment of vitamin B9 deficiency.
Vitamin B9 can be found in supplements and fortified foods, including flour, bread, cereals, and grains. Folate deficiency causes megaloblastic anemia and can even increase the risk of congenital disabilities at the time of pregnancy.
Why is Vit B9 done?
Vitamin B9 test is done:
When you have an abnormal complete blood count along with blood smear showing large blood cells or abnormal neutrophils
In case of symptoms of anemia such as weakness, tiredness, and pale skin
In case of symptoms of neuropathy such as tingling or itching sensations, eye twitching, memory loss, and altered mental status
To monitor the treatment of vitamin b9 deficiency
What does Vit B9 Measure?
The Vitamin B9 test measures the levels of Vitamin B9 in the blood. Vitamin B9 also known as folate is a part of the B complex of vitamins. It is important for the formation of normal red blood cells, tissue and cell repair, and synthesis of DNA. This vitamin cannot be produced in the body, and hence it has to be taken in the diet.
Folate is the naturally occurring form of the vitamin, while folic acid is referred to as a supplement which is added to food and drinks. This vitamin is found in food sources such as green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, peas, dry beans, yeast, and liver. Apart from these food sources, Vitamin B9 can be found in fortified cereals (in which minerals are added), bread, and other grain products.
The deficiency of Vitamin B9 can lead to macrocytic anemia in which the size of red blood cells becomes larger than normal. Such type of macrocytic anemia includes Megaloblastic anemia which is characterized by the production of fewer but larger red blood cells. These red blood cells are known as macrocytes. Along with this, white blood cells may also get reduced and low platelet count can be seen.
Vitamin B9 is important for cell division such as in the case of developing a fetus. The deficiency of this vitamin during early pregnancy can expose the growing fetus to the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
The cause of Vitamin B9 deficiency can be due to not taking supplements or diet rich in Vitamin B9, inadequate absorption of this vitamin or at the time of pregnancy when the requirement of this vitamin increases.