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9 Signs of Folic Acid Deficiency

Posted on March 27, 2011

Folic acid (or folate) is an important B vitamin that supports healthy red blood cell production and is needed for DNA synthesization, DNA repair, and healthy functioning of the entire body.

Women who are trying to conceive or have just conceived need to make sure their folic acid levels are sufficient since folic acid is essential for the development of the baby’s neural tube, which develops in the first weeks after conception. Low folic acid levels in pregnant women may also lead to miscarriages or low fetal birth weight.

Here are 9 signs of folic acid deficiency.

Weakness, Fatigue or Lethargy
Anemia is a major sign of folic acid deficiency and it often presents with weakness, fatigue, or lethargy, even in people who are in good physical condition. The severity of the symptoms depends upon the severity of the deficiency.

Mouth Redness and Sores
A deficiency in folic acid and subsequent anemia may result in redness or sores on the tongue and sometimes sores in other areas of the mouth.

Pale Skin and Gums
The skin and gums of a person with folic acid deficiency may appear pale.

Depression
Depression may be a sign of a folic acid deficiency. Studies indicate that folic acid, along with vitamin B12, play an important role in the formation of neurotransmitters and when there is not enough of these vitamins in the body depression may result.

Shortness of Breath
Shortness of breath is a possible sign of this deficiency. It is important to note that shortness of breath can indicate many different health problems but when the other symptoms of anemia are present, it may indicate a folic acid deficiency.

Gastrointestinal Problems
Loss of appetite, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea can all be symptoms of not enough folic acid in the diet.

Weight Loss
Along with the above gastrointestinal problems, weight loss may occur.

Heart Palpitations
Heart palpitations can be a sign of low folic acid levels in the body.

Hyperpigmentation
Darkening of the skin in patches on the fingers, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet may indicate a folic acid deficiency. The discolored skin reverts to normal when folic acid levels return to normal.

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