Skip to content

Folic Acid Deficiency Anemia: Causes

Font Size

Topic Overview

Folic acid is one of the B vitamins. It helps produce red blood cells. Low levels of folic acid (also called folate) in the body decrease production of red blood cells and cause folic acid deficiency anemia.

Causes of folic acid deficiency anemia include:

Recommended Related to Diet & Weight Management

Cranberries: Rich in Antioxidants

Feeling bogged down in the kitchen? Jump-start meals with a handful of tart, bright cranberries. This tangy treat is not only naturally low in fat but also bursting with powerful nutrients. One cup of whole fresh berries has 81 grams of potassium, 12.6 milligrams of vitamin C (20% daily value), and 34 micrograms of beta carotene -- for just 44 calories. The festive winter fruit is rich in antioxidants, which may help fight cancer and improve cholesterol levels. Plus it may also help combat dental...

Read the Cranberries: Rich in Antioxidants article > >

  • Not eating enough foods that contain folic acid.
    • Unhealthy diets may not have much folic acid.
    • Vegan diets may not include enough folic acid.
    • People who have the eating disorder anorexia nervosa severely limit how much they eat, including those foods that contain folic acid.
  • Having an increased need for folic acid. This might happen with:
    • Pregnancy. Pregnant women need more folic acid to protect their babies from birth defects, such as neural tube defects.
    • Blood disorders, such as sickle cell anemia, that use up the body's supply of folic acid.
    • Diseases that cause rapid cell growth, such as leukemia or psoriasis.
    • An increased rate of metabolism, as might happen with an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). This uses up the body's store of folic acid faster than it is absorbed.
  • Not absorbing or retaining folic acid. This can be caused by:
    • Drinking too much alcohol.
    • Having hemodialysis.
    • Having an intestinal problem such as celiac disease.
  • Taking certain medicines, including medicine used to treat cancer.
1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Folic Acid Deficiency Anemia: Causes Topics

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

disciplining a boy
Types, symptoms, causes.
psoriasis
What it looks like.
fruit drinks
Eat these to think better.
No gym workout
Moves to help control blood sugar.
acupuncture needle on shoulder
10 tips to look and feel good.
Close up of eye
12 reasons you're distracted.
Epinephrine Injection using Auto-Injector Syringe
Life-threatening triggers.
woman biting a big ice cube
Habits that wreck your teeth.
embarrassed woman
Do you feel guilty after eating?
pacemaker next to xray
Treatment options.
caregiver with parent
10 tips for daily life.
birth control pills
Which kind is right for you?

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.