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Folate deficiency anaemia

Key points

  • You need folate for many important processes inside your body, including making red blood cells.
  • If you’re not getting enough folate you can adjust your diet to get more, or take folic acid tablets.
  • Pregnant women need to take folate supplements to meet the needs of their developing babies.
  • You can help prevent folate deficiency anaemia by eating a healthy, balanced diet that contains enough folate.

Further information


  • Anemia. Medscape., published 4 November 2011
  • Folic acid deficiency. Medscape., published 22 March 2013
  • Anaemia – B12 and folate deficiency. NICE Clinical Knowledge Summaries., published February 2013
  • Anaemia – suspected. Map of Medicine., published 21 January 2013
  • Folic acid. British Dietetic Association., published June 2013
  • Vitamin B12 and folate deficiency. Map of Medicine., published 28 March 2012
  • Folic acid. Food Standards Agency., accessed 17 July 2013
  • When you're pregnant. Food Standards Agency., accessed 18 July 2013
  • Pre-conception – advice and management. NICE Clinical Knowledge Summaries., published June 2012
  • Neural tube defects. Medscape., published 22 March 2011
  • Fertility: assessment and treatment for people with fertility problems. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), February 2013.
  • Young SS, Eskenazi B, Marchetti FM, et al. The association of folate, zinc and antioxidant intake with sperm aneuploidy in healthy non-smoking men. Hum Reprod 2008; 23(5):1014–22. doi: 10.1093/humrep/den036.


For our main content on this topic, see Information.

For answers to frequently asked questions on this topic, see FAQs.

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  • This information was published by Bupa's Health Information Team and is based on reputable sources of medical evidence. It has been reviewed by appropriate medical or clinical professionals. Photos are only for illustrative purposes and do not reflect every presentation of a condition. The content is intended only for general information and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional. For more details on how we produce our content and its sources, visit the about our health information page.

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