Folic Acid Deficiency Anemia: Causes

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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:

  • Not eating enough foods that contain folic acid.
    • Unhealthy diets may not have much 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:
  • 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.

Related Information


Other Works Consulted

  • Andres E (2015). Pernicious anemia and other megaloblastic anemias. In ET Bope et al., eds., Conn's Current Therapy 2015, pp. 878–881. Philadelphia: Saunders.


ByHealthwise Staff

Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine

Specialist Medical Reviewer Joseph O'Donnell, MD - Hematology, Oncology

Current as ofJuly 6, 2015