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RBC Folate


The RBC-folate test is a blood test conducted to detect folate deficiency in the blood.

What is the RBC-folate test?

Folate(B9) is a vitamin which we usually get from our diet. The deficiency of RBC-folate represents its low intake or absorptive problems. The concentration of RBC-folate is less sensitive to short-term dietary deficiencies than plasma-folate; hence, the RBC-folate test is preferred.

Why is the RBC-Folate test suggested?

The RBC-Folate test may be suggested for various causes in the following cases:

  • As a diagnosis for anemia.
  • To assess the cause of abnormal Complete Blood Count (CBC) results.
  • To monitor treatment for folate deficiency.
  • As a routine check-up in case of pregnancy.

How is the RBC-Folate test performed?

The RBC-folate test is usually performed in specialized laboratories in the following steps:

  • Blood is drawn with a needle from the arm.
  • The sample is analyzed using special techniques.

The test provider explains the results of the RBC-folate test.

What are the parameters measured in the RBC-Folate test?

The RBC-folate test measures the amount of Vitamin B9 or folate in the blood. Low levels of RBC-folate are indicative of malnutrition or malabsorption. Further tests are often required. Normal or elevated results of the RBC-folate test may be seen in people being treated for deficiency.

Preparation before performing the RBC-Folate test

The patient should inform the doctor of any underlying health conditions. Furthermore,

  • Fasting for 6-8 hours may be recommended.
  • The doctor may ask the patient to stop certain medications before the RBC-Folate test.

Post-care after the RBC-Folate test

Since the RBC-Folate test is a blood test, the patient may take post-care measures including

  • Eating and drinking to compensate for fasting.
  • Not straining the site of injection.

Sample types in the RBC-Folate test

Blood is extracted from a vein in the arm for the RBC-Folate test. This includes

  • Whole blood sample (2 tubes).
  • Blood serum in some cases.

Side effects/risks of RBC-Folate test

There aren’t any specific risks with RBC-folate test except the standard risks that come with any blood test, including

  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Discomfort
  • Eye pain.

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