Folate, or Vitamin B9, is a water-soluble member of the twelve B vitamins, which plays a vital role in DNA synthesis and gene expression. Low Vitamin B levels can result in anemia. Pregnant women in particular should be mindful of their status: vitamin B deficiency can cause neurodevelopmental defects in their fetuses.
Needless to say, it's essential to be aware of your folate vitamin B9 numbers and bring them up if they're low, especially if you're thinking about getting pregnant. Typically, an over-the-counter supplement is sufficient to raise folate vitamin B9 numbers to appropriate levels. However, chronically low vitamin B9 may require management, particularly for pregnant women. People with a folate genetic mutation may require additional supplements or other medical management to keep from having low vitamin B9. Research indicates that there may be anemia genetics affecting how we regulate vitamin B9 levels.
In this paper, investigators found a few genetic variants that influence vitamin B6 and B12 concentrations. No genetic loci was found to have a statistically significant influence on folate concentrations, but the paper nevertheless suggests a linkage between genotypes and B vitamins in the body. Learn more here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19303062
Understanding anemia genetics and how your genes affect your absorption and regulation of vitamin B9 can help you to better regulate your folate and vitamin B9 levels. It's important to have appropriate vitamin B levels to avoid anemia. Even if you aren't severely anemic, being chronically borderline anemic can have severe consequences on your health and quality of life.
If you feel like you are tired, lethargic, or listless a lot, it may be that your vitamin B levels are to blame. Finding out that you have a genetic predisposition for low vitamin B and anemia can help you to finally get the help you need to successfully manage your vitamin B levels and anemia that may result from low vitamin B9.
If you're pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant soon, getting your vitamin B levels under control is even more critical. If you struggle with chronically low Vitamin B, this is the time to get genetic testing to find out if you are predisposed to low B9. Your doctor may manage your vitamin B levels differently with the knowledge that genetics are affecting them.
You don't want to take any chances with low folate levels when you're pregnant, so this is something to take very seriously. Folate supplements are recommended even before you get pregnant, during the time you are trying to get pregnant and even before you start trying. However, if you find out that you are genetically predisposed to low folate, you may want to talk to your doctor about starting a higher folate supplementation dose than would typically be recommended well before you get pregnant to eliminate any chances of low folate in your body when the fetus is developing.
Find out what your genetics say about the way you process folate on Genomelink!