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Nutritional Status - Folate Metabolism; plasma

Doctors DataSKU: A2816

This test measures the levels of the primary forms of folate (B-9) in plasma, and can be used to assess folate status and disorders in essential folate metabolism. The plasma folate profile reports the levels of THF, UMFA, folinic acid and 5-MTHF, and can be used to monitor clinical intervention. It can be used as a single test, or as a...

Full Description

Assessment of plasma folate species provides clinical insight into aberrant folate metabolism that can significantly affect crucial methylation processes, DNA/RNA metabolism, and neurotransmitter metabolism. Naturally occurring folates are derived mostly from dark green leafy vegetables while synthetic folic acid is used under mandate in cereals and other processed foods. There is debate regarding synthetic folic acid as it is not considered biologically active unless converted into activated folates, and can block folate metabolism.  Reduced activated forms of folate are obligatory cofactors in the metabolism of amino acids and DNA. Traditionally long-term folate status is determined as the level of total folates in red blood cells, but that does not provide clinically important information regarding the specific forms of folate.

This test is useful for

  • Prenatal Care
  • Folate Receptor Autoantibodies
  • Nutrutional Deficiencies
  • Elevated Homocysteine
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Neurotransmitter Imbalances
  • Autism
  • Cancer/Chemotherapy
  • Detoxification Impairment
  • General Health and Longevity
  • Genetic Disorders
  • Assess functional folate metabolism in variants of MTHFR and COMT
  • Assess therapeutic interventions of enzymatic deficienes of methylation
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • Psychiatric Disorders
  • Behavioral Disorders

For More Details:

Please contact us at (714) 864-3730 or to order your test.

Nutritional Status

Proper nutritional intake is essential to overall health and provides the raw materials the body needs to function in the form of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. Nutritional testing from Doctor's Data can give you a clear view into nutritional status. Carbohydrates are broken down into sugars and used as energy. Protein is broken down into individual amino acids and used to build and repair muscles, the immune and nervous systems, hormones and organs. The body requires fats which function within the membranes that surround all the body’s cells and are needed to signal hormones. Vitamins and minerals typically function as co-enzymes and have protective anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

The typical Western diet contains too many carbohydrates and saturated fats, and is often low in nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Poor dietary choices can cause nutritional deficiencies and imbalances which may require dietary changes or nutritional supplementation.

Doctor's Data offers a wide range of nutritional testing profiles used to assess nutritional status and to monitor patient response to nutritional interventions.

Detailed Information

Folate is a generic term that includes the various derivatives of naturally occurring physiologically important forms of folate (b-9), and synthetic folic acid. Naturally occurring folates are derived mostly from dark green leafy vegetables while synthetic folic acid is used under mandate in fortified cereals and other processed foods. Folic acid is also the most common form found in nutritional supplements and prescribed prenatally for women to prevent serious birth defects of the fetal spinal cord and brain. There is much debate regarding synthetic folic acid as it is not considered biologically active unless converted into activated folates. Folic acid can impede essential folate metabolism by means of blocking folate receptors and transporters, along with inhibiting the enzyme dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), which initiates the reductive activation of folates. High levels of unmetabolized folic acid (UMFA) may also promote the growth of existing cancers, and have been associated with decreased natural killer cell activity and increased cancer risk. Activated forms of folate in their reduced chemical form are obligatory cofactors in the metabolism of amino acids, DNA and biopterin (BH2 to BH4). Various genetic and epigenetic factors may adversely affect folate metabolism; e.g. methotrexate and excessive intake of polyphenols. The level of total folates in red blood cells (RBC) has traditionally been used to assess long-term folate status, but the test does not provide clinically important information regarding specific forms of folate. Folate levels in RBC and plasma reflect hepatic folate stores. Although plasma folates are cleared rapidly, the analysis of plasma folates allows for the distinction between the different forms to help identify and aberrant folate metabolism. Five-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF) is the predominate folate in plasma and is the bioactive derivative with respect to donation of a methyl group to homocysteine using cobalamin (B-12) bound to MTR (methionine synthase). Tetrahydrofolate (THF) is a byproduct of MTR activity and can be recycled back to other bioactive reduced forms of folate. Folinic acid (5-formylTHF) supports purine biosynthesis (DNA nucleobases), and can be converted to 5-MTHF under normal conditions; an abnormal ratio of folinic acid to 5-MTHF might be clinical significant and indicative of aberrant folate metabolism. Folinic acid can be effective in patients with inherited disorders of folate transport or with folate receptor autoantibodies as it readily crosses the blood-brain-barrier. Folinic acid may thereby normalize the level of active folate derivatives and has been shown to normalize folate concentrations and improve various social interactions in cerebral folate deficiency, including mood, behavior, and verbal communication in children with autistic spectrum disorders. The Plasma Folate test reports the levels of THF, UMFA, folinic acid and 5-MTHF and an be used to monitor clinical intervention, or as a "folate challenge test" in assessing folate levels before and one hour post-folate supplementation. It can also be a useful add on to the functional Plasma Methylation Profile.

Usage Directions

Before You Start:

Please read all of the directions, and familiarize yourself with the collection procedures. The results of this test are greatly dependant on proper specimen collection technique and are time sensitive.

Unless otherwise instructed by your physician, it is recommended that the blood specimen for this test be collected after an overnight fast. A fasting collection emphasizes metabolic problems and minimizes dietary influences. For 48 hours prior to the collection, discontinue taking dietary supplements containing folate unless otherwise directed by your physician. Never discontinue prescription medications without first consulting your physician.

To assess the abosorption and metabolism of folates, it may be useful to do a basline blood collection after an overnight fast and then a second blood draw 1-2 hours after taking a recommended of a “folate” supplement.

The samples must be received at our laboratory within 8 days after collection.

More Instructions:

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