I recently went to my GP as i was constantly extremely tired, suffering with cramps in my leg, falling over my own feet and feeling weakness in my legs and occasionally pins and needles. Naturally i was concerned as my Father had MS. I went for some blood tests and the results were that my Folate levels were low. They did not explain much more than that and asked me to collect a prescription of Folic Acid urgently.

My question is:

Do I have a B12 deficiency?

Should my doctor have spoken to me after he saw my blood works rather than a receptionist over the phone?

How quickly after taken these tables should I start to feel an improvement?

Not sure if this is the right place to get these questions answered and sorry if it isn't (thought it may be worth a try as I am feeling a little in the dark with it all).


9 Replies

  • Your GP should certainly have spoken to you Carmen. You could ask for a copy of all of your test results (they may make nominal charge for print out) and post them here, where they can be considered along with symptoms, as what many GPs consider normal B12 results are not normal.

    In the meantime, here is a link to BCSH Guidelines - page 4

  • Thank you for your reply and advice. I will speak to my doctor and get an appointment. I thought it was a bit odd to put a patient on medication and tell them they have a low Folate level without even seeing the patient. I've been having these symptoms for the last 2/3 years and this is the first time they have actually checked something. Frustrating.

  • You may or may not have a B12 deficiency - difficult to tell without the results and a full clinical evaluation. The symptoms of folate deficiency are very similar to those of B12 deficiency - in part because the body can't process B12 without folate and the two are used together in a number of key processes.

    Unfortunately the normal range for serum B12 is far from being a conclusive indicator that there isn't a B12 deficiency going on - and there isn't a good test for B12 - though there are some tests that can help to clarify the situation - MMA and homocysteine being the most obvious two.

    How long it takes to recover from a folate deficiency will depend on exactly what effect of a folate deficiency is causing your symptoms - if they are down to anaemia then that will only correct as healthy red blood cells replace deformed ones - which takes several months.

    Please do get hold of a printout of the blood results. If they included B12 and it was anywhere in the lower half of normal range then make an appointment to see your GP. A folate deficiency should not be treated in preference if there is a possibility of a B12 deficiency at the same time. Please also look through the information in the pinned posts to the right.

    Unfortunately it is very common for receptionists to hand out results which is far from ideal where the results need careful interpretation. Though also true that most GPs are totally unaware of the fact that B12 does require evaluation of clinical results.

  • Hi Gambit62,

    Line 5 in your reply..... Is that meant to be... can't process B12...

    J 👍

  • thanks - post edited to correct

  • Wow. Thank you. I don't fully understand it all if I'm honest but got the main bits I think. I will call my GP and get my results and request to see them as well.

  • Hi Carmen-Rider1991.

    Take your time and it will all make sense.

    I was the very same when I joined Oct '15.

    You're in the right place my dear.

    J 🍀

  • Thanks Jose 😊

  • 😘

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