Pernicious Anaemia Society
15,502 members10,917 posts


In my learning journey on how to improve my health and quality of life I question things. We are all born either of two ways: either "satisfied" or "curious". Obviously I belong to the latter category, and when the next question comes up for me to research I chuckle for I should called myself "nostoneunturned", but that nickname is taken up!

Upon perusing (again) copy of my last blood work results from Jaruary 10, 2013 (I always get a copy which I keep in folder for reference) I noticed that RBC folate was described. But I recalled that the requisition did not have a box to check for folate (I have an old copy of the requisition form) and wonder why did the lab check for folate levels when it was not requested? Perhaps it is because the last blood test was done on November 22, 2012?

Anyhow, I also recall my GP did not notice it. But I did: the reading never shown before and I always use the same lab to keep results consistent and easy to observe and compare, is:

more than >2623 and the range is: more than >829.

It is overwhelming to have to deal with so many issues at once, just having started shots of B12 last week and taking sublingual methylcobalamin daily until next shot.

So, I pursued the issue of having such a high level, three times the starting point (starting range) and came across the site below:

Half way through it makes reference to the conditions of high levels of folate, which are not good news: cancer. And being a higher consumer of "rabbit food", eating brocoli and other foods high in folic acid every week, I wonder if anyone has come across this issue before?

My WBC (white blood cells) are within normal range, and I had a colonoscopy in October 2007, showing no polips. Thus there appears no evident reason exists to pursue possible pre-cancerous condition.


Regardless, I would much appreciate any feedback if you came across this issue before.


It is overwhelming to exist with such low ferritin (IDA) for the past five years (in April 2007 it was less <5 and has not gone over 10 since, with exception it jumped to 18 from 7 in january 10, 2013 blood test from eating meat and switching to different iron medication) and only now I learn that B12 levels in blood serum are not indicative of B12 in body and started shots last week. Earlier I had suspected chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, but doctors could not find anything wrong with me. That's when they suggest it's all in your head or menopause and prescribe antidepressants which I refused. It is now twenty years that I have become my own doctor, reading about natural health and buying supplements on my own. My health has never been normal all my working life, and I keep on pressing towards better health.

Looking forward to hear from anyone who has researched the question I raised.

Cheers from cold Canada (it was close fo -35C yesterday!)


14 Replies

As I understand Kresser's paper, it is high levels of folic acid, not folate, which are linked to cancer. Your RBC FOLATE was measured, not the RBC folic acid.

Is it not a mistake to say that you have a high intake of folic acid "....being a higher consumer of "rabbit food"...high in folic acid" ? No, they are not, they are high in folate, the natural folate, not the synthetic folic acid.

I think my observations are accurate as far as they go, but more internet research might reveal differences between the ranges for RBC folate and serum folate, as it is difficult to pursue your quotation of results/ranges as no units of measurement are given.

I take it from your reference somewhere to "public TV" that you are either in USA? (Or Canada?)

I hope these observations help you in further researches, as my observation is that you have yourself confused folate and folic acid despite Kressler's distinction between the two.


Thanks so much, nostoneunturned.

The range for RBC folate is stated as >829 NMOL/L with my reading at >2623.

Research continued this morning seems to indicate as follows, per this and other sites:

With a negative mammogram from Dec.2012 and high level use of vitamin D3 (colocalciferol) consumed in oil form I should not be overly concerned about my high RBC folate level.

In my last visit to the lab noticed poster for a new colon cancer test called COLOGIC offered by that lab chain. My medical insurance called me back to inform they will not cover the $75.00 cost, but given that the test checks out for a precursor protein in blood serum, will pay for it the next time I attend next month.

Meanwhile will remain on a high protein diet, for on purpose eat more meat/fish and lowered the vegetable portion.

Now back to research: checking online flyers for tenderloin/salmon on specials to stock up!

Cheers from chilly southeastern Ontario, Canada! We get PBS feed from the US.



I wonder what the relationship is between serum folate and RBC folate? My serum folate is 45.4 nmol/L (10.4 - 42.4) private lab, who said I should consult GP. Serum folate had been high in previous GP-run test, outside top of range, but he said that was because I was eating lots of liver as B12 was low.

I take it that folic acid is not added to foodstuffs in Canada as it is in USA?

Re ferritin, STTM information is that ferritin can rise when there is inflammation, etc.


I don't think we know the answer to this one...

Folate is involved in DNA division in cell synthesis. If folate is very low, then it inhibits cell synthesis. But maybe if you have very high folate levels in your blood, and happened to get cancer anyway, then that might not be so great because it's easier for your body to make new cells? However, people who eat lots of naturally occuring folate seem to have a lower risk of cancer. It's hard to know what's going on.

So my take on this would be simply to try and avoid synthetic folic acid supplements and fortified foods. You don't need to take supplements as your folate levels are already high, and the health risk only seems to be associated with the synthetic folic acid.

I suffer from low ferritin too. Although not quite as low as yours, mine has been knocking around under 20 for the last couple of years in spite of supplements. I know that it can make me feel pretty unwell - when it's dipping down again I get really cold, tired, low mood, brain fog, food cravings, hair falling out etc etc.

I think you should push your doctors to try and find out why your iron levels are so low. Ask for the full iron panel to find out what's going on... my ferritin levels fell while I was on iron supplements, even though they made me feel much better, so I don't trust that number on its own.


Input and link much appreciated, poing.

Take a look at, website of this new type of iron in polysacharide form inside gel cap. it can be opened and pellets mixed with liquid. The side shows how it bypasses the stomach for absorption in the intestines. It is not called iron pill, but hematinic. Worth reading.

The only thing which together with meat consumption is working, notice ferritin from 7 in Nov.20/12 to 18 for first time in five years of f/u to January 10.



same old crap- all in your head you are depressed / have antidepressants - ts al lto do with control big pharm and prob how many points they get for doling out anti depressants. cant help with bloods tho just moaning off.



Google functional b12 deficiency and folate trap. This is my avenue of research right now. My RBC folate is high too at 2370 and my B12 serum results have ranged between 350 and 512 over the last few years. My symptoms all scream B12 issues, but I'm still trying to prove it.


(in Ontario too!)


I just came across this site in hopes of figuring out why i have high RBC folate (1413) and low B12 (312). I also have a chronic low WBC (hovers around 2.5 for 15+ years) and had breast cancer 10 years ago. All other labs are normal. Have you found anything out since you last posted? Many thanks for any shared info. Sue


Hi hopes and pettals:

Did you read my earlier broadcast called Sharing Good News II? In it I provided several links,

the best test for active B12 as opposed of B12 in the pool is called ELISA and offered by IBS International. Take a look at my comments. The other link I shared is that to American Assoc of Labs, where all B12 and related tests are described. Their description of "neuropathy" is one of the best I have come across. I suspect I lack the "intrinsic factor" enzime in the stomach that prevents B12 processing for absorption by the parietal cells in the intestines.

I am currently taking sublingual B12 methylcobalamin, one in strips form made by Jamieson Labs, and the second is liquid by Well (15 drops). Note that Loblaws has Jamieson at 1/2 price this week. Just got back and got two boxes (60 day supply of sublingual strips). At Shoppers Drug got 3 Webber liquid vitamin D3 at 1/2 price too. I am well stocked up.

I feel great improvement since my first shot of B12 one week ago, supplemented on my own with sublingual drops and strips. Ingest 1,000 mcgs twice p/d.

Also this is my sixth month with absolutely no grains, and that calmed my digestive system altogether. I sense that inflammation has gone, and it can absorb what I consume, which is all fresh/frozen. No cans, jars, any packaged products. Also eliminated most foods with "lectins":

chicken, tomatoes, potatoes, all peppers and green beans and all legumes, including lentils. All food is prepared fresh just before consumption. Condiments: coarse sea salt, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil. I sprinkle fresh chopped parsley on top of every hot dish. Nothing else.

This paragraph is also very important. Two days ago I started St. John's Wort, the dose is three pellets a day, but I take starting with supper and last two before going to bed. I believe it is working this time, providing even better sleep, and muscular ease. I think it works now because I am close to a month on high dose of B3 (niacin) that removes any vestige of arthritis from joints in my neck and spine. Of course the B12 sublinguals are working in combination. The myelin sheating is being repaired. All this without having to see the MD.

St. John's does the same job as Prozac, and the only side effect in certain people during the summer and sun exposure are dark spots on the skin. I never got any using this before. I have book about it, and it increases serotonin levels. I am extremely sensitive and notice the marked difference with two nights of use.

Pettals: in the UK St. John's might be also available in gel cap form. The colour of the yellow flower when the oil is expressed is similar to that of B12: red. Hopes: I use St. John's by Jamieson. Come to think of it, I will go back to Loblaw and get some of it at 1/2 price too!

A nice weekend to all.



If you are concerned about "pre cancer" issues..there have been numerous studies that have linked a high protein/animal based diet to cancer, not a high veggie The China Study, Folks over Knives...


Forks Over Knives is based on The China Study, so I wouldn't say there have been numerous studies linking high protein/animal based diets to cancer based on those two references. They're the same reference. The information presented in The China Study has been highly debated so I wouldn't put too much stock in it.





sorry to hear you have been unwell,

i have high folate too,

i think it would be wise to look up MTHFR polymorphism,

also search for Dr Lynch, he does great work on this..

it is linked to CFS and FM and much more, and high folate can be an indicator...

best wishes


I don't know about Canada but I do know as a 35 year health care professional, labs use the terms " folic acid" and " folate" interchangeably on lab reports. A lab draw of blood from your arm is not tested as to which is synthetic ( folic acid) from which is natural form ( folate). So, you see, a high folic acid or folate level is measuring the combination of the two. If your level is elevated, then it's elevated.


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