Tired all the time? You could have a folate deficiency

Folate deficiency, otherwise known as Vitamin B12 anaemia, is relatively common but would you know the symptoms?  Here’s what you need to know…

What is a folate deficiency?

A folate or Vitamin B12 deficiency is a type of anaemia where the body produces unusually large red blood cells that are deficient in haemoglobin which is needed to enable oxygen uptake.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of Vitamin B12 (folate) deficiency include:

  • extreme fatigue
  • lack of energy
  • muscle weakness
  • problems with mental agility,
  • depression
  • occasionally a sore, swollen tongue or mouth ulcers
  • possible changes to skin pallor
  • eyesight may diminish
  • possible pins and needles sensation

What causes folate deficiency?

The main causes of Vitamin B12 (folate) deficiency may be due to:

  • a malabsorption of nutrients in the stomach or intestine (such as IBS or Crohn’s Disease)
  • following a vegan or vegetarian diet
  • medication used to minimise stomach acid production
  • other illnesses of the renal or hepatic systems

How to diagnose folate deficiency

A folate or Vitamin B12 deficiency can easily be confirmed by a simple blood test.  The blood test specifically looks at your red blood cell count, how they are functioning and how much haemoglobin is present.

The blood test can be carried out by your local GP or nurse practitioner.  Your GP will look at the results of the blood test and along with your symptoms will determine whether you are suffering from this deficiency.

Treatment of folate deficiency

If you have been diagnosed with Vitamin B12 anaemia then you will be advised to maintain a good healthy balanced diet.  Supplements or Vitamin B12 injections may also be prescribed.

Your GP should also investigate the cause of your deficiency and may well refer you to a gastroenterologist or dietitian.

If you feel that you have any of the above symptoms then we would advise you to book an appointment with your GP so you can be fully assessed and tested.

Visit our diet and exercise section for helpful advice on how to eat a healthy balanced diet.

All content on is provided for general information only, and should not be treated at all as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Silversurfers will not be responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content on and we are also not liable for the content of any external websites or links from or to Silversurfers to any other websites. Please always consult your own doctor if you’re in any way concerned about any aspect of your health

Have you got a health question?

We've teamed up with AXA PPP healthcare to bring you articles, information and tips from their clinical teams on a wide range of health topics. And if you have a question of your own, their, "Ask the Expert" service allows you to ask the team of friendly, experienced nurses, pharmacists and midwives about any health topic and they'll get back to you with an answer as soon as they’re able.* So if you have something that’s been bothering you, whether it concerns you or someone close to you, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Click below to submit your query online.


* Nurses are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Midwives and pharmacists are available Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm; Saturday, 8am to 4pm; and Sunday, 8am to 12pm.
Actual response time will depend on the nature of your enquiry and availability of appropriately qualified experts but the team will always aim to get back to you within 24 hours.
Please note that our Expert Help services are there to offer health information and support. They do not diagnose or prescribe, and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice given in the context of an individual consultation.


The following two tabs change content below.

AXA PPP healthcare

The more you know about your body and how you can look after it, the healthier you are – and the stronger and bolder you become. That’s why we never stop looking for ways to support your health. We want to give you the tools and knowledge you need to take care of yourself – so you’re ready to face whatever the world brings.

Latest posts by AXA PPP healthcare (see all)

Leave a Comment!

Not a member?

You need to be a member to interact with Silversurfers. Joining is free and simple to do. Click the button below to join today!

Click here if you have forgotten your password

Community Terms & Conditions

Content standards

These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.

You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.

Contributions must:

be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.

Contributions must not:

contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.

Nurturing a safe environment

Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.

We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!