Folic acid deficiency signs: pins and needles, extreme tiredness, and sore mouth among symptoms

Iron tablets, vitamins and omega capsules are all commonly taken, but should you also be incorporating a supplement for folic acid into your routine?

If you're experiencing symptoms like extreme tiredness, a folic acid deficiency might be the answer (Photo: Shutterstock)
If you're experiencing symptoms like extreme tiredness, a folic acid deficiency might be the answer (Photo: Shutterstock)

A folic acid deficiency can manifest itself in a variety of ways - these are the common signs to watch out for.

What is folic acid deficiency?

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Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps your body in the process of creating red blood cells. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen around your body.

When your organs don’t receive enough oxygen, it doesn’t work as well as it should normally.

This can result in health problems like becoming anaemic. For pregnant women, a lack of folic acid can be dangerous to the baby's development.

What are the symptoms?

According to the NHS, there are a variety of symptoms you can experience if you’re suffering from a folic acid deficiency.

These include:

- Extreme tiredness and an overall lack of energy

- Experiencing the sensation of pins and needles

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- A sore mouth including a sore and red tongue and mouth ulcers

- Feeling weak

- Distorted or blurry vision

The symptoms can also present themselves psychologically, with examples including:

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- Depression

- Feeling confused

- Difficulty remembering things

- Problems with understanding or judgement

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What should I do if I think I have a deficiency?

If you’re concerned that might be experiencing a folic acid deficiency, then you should make an appointment with your GP. They’ll be able to assess your symptoms and may call for a blood test to confirm if you’re deficient.

You may then be prescribed folic acid tablets, or injections, in order to restore your lowered folate levels.

Folic acid also occurs naturally in a lot of food, such as:

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- Legumes

- Leafy greens like spinach, kale and rocket

- Eggs

- Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes

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- Brussel sprouts

- Broccoli

- Bananas

You can also keep an eye out for foods which have been fortified, which means that folic acid has been added, such as some types of breads and pasta.