Because dietary folates are largely present in their polyglutamate forms, their absorption first requires the hydrolysis of monoglutamate. Folate (vitamin B) is important for the formation of red blood cells and for healthy cell growth and function. However, the concentration of circulating homocysteine is not a specific indicator of folate status, since high homocysteine levels may be the result of deficiencies in vitamin B12 and other B vitamins, lifestyle factors, and kidney failure. While folate deficiency clearly predisposes to a range of health consequences, more recent studies raise concerns about the toxicities and health consequences related to excessive supplementation.
Plasma folate, erythrocyte folate and plasma homocysteine in healthy Danish women during pregnancy and 8 weeks after delivery. In a cross-sectional study of elderly women, AD patients had significantly higher concentrations of homocysteine and folate in their lower red blood cells compared to healthy people.