It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to [email protected] and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.

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Ask Dr. Gourmet

Are HIGH folate levels something to be concerned about in pregnancy?

I am hoping to be pregnant later this year and with that in mind I had my blood checked. All my levels are great: iron, calcium etc. One thing that stood out was that I had folate levels double that of the average population. Could this be a problem? I know folate is great for baby health and growth, but what about high folate?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

fresh spinach - spinach is a good source of folic acid

You're right that getting enough folate is important for proper development of the fetus. Having a high folate level should not be a problem. There have been some suggestions in the literature that folate supplementation might lead to higher risk of some cancers, but this has not been proven, and the most recent research has not shown any link.

For those who may need to get more folate in their diet, here are two guides from the USDA (both PDF documents):

Folate Content of Selected Foods, Alphabetical List
Folate Content of Selected Foods, By Amount of Folate

For more tips on having a healthy pregnancy, visit our section on A Healthy Pregnancy, with guidance for before, during, and after pregnancy.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS
Dr. Gourmet