Health Questions and Answers

Question: How do diet and neurologic disease differ in vitamin B12 and folate deficiencies?


Diet may be normal in vitamin B12 deficiency, but patients with folate deficiency may be alcoholics or have a diet consisting mainly of junk food and “tea and toast,” with no green vegetables.
Neurologic disease in vitamin B12 deficiency is subacute and involves combined systems; in folate deficiency it is absent or associated with alcohol.

Reference: Babior BM: The megaloblastic anemias. In Williams WJ, et al (eds): Hematology, 5th ed. New York, McGraw-Hill, 1995.

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