Health Questions and Answers

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

Answer:

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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