Folate deficiency is most commonly found in pregnant and lactating women, people with chronic gastrointestinal tract conditions, people on restricted diets due to weight loss regimens or medical conditions, people with alcohol dependence, and people over 65 years of age. Low levels of folic acid can cause megaloblastic anemia. With this condition, red blood cells are larger than normal. There are fewer such cells.
They are also oval in shape, not round. Sometimes these red blood cells don't live as long as normal red blood cells. The best way to prevent folate deficiency is to follow a healthy diet that includes foods that contain folate or folic acid. While folate deficiency clearly predisposes to a range of health consequences, more recent studies raise concerns about toxicities and health consequences related to oversupplementation.