Bovine Folate Binding Protein (FBP) has a very high affinity for human folate and folic acid, two forms of vitamin B9. This affinity makes bovine FBP ideal for the development of serum assays for human folate/folic acid. FBP is purified from mother's milk, so the human form is difficult to source.
Determinations of serum folate/folic acid levels are useful in the diagnosis of megaloblastic anemia and malnutrition. In addition, serum folate levels are severely depressed in alcoholic individuals. Folate/folic acid deficiency is also a risk factor for neural tube defects in a developing fetus, so monitoring serum levels of expectant mothers may also be useful.
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