Does Folic Acid Help Male Fertility?
Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin mainly found in leafy green vegetables and fruits.
It is essential for pregnant women because it helps form the neural tube, which becomes the baby's brain and spinal cord.
Folic acid can also help prevent major congenital disabilities in the baby's brain and spine.
In this article we shall cover the following areas:
- Folic acid and male fertility
Folic Acid and Male Fertility
There is some evidence that suggests that folic acid may improve male fertility.
One study found that men who took folic acid supplements for at least a month had improved sperm concentrations when combined with zinc.
Another study found that men who took folic acid supplements for at least three months had a lower incidence of sperm abnormalities.
It is thought that folic acid reduces the rate of DNA damage. However, these studies were small and had several other limitations.
Folic acid may also help protect sperm from damage caused by free radicals.
Another study showed that men who were suffering from erectile dysfunction were also low on serum folic acid levels, noting an association between the two.
Several medications can cause folic acid deficiency, including anticonvulsants and some antibiotics.
Alternative benefits of folic acid is that it can also treat folate deficiency anemia.
In 1928, Lucy Wills, an English haematologist discovered that folic acid is capable to prevent birth defects during her work in Mumbai, India.
Then in the 1940s, folic acid was isolated from spinach and then synthetically produced a couple of years later in 1943 by Bob Stokstad.
Folic acid is better known as vitamin B9. It's a water-soluble vitamin that plays a vital role in many body functions, including DNA synthesis and cell division and maintaining blood vessels.
The National Health Service of the United Kingdom also state that it is required to produce healthy red blood cells which are used to transport nutrients around the body to the ordgans and muscles.
Furthermore, folic acid can also help alleviate some of the side effects associated with the medicine known as methotrexate.
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This particular drug is used for serious, life threatening illnesses such as cancer, and can be life threatening in itself.
Taking folic acid supplements can cause changes in your heartbeat and other symptoms, such as dizziness.
And you are taking more than the recommended daily amount of folic acid can lead to liver damage.
Talk to your doctor before taking folic acid if you have any of the following conditions:
- liver problems
- epilepsy or other seizure disorders
- low levels of red blood cells (anemia)
- severe heart disease
Older people are more suseptible to a deficiency, and those who follow a vegan diet or just a poor diet over a long period of time.
Take a look at the following foods that contain folate:
- Beef liver
- Black eyed peas
A well balanced diet including dark green leafy vegetables, fruits, meats, poultry, seafoods and grains will ensure that you obtain enough folate.
If you follow a strict diet that omits certain foods that have been mentioned, ensure that you use a supplement or consume enough of the alternative foods.
Folic acid requirements for men and women are largely the same at 400mcg daily.
However, pregnant or breastfeeding women need to increase this to 600mcg.
To conclude this article, it is clear that folic acid has an effect and impact on both male fertility and birth.
Some of the studies highlight that folic acid can help with the following perameters:
- sperm concentrations
- protect against free radical damage
- reduce sperm abnormalities
- help improve erections
Furthermore, folic acid has nunerous health benefits, no least red blood cells which oxygenate muscles and organs.
Therefore, it is advised that you eat a well balanced diet consisting of meats, fish, poultry along with leafy green vegetables, beans and grains.
If you cannot or do not eat any of the outlined fertility enhancing foods, a supplement may be a more viable option.