Folic Acid Use in Men

by on June 7, 2012

Most people are aware of the importance of folic acid during pregnancy. However, it is not just pregnant women who require this vitamin. Men also need adequate amounts of folic acid for certain physiologic functions.

This micronutrient is crucial in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. It also helps in the production of healthy DNA molecules, red bloods and certain brain chemicals. Folic acid is also thought to play a role in the proper function of the brain and the nervous system. Because of the numerous health benefits of folic acid, it is essential for people of all ages and sex to get the recommended amount of this vitamin.

In addition, inadequate amounts of folic acid, in both men and women, can lead into a number of problems such as deficiency anemia.

Benefits of Folic Acid in Men

Aside from the major health benefits of folic acid, it also has other health benefits that are unique for men. Studies show that folate and folic acid improves men’s sperm production thereby increasing the chances of fathering a child.

A study conducted by researchers at UC Berkeley in California suggests that men who consumed folic acid that is higher than the recommended dietary intake have lower chances of having abnormal sperm. The study analyzed sperm samples of 89 men and correlated it with their daily intake of folic acid (both in their diet and use of vitamin supplements). Men who have increased intake of this micronutrient (between 722 to 1,150 mcg) had a 20-30 per cent reduction in abnormal sperm.

Folic acid also helps reduce the risk of heart diseases and stroke, which are common among men. Studies show that this micronutrient helps lower blood levels of homocysteine which is linked to cardiovascular problems. In addition, this vitamin also reduces the risk of certain cancers, improves symptoms of depression, and decreases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Recommended Dosage for Men

The dosage of folic acid for men depends on a number of factors such as the user’s age and body requirement. Below is the recommended dietary intake for folic acid in men:

  • 9 to 13 years - 300 micrograms
  • Over 14 years of age - 400 micrograms

If your daily consumption of folic acid falls below the recommended daily allowance for your age, you may want to consider adding multivitamin preparation or folic acid supplement in your diet. This will help boost your levels folic acid and ensure you get its maximum benefits.

Remember that folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin; and since it is readily excreted in the urine and is not stored in large amounts in the body, the risk of an overdose due to folic acid supplement is relatively low. However, your daily intake of folic acid should be kept below 1 mg, unless specifically instructed by your healthcare provider. This is because taking high doses of folic acid can mask the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.

For most people, diet is enough to meet the body’s need for folic acid. Folate is a naturally occurring B vitamin commonly found in foods such as beans, spinach, lentils, dried peas, and citrus fruits. It is also abundant in many food products in the U.S. Some products that are fortified with folic acid include pasta, breads, rice, and breakfast cereals.