While folic acid is crucial in the development of unborn babies and provides numerous health and beauty benefits for women and mothers, the vitamin B-9 is also essential in the health of men.
The base job and responsibility of folic acid, and its natural form folate, is to help the body break down, use and create new proteins. It also helps form red blood cells and create new DNA.
For men, one of the biggest benefits of folic acid is a reduced risk of heart disease. The supplement pairs with vitamins B-6 and B-12 to help regulate the amount of the amino acid homocysteine in the body. Without enough folic acid in the body, homocysteine levels can rise and increase the risk of diseases of the heart and blood vessels like stroke and atherosclerosis.
Elevated homocysteine levels in the body are also associated with Alzheimer’s disease. A report from California University in 2005 suggested that folic acid could reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 50%. Researchers believed that the folic acid worked to protect the brain by allowing nerve cells to repair DNA damage caused by the high levels of homocysteine.
While folic acid is primarily promoted for its ability to reduce the risk 0f neural tube defects in unborn babies, the supplement can also help those couples attempting to get pregnant.
Multiple studies have tied a higher sperm count and stronger sperm to folic acid. One study found that low folate levels in semen were associated with poor sperm DNA stability. Another study found that a combined supplementation of folic acid and zinc for a period of 26 weeks increased total sperm count in fertile and subfertile men. In fact, it increased normal total sperm count by 74%.
There are other benefits, including reducing general memory loss that comes with old age, helping prevent type-2 diabetes, a reduced risk of certain cancers, and the treatment of depression.
For the full effects, men are suggested to take 400 mcgs of folic acid supplements each day. If you have questions, contact your physician to discuss adding the vitamin B-9 to your daily regimen.