If you’ve been looking at supplements for fertility, you’ve likely come across recommendations for folic acid. One of the B-vitamins, folate (or folic acid, as it’s known in supplement form) is needed for the development of red blood cells and DNA production. Folate also plays an important role in cell division. Low folate blood levels are associated with a form of anemia.
Folic acid is clearly an essential nutrient in the body. But can folic acid help you conceive? Should men also be taking folic acid? Should you take a supplement, or can you get what you need from diet alone?
Folic Acid Benefits for Men
Folic acid can help with erectile dysfunction1 and it could potentially boost sperm count. Studies have been mixed on how well folic acid improves semen, but there’s no harm in trying. Folic acid is worth a shot if you are trying to boost your fertility.
Folic Acid and Male Fertility
The need for folic acid or folate in women of childbearing age is well-known. (More on female fertility and folate below.) But could folic acid improve male fertility? Before we get an embryo, we need an egg and a sperm.
While women are born with all the eggs they will ever have, the man’s body creates sperm on a daily basis. In fact, 1,500 new sperm cells are “born” every second.
The process from germline stem cell to sperm cell takes about 60 days. Folate is an essential nutrient when it comes to cell division and DNA synthesis
Folate levels measured in semen have been associated with sperm count and health. One study found that low folate levels in semen were associated with poor sperm DNA stability. From this, we may learn that folate plays an important role in sperm health.