The Importance of Folic Acid in Female and Male Fertility
Couples with an interest in ways to be more fertile are often confronted with medical advice to take folic acid supplements. Vitamin B9 or folate (folic acid in the form of dietary supplements for food) is indispensable for the hematopoietic system, the formation of DNA chains. Also, this B vitamin plays a dominant role during cell division.
Anemia is often caused by low levels of it in the body.
The doctors at Feskov Human Reproductive Group, within surrogacy services, advise pregnant women to take multivitamins, including folate for the formation of a healthy foetus.
How does folic acid affect male fertility?
The need for folic acid in women of childbearing age is well understood. But can folate have a positive effect on male fertility?
For an embryo to form, an egg and sperm are needed. While a woman comes into this world with a finite supply of eggs she will ever have, the male body is constantly producing sperm. About 1,500 sperm are made every second which go through a full development cycle in 2 months. However, folic acid is an essential nutrient for cell cleavage and DNA synthesis.
Folate concentration in semen is determined by the number and quality of sperm. One study indicated that a low volume of acid was associated with insufficient DNA stability of germ cell.
But can vitamin B9 make more germ cells? According to the study, taking a complex drug with zinc influenced the number of sperm in both fertile and subfertile men upward by 75% in 26 weeks. One thing of interest in this study is that before taking supplements, the amount of folate and zinc in germ cells did not differ much between fertile and subfertile men (those who need more time to conceive). This may mean that even though the low folate was not the cause of the decrease in sperm count, the drugs were still helpful.
Hence, it can be concluded that the supplement plays an important role in sperm health. However, it does not represent a full-fledged medicine - a panacea for the difficult circumstances of male infertility. For example, the effect of the drug on men diagnosed with OAT (low amount of sperm, with poor characteristics, inactive) was studied. As a result, there was no significant improvement in sperm health in the control group of men.
If a man has decided to use folate, what exactly should he drink? It is possible to increase the amount of folate in your body by taking a daily multivitamin or male prenatal supplements where, in addition to folates, there is zinc, vitamin C, vitamin D, selenium, lycopene - nutrients that increase male fertility.
Effects of folate on female fertility
Women who do not receive the required amounts of folic acid from their personal diet have an increased risk of having a baby with neural tube defects. It is a well-known fact that the growth of an embryo occurs due to cell division, and folates have a positive effect on this action, which means that the fetus is developing correctly.
Deformations of the neural tube, at best, lead to disability for life, at worst - to a quick death. And a family history in which there are similar diseases further increases the risks.
Although folic acid is not able to eliminate congenital defects, it was found that taking the drug even before conception and during short periods of pregnancy reduces the possibility of their occurrence by 60%.
What else does the supplement affect:
- reduces the risk of congenital heart defects;
- reduces the possibility of premature birth and the birth of a baby with an abnormally low weight;
- increases the content of progesterone in the body, which promotes regular ovulation.
Women who are trying to get pregnant have many compelling reasons for taking the supplement.
Foods that are high in folate
Because of the link between birth deformities and a lack of folic acid, for example, in Canada and the United States, most baked goods and cereals are fortified with a beneficial substance. And this is the easiest way to add folates to your diet.
Dose per day, which is recommended by specialists:
- 400 mcg for all people 14 years of age and older;
- 500 mcg for breastfeeding;
- 600 mcg for pregnant women.
In addition to the bowl of fortified cereals in the morning, here are ten of the most common foods that are high in folate:
- 4 boiled asparagus pods - 90 mcg
- Half a cup fresh avocado - 60 mcg
- 3 oz beef liver - 216 mcg
- Half a cup of boiled peas - 106 mcg
- 1/2 cup boiled broccoli - 53 mcg
- Half a cup of boiled Brussels sprouts - 80 mcg
- Glass of sliced of romaine lettuce - 65 mcg
- Steamed 1/2 cup spinach - 132 mcg
- A glass of fresh spinach - 59 mcg
- Half a cup of white rice - 92 mcg
Also, you can eat: green peas, beans, peanuts, wheat germ, tomato and orange juice, crabs, papaya, bananas, oranges.
Despite the enrichment of bread and cereals, all the same, most of the fair sex does not receive the substance in the required amount. As practice shows, most pregnancies occur unexpectedly, so this vitamin should be in the body up to hour X. Doctors strongly advise all women of childbearing age to drink about 400 mcg folates every day.
During pregnancy, the dose is increased to 600 mcg. It can be multivitamins, vitamins for pregnant women or dietary supplements. The main thing is that the dosage is correct. If there is a family history of neural tube defects, the doctor may prescribe 4000-5000 mcg per day. However, this should be done strictly under the supervision of a specialist so as not to cause undesirable consequences.
Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin. This means that it requires daily replenishment in the body. For maximum benefits, the supplement should be taken every day. Studies show that taking two or less times a week is not beneficial.
Risks of Taking Folic Acid
A lot is not always good. This postulate is more about folic acid than ever. Unless otherwise prescribed by the doctor, the daily intake of the substance should not exceed 1000 mcg. Before prescribing high doses of folates, you need to be tested for the content of vitamin B12 in the body. Since a large amount of acid overrides vitamin B12, which can cause irreparable damage to health.
Also, there is evidence that large doses folate can harm DNA synthesis in semen. In addition, B9 can interact with other medications. For example, it reduces the effectiveness of the anti-seizure drug phenytoin. Also, multivitamins contain herbs that can interact with fertility drugs. Therefore, be sure to check with your doctor before taking any supplements.
Recommendations from Feskov Human Reproductive Group
Folic acid is an essential vitamin for both women and men. Consuming a substantial amount of the substance can help reduce the risk of congenital malformations and increase sperm count in men.
The pharmaceutical industry produces a wide variety of fertility supplements for men and women who are trying to conceive a child. But not all of them are equal and the same. Some of them may contain ingredients that cause individual intolerance, may interact with medications the person is taking and even be harmful to the body.
Surrogate mothers of the Reproduction Center receive all the necessary vitamin and mineral complexes, including vitamin B9, in full. Surrogate mothers of VIP class know about the benefits of folates and take them regularly. Since women have already taken part in reproductive programs and know a lot from their experience.
However, in any case, Feskov Human Reproductive Group advises to always consult with your healthcare professional before taking supplements and also tell him about all the vitamins, herbs and other supplements that a person drinks.
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