Folic Acid in Men: Advantages, Possible Side Effects, and Insights

Before we dive into the details of how folic acid is beneficial, let’s define the difference between folic acid and folate since they are often used interchangeably.

Folate is found in green leafy vegetables, beans, nuts, eggs, and certain fruits to name a few. The synthetic form of folate found in many vitamins is called folic acid, or vitamin B9.

This essential vitamin cannot be produced by your body itself, making it essential to obtain from your diet and supplements.

Folic acid is a vital component of prenatal vitamins, but it may come as a surprise that it’s integral in men’s health too. Your body uses folate to repair DNA and maintain cellular health.

Here’s a quick overview of why folic acid should be a daily component of life.

Can Help with Depression 

Over 6 million men suffer from depression per year, with male depression often being underdiagnosed.

Research suggests that people suffering from mental health disorders like depression may have lower levels of folate in their blood than those without depression. One scientific review looked at 43 different studies and over 35,000 people found that people with depression tended to have lower folate in their diet.

Other studies indicate that taking folic acid supplements along with prescription antidepressant medication may increase the reduction of symptoms.

Always speak with your doctor before adding supplements like folic acid to your protocol if you are suffering from depression, as more research is needed on this topic.

Benefits for Heart Health

Causing approximately one in four deaths among men in the United States every year, heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide.

Taking folic acid in supplement form regularly has been linked to a decrease in heart disease factors. In addition, folic acid is known for its ability to reduce blood pressure and blood flow, leading to a healthier heart and lessened risk factors.

Promoting Hair Growth 

Hair loss and re-growth are popular concerns for aging men, as hair naturally greys and falls out with age.

Folic acid is an integral vitamin for hair growth and strength because it helps with the production of keratin, a protein that creates the structure of hair. Another benefit of folic acid is that it promotes cell growth, making it an important ingredient in hair growth products.

One research study indicated that low blood folate levels can cause premature grey hair, however, research is too limited on this topic to make definite conclusions.

Possible Impacts on Fertility

The jury is out whether folic acid can impact male fertility.

A review of 7 trial studies with male participants who struggled with fertility found that taking daily folate and zinc supplements increased sperm count and quality. However other studies have found no effect on male fertility, so more research is needed.

Safety and Dosage

In general, most men take in enough folate through diet alone to have adequate levels but supplementing can also help. Increasing food intake with this vitamin is a safe route to go, but with any supplement, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor especially if you are taking prescription medication.