What is Folate?

Folate or Folic Acid (Vitamin B9, Pteroyl l-Glutamic Acid) is a key component to both cell growth and reproduction. This water soluble vitamin passes quickly through the body and should be taken every day. It helps form the building blocks of DNA, the body’s genetic information, and building blocks of RNA, needed to synthesize protein in all cells.  Folic Acid is vital to rapidly growing tissues, such as those found in a fetus, and rapidly regenerating cells, like red blood cells and immune cells.  A lack of Folic Acid can result in a form of anemia and has been associated with a high incidence of pre-cancerous polyps in the colon.

How does it work?

Folic Acid is involved in DNA production. This is an important step in the formation of sperm cells.  The concentration of normal sperm cells also increased in infertile men while receiving Folic Acid.

Where does it come from?

Folic Acid comes from beans, leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, beets, wheat germ and meat.

Safety / Side Effects

Folic Acid is not generally associated with side effects.  However, Folic Acid supplementation can interfere with the laboratory diagnosis of Vitamin B12 deficiency.

Studies Involving Sperm

A scientist conducted a 26-week study that included 100 fertile and 103 infertile men.  Both groups were assigned to receive one of four treatments: 1) Zinc alone (15mg per day), 2) Folic Acid alone (5mg per day), 3) Zinc plus Folic Acid, and 4) Placebo.  Sperm counts, motility and the shape of sperm cells, as well as blood levels of Zinc and Folic Acid were measured in both groups at the beginning and conclusion of the study.  The concentration of normal sperm cells increased by 74-percent in infertile men who took the combination of Zinc and Folic Acid supplements, compared with initial measurements. (Bentivoglio, et all, 1993)

Interactions

Certain medicines may interact with folic acid.  Consult with your physician or pharmacist to determine if any of your medications might interact with this supplement.

References

Bentivoglio G, Melica F, Cristoforoni P. Instituto di Clinicaq Osterica e Ginecologica, University di Genova, Italy. Folimic acid in the treatment of human male infertility. Fertil Steril. 1993 Oct;60(4):698-701.