If you are considering getting pregnant, then you have probably heard that you will need to start taking a supplement that contains folic acid before you begin trying to conceive. But according to the CDC, every woman of reproductive age needs to get folic acid every day, whether she is planning to get pregnant or not, to help make new cells. It is rare that you hear about men needing folic acid, but did you know that some studies suggest that taking folic acid could also boost sperm count? NCCRM fertility clinic Cary NC is here to explain what folic acid is and why it is important to both women and men when it comes to fertility.
What Is Folic Acid
Folate is one of the B-vitamins that is essential to your overall health throughout your life. Its synthetic form is known as folic acid, a vitamin that helps with cell metabolism and the formation of new cells in your body. There are also a lot of food options that NCCRM fertility clinic Cary NC suggests that contain high amounts of folate such as:
- Beef liver
- Black-eyed peas
- as well as other grain-based foods
Folic Acid And Female Fertility
According to the CDC, the following guidelines for daily folic acid intake are recommended for women:
- Women of child-bearing age: 400mcg
- Pregnant women: 600mcg
- Breastfeeding women: 500mcg
When it comes to healthy pregnancies, folic acid is crucial during the first few weeks of a fetus’ development, often before the woman knows she’s pregnant. During early development, folic acid helps form the neural tube in the fetus, which is the precursor to the brain and spinal cord. A folic acid deficiency during this time can lead to major, lifelong birth defects in the baby’s brain or spine. For women who are struggling to conceive, NCCRM fertility specialists Cary NC suggest that folic acid can help prevent early pregnancy defects that can lead to miscarriage. Folic acid helps with cell metabolism throughout the body, including within your ovaries. It also plays a large role in stress and inflammation in your body, as increased stress causes the body to need more folate in general. Stressors, ranging from advanced maternal age to lifestyle habits like smoking, can impact a woman’s ability to conceive. Appropriate amounts of folic acid in your diet can help counteract effects of this stress.
Folic Acid And Male Fertility
We know that women definitely need appropriate amounts of folic acid throughout their adulthood and their fertility journeys, but what about men? One 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 by up to 74%. Also interesting in this study, before supplementation was started, seminal folate and zinc levels were not significantly different in the fertile and sub-fertile men. This may indicate that even though low folate wasn’t the cause for lower sperm counts, supplementation still helped. While research is still ongoing, there does seem to be a correlation between folic acid and semen health.
NCCRM Fertility Clinic Cary NC
In conclusion, it is safe to say that folic acid is an important vitamin for both men and women. Getting enough folic acid can help decrease the risk of birth defects, and it may improve sperm count in men. If you or a loved one are struggling with fertility, NCCRM fertility clinic cary NC is more than happy to work with you to provide advanced reproductive techniques to couples who dream of having a child of their own. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!