Folic acid is usually remembered when people talk about pregnancy or its planning. The role of folic acid for the female body is clearly defined - it is one of the most important components of nutrition, necessary for the normal development of the fetus during pregnancy. What about men? Do they need folic acid as well as women?
About folic acid and men
All the hype about the benefits of folic acid for men is based on a study of a group of scientists who identified a link between the future father’s lack of folic acid and an increased risk of developing congenital anomalies in the offspring ( reference ).
However, in the medical literature rarely found recommendations on the use of folic acid for men. Here is what is said in one of them: “Low levels of folic acid in serum are accompanied by a small number and low mobility of spermatozoa. But there are no randomized studies on this score ”.
Indeed, compared with other important nutritional components for successful spermatogenesis and conception ( zinc , selenium , vitamin C), folic acid has no evidence. Therefore, its reception by men for a successful conception is questionable, unless vitamin B 9 has been prescribed to you by a doctor.
On the other hand, supplementation with folic acid does not hurt, because, like any other vitamin, it is necessary for our body and performs certain functions.
Folic acid and its functions
Folic acid (vitamin B 9 , B C , folacin) is necessary for the body to produce new cells: immune cells (red and white blood cells), skin cells, hair cells, etc. . For these reasons, vitamin B C is important during periods of rapid development of the body. A specific symptom of folic acid deficiency is the development of anemia (megaloblastic, macrocytic), leukopenia. Due to the ability of the vitamin to cure anemia in chickens, folic acid is called vitamin B C (from the English word. Chicken - chicken).
Folic acid deficiency is accompanied by weakness, headache, pale skin, fainting, diarrhea, irritability, memory loss, and hostility.
Vitamin B deficiency symptoms can be alleviated by supplemental vitamin C intake, since it has an antioxidant effect on enzymes, of which folacin is restored in the body to the active form, tetrahydrofolic acid .
Folic acid, being a water-soluble vitamin, has some potential to accumulate in the body: the vitamin is deposited in the liver, kidneys, and intestinal mucosa . Folacin reserves are enough for 3-6 months after the intake of vitamin . However, folacin is not toxic even when taking high doses (in studies, patients with atherosclerosis took 80 mg of vitamin B9 per day) .
The indications for folic acid are, above all, macrocytic anemia, which often develops in pregnant women.
What can cause a folic acid deficiency?
In addition to inadequate food intake, vitamin B 9 deficiency may be due to :
- Alcohol Abuse. Alcohol interferes with the absorption of vitamin B C , as well as disrupts the liver by using vitamin during metabolism;
- Medication. Antineoplastic drugs (aminopterin, methotrexate) inhibit the conversion of folacin to its active form in the body. Sulfonamide drugs and antibiotics inhibit the formation of folacin by the intestinal microflora;
- Deficiency of some vitamins (vitamin C, B 6 , B 12 ). The lack of these vitamins leads to impaired formation of the active form of folic acid in the liver;
- Diseases. Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, violate the absorption of folacin; liver disease worsens the metabolism of vitamin B9.
Sources of Folic Acid
Folic acid in humans and animals is synthesized by intestinal microflora .
Vitamin B9 is present in products of plant and animal origin. Leaf vegetables (spinach, parsley, lettuce, wild garlic, leek, dill), cabbage, beans, mushrooms are the leaders in the folacin content of vegetable products. Of animal products, folacin is rich in liver, kidney, meat, dairy products (cheese, cottage cheese), eggs.
Folic acid content in food:
(estimated availability of 100 g)
Folacin is easily destroyed by temperature, especially when cultivating vegetables - up to 90% of folic acid can be lost during prolonged cooking. Vitamin B9 is better preserved when boiling animal products .
- T.P. Emelyanova "Vitamins and Mineral Substances: Complete Encyclopedia", 2000;
- Kalinchenko S.Yu., Tyuzikov I.A., Practical Andrology, 2009;
- V. G. Liflyansky "Vitamins and Minerals", 2010;
- T. S. Morozkina, A. G. Moyseyenok “Vitamins”, 2002;
- MSMSU them. A.I. Evdokimova, a group of authors, “Vitamins”, 2014.
- Edaplus.info - a source of illustrations to the article.