Does Folic Acid and Zinc Increase Sperm Count?

A wide variety of options are available to increase sperm count. Some studies confirmed that some nutrient deficiencies can lead to male fertility problems. For this reason, sometime doctors recommend taking certain supplement to boost fertility in men. Folic acid and zinc are essential antioxidants. They can help protect your body from free radicals (the major factor that can be potential to cause cancer). But did you know that getting plenty of these antioxidants also can help boost the number of sperm in your semen?

Does folic acid help increase sperm count?

Actually, folic acid is a kind of vitamin B. It can be found naturally in certain foods. Your body cannot make it and therefore you need to get it through diet. In men – vitamin B, folic acid, and other antioxidants such as zinc, vitamin C, selenium, and lycopene are important to produce good quality of sperm [1].

Some crucial functions of folic acid

Folacin or folate (alternative names for folic acid) can help reduce the risk of birth defects of the spinal and brain cord. Therefore, it is often used for one of essential prenatal vitamins in pregnant women. The body also needs it to control hereditary and cell function as well as tissue growth, because it is important in the synthesis of DNA.

Furthermore, vitamin B-12 and folic acid are needed by the body to help produce blood cells. Even it may help reduce the risk of cervical cancer – according to some preliminary researches [2].

Folate and the quality of male sperm

Woman who is expecting a pregnancy should take plenty of folate. How about with men? Since this antioxidant is so crucial in the synthesis of DNA, generally men also should get it adequately in the diet.

A research found that men who took plenty of dietary folate are more likely to have normal sperms than those with folate deficiency [3].

How does folate affect the sperm count?

Unfortunately, though some studies showed that folate can help increase the sperm quality (including the sperm count), but there is still no clearly answer on how this antioxidant affects male sperm and other issues associated with male fertility.

How much folate you should consume a day?

While folate is one of essential antioxidants for the body, too much consumption of it may become counterproductive. There are now lots of fortified with folic acid. Taking multivitamins may put you at greater chance of getting it too much. Therefore, for couples who are trying to have a baby – it’s much better to consult first with a doctor before taking any supplement!

According to the ODS of National Institutes of Health, pregnant and breastfeeding women need higher amounts of folic acid than others. See the table below for in-depth information about the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) of folic acid for different ages and genders [4]!

Click to view the table!

recommended_dietary_allowance_for_folate_folic_acid

* DFE stands from ‘dietary folate equivalent’, and mcg is micrograms.

Where you can get folic acid?

In general, most people can get it through diet. But for individuals who are vulnerable to have folate deficiency (such as pregnant women, alcoholic individuals, or others who are taking certain medications), doctor can prescribe folate supplements.

It can be naturally found in certain foods, these include; skinless breast chicken, enriched grain products, fruits (especially such as grapefruits and citrus), seeds, nuts, whole wheat breads, sprouts, and some vegetables (especially such as leafy – dark green vegetables).

How about with zinc? Does it also help increase the sperm quality?

It’s undeniable that zinc is also important for your overall health. It is one of common minerals found in the cells of your body. This trace mineral also contain some antioxidant properties that can help provide shield for the body from free radicals. And some studies showed that it is also important in the sperm production and formation of DNA.

Some crucial functions of zinc

You need to continuously consume zinc through diet because your body cannot store it. This mineral is required by the body for lots of functions of cellular metabolism [5].

image_illustration77It is important to support immune function, DNA synthesis, for wound healing, cell division, and protein synthesis. Furthermore, it plays a key role in the catalytic activity of lots of enzymes (about 100 enzymes) in the body. Not only that, it is important to support development and growth of baby during pregnancy, then for the normal growth after birth (childhood and adolescence). And the body also needs it to support proper sense of smell and taste.

The link between zinc and sperm quality

This mineral is so important for male reproductive fertility. In fact, prostate fluid is rich in zinc. It is unclear why prostate fluid contains lots of zinc. But this can be a starting point for why many experts believe that it plays a key role in determining the quality of sperm [10]

Spermatogenesis is a medical term used to describe the production and development of sperm. A research in 2009 showed that zinc may affect sperm movement [6].

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