Basic RGBIt’s a well-known fact food rich in folate or folate supplements are an excellent idea for women that are trying to get pregnant. However, studies have shown that folate is a great idea for male fertility as well. Here’s what you need to know about folate for men’s fertility health.

#1: Folate intake linked to the reduction of abnormal sperm.

In a study published in Human Reproduction, researchers in California determined that men who consumed more folate showed a 20 to 30 percent reduction in the presence of abnormal sperm in their samples. The study looked at the samples of 89 men.

#2: A study of mice indicated that folate deficiencies resulted in more birth defects.

The same research team in California conducted a study on mice to determine what effects low folate levels could have on the offspring. They learned that the offspring of the father mice with low levels of folate had a 30 percent increased risk for birth defects, such as craniofacial birth defects and spinal deformities. These results were published in Nature Communications.

#3: A man needs between 400 to 600 mcg (microgram or 1/1000th of a milligram) of folate per day.

Experts agree that men and women who are trying to conceive should consume between 400 to 600 mcg of folate per day. It is also important to lose excess weight. Studies suggest men who are overweight do not process folate the same way as their healthier-weight counterparts do.

#4: Folate is found in many whole food sources.

There are several sources of folate that come from a wide range of foods. These include dark green leafy vegetables, fruits and their juices, nuts, beans, peas, many dairy products, poultry and meat, eggs, seafood and grains. Starting in 1989, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration also required food manufacturers to include folate in all enriched bread, flours, cereals and grain products. It is safe to say that eating a diet rich in nutrient-dense, whole foods is likely to get you the folate you need to keep your sperm at its fertility best.

It’s clear that men who are trying to conceive need to mind their folate intake as much as their partners do. The impact on their sperm health, as well as the health of their children, shows a definite scientific link. Considering how widely the vitamin is available, however, it should not be too difficult for them to get what they need when they need it to make their dreams of a family a reality.

Sources:

Whiteman, Honor. “Low folate in male diet linked to risk of offspring birth defects.” Medical News Today. 10 Dec 2013: 1. Web. 11 May 2015. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/269898.php

Moynihan, Tim, and Jane Kirby. “Taking folic acid can enhance fertility in men, researchers say.” Independent. 20 Mar 2008: 1. Web. 11 May 2015. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/taking-folic-acid-can-enhance-fertility-in-men-researchers-say-798387.html