Most couples who are trying to conceive are already aware that folic acid is an important nutrient for women because it may prevent some birth defects. There might also be benefits of folic acid for men. Studies have shown that men who get the recommended amount of folic acid every day tend to have higher sperm counts and a smaller number of abnormal chromosomes than men who don't get enough of it. These potential fertility benefits of folic acid for men have led experts to believe that it may be just as important for men to make sure they are getting enough folic acid as it is for women, particularly if a man and his partner are trying for a baby.
One of the best ways the benefits of folic acid for men can be attained is from eating foods that contain it. Some foods that have lots of folic acid are whole grains, dark green vegetables, and oranges. Most people do not eat enough of these foods every day, and because of this it may be necessary for a person to take a supplement. Folic acid is available in supplement form, but it is also possible to find it in most multivitamins available over the counter. Almost all prenatal vitamins contain lots of folic acid.
Men who want to take a supplement in an effort to increase their folic acid intake should be aware of how much they need on a daily basis. The recommended amount of folic acid for both men and women is about 400 micrograms per day. It is important for everyone who takes folic acid supplements to be aware of how much they are getting from the food they consume because too much folic acid could be a bad thing. When a person takes a multivitamin containing a certain amount of folic acid and also eats several foods that contain it, he could be getting way more than what is actually needed.
Even though there are benefits of folic acid for men relating to fertility and a smaller chance of birth defects in fetuses, there are also risks of cancer when too much folic acid is consumed. Someone who is taking folic acid supplements should pay special attention to what foods he eats that are fortified with vitamins. Many cereals, granola bars, and other breakfast foods already contain lots of folic acid, and consuming these while also taking a multivitamin could increase a person's risk of certain cancers by as much as 20 percent. To be on the safe side, it may be best for a person taking a folic acid supplement or daily multivitamin to avoid fortified foods and try to get in the nutrients he needs by either taking supplements individually or getting them from other healthy, non-fortified foods.