What is the Connection Between Zinc and Folic Acid?

Synthia L. Rose

Scientists believe that zinc and folic acid have an impact on each other’s effectiveness. Research shows that enzymes that process folic acid for use in the body work best in the presence of zinc. Folic acid’s impact on zinc, however, may not be so positive. Some studies in the 1980s suggested that folic acid, in large quantities, may block the body’s absorption of zinc, which is needed for physiological health. Interference proved greatest when this form of the vitamin folate was taken at high levels consistently over several months or years.

Legumes contain folic acid.
Legumes contain folic acid.

Competing research in the 1990s, however, showed that folic acid supplementation in short periods of time ranging from two weeks to one month had no effect on zinc reserves in the body and may even be benign in the long-term. Studies since that time have delivered mixed results, with most suggesting no major impact at recommended levels of 2 mg to 4 mg of folic acid a day and 10 mg to 30 mg of zinc daily. Some doctors are still wary. Most nutritionists agree that consumption of zinc and folic acid at recommended levels will likely be safe. The levels of these nutrients obtained from diet and natural foods present the lowest risk of interference, reports claim.

Leafy green vegetables are a good source of folic acid.
Leafy green vegetables are a good source of folic acid.

Many people continue to get extra zinc and folic acid in artificial form from supplements in addition to dietary sources in hopes of obtaining a myriad of health benefits. Research shows that both of these nutrients improve sexual reproduction and provide protective nutrients that can allegedly help people avoid illness. Zinc strengthens immunity and encourages healthy body development.

Folic acid may help increase sperm count in men.
Folic acid may help increase sperm count in men.

Folic acid, also known as pteroylmonoglutamic acid, can potentially prevent heart disease and neurological disorders. Medical studies reveal that deficient levels of folic acid can hinder a cell’s ability to divide and can result in a type of anemia known as megaloblastic anemia. This condition causes abnormally large red blood cells, often resulting in energy loss, paleness and headaches. Insufficient amounts of folic acid in pregnant women can cause babies to be born with spinal bfida or with missing parts of the skull and brain. Many foods have folic acid added to them to prevent these ailments.

Zinc in found in many meats like pork.
Zinc in found in many meats like pork.

Natural food sources containing folic acid include liver, spinach, and asparagus. Zinc can be obtained naturally by eating foods such as oysters, pork shoulder, beef shank, and crab. Many fortified cereals have the recommended quantities of both zinc and folic acid.

Lamb provides several essential nutrients, including folic acid, zinc, and selenium.
Lamb provides several essential nutrients, including folic acid, zinc, and selenium.

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Discussion Comments


Folic acid is artificial and not the same as folate. Folate is natural and vital. Folic acid may cause significant problems in certain individuals. I would never supplement with an artificial substance when a natural source is available. Ever.


@feruze-- I'm not a doctor and I'm sure that no one will deny that a healthy, nutritious diet increases fertility. But I'm not sure that zinc and folic acid is going to help with everyone who has fertility issues.

I know from all the research I did when I was bodybuilding that zinc is important for testosterone and in turn, testosterone is necessary for healthy sperm. This article has also emphasized the role of zinc for the absorption of folic acid. Folic acid is important for healthy nerves.

Someone who doesn't eat healthy or has a deficiency in zinc and folic acid will definitely improve his or her fertility with more of these vitamins. But if the infertility is caused by something else, I don't think it will do much. In fact, too much zinc and folic acid supplements may do more harm than good.


Has anyone tried zinc and folic acid for fertility? Did it work? I read that these two help increase healthy sperm in men.


Zinc and folic acid are also very important for fetus health and development. I took prenatal supplements both before and during my pregnancy. It had folic acid and zinc in it.

My baby was born in perfect health and I also had a very healthy pregnancy. I'm sure zinc and folic acid had something to do with it.

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