All men need folate for good health. Folate is needed for new and developing cells no matter your age. You are always making new cells for your body like skin, blood, hair, GI tract and other cells.

Health Benefits of Folate

Folate also has been associated with reducing the risk for some chronic diseases. Studies show that higher levels of homocysteine (pronounced hoe-moe-SIS-teen), an amino acid found in the blood, may increase the risk for cardiovascular disease. Folate can help to reduce the amount of homocysteine in blood, which may help reduce the risk for heart disease.

How Much Folate Men Need

The Institute of Medicine (now known as the National Academy of Medicine) established the following Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for folate: 400 micrograms dietary folate equivalents (DFE) per day for teenage boys (14-18 years) and all men 19 and older (Institute of Medicine, 1998). Fast-paced lifestyles, fast food and dieting to lose weight are all things that can make it harder to get the folate you need every day.

Folic Acid and Reproductive Health

Folate may be important for men's reproductive health and has been associated with higher sperm counts and density. This effect may be enhanced with combined zinc supplementation (Azizollahi et al. 2013, Boxmeer et al. 2009, Raigani et al. 2014, Wallock et al. 2001, Wong et al. 2002).

For women, folic acid may help to reduce the risk of having a baby with certain birth defects of the brain and spinal cord called neural tube defects (NTDs). Folic acid also may help to reduce the risk of other birth defects including defects of the heart, face (cleft lip, cleft palate), urinary tract, and limbs.

Support all the women in your life - your wife or partner, daughters, granddaughters, mothers, sisters, aunts, nieces and others who may be at a stage of life when it is possible for them to become pregnant. Remind them to take a multivitamin with folic acid or a folic acid supplement every day. This is especially important because almost half of all pregnancies are unplanned.


Azizollahi G, Azizollahi S, Babaei H, Klaninejad M, Baneshi MR, Nemetollahi-mahani SN. Effect of supplement therapy on sperm parameters, protamine content and acrosomal integrity of varicocelectomized subjects. J Assist Reprod Genet. 2013; 30(4): 593-599.

Boxmeer JC, Smit M, Utomo E, et al. Low folate in seminal plasma is associated with increased sperm DNA damage. Fertil Steril.  2009; 92(2): 548-556.

Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. Washington DC: National Academy Press; 1998.

Raigani M, Yaghmaei B, Amirjannti N, et al. The micronutrient supplements, zinc sulfate and folic acid, did not ameliorate sperm functional parameters in oligoasthenoteratozoospermic men. Andrologia. 2014; 46(9): 956-962.

Wallock LM , Tamura , Mayr CA , Johnson KE, Ames BN , and Jacob RA . Low seminal plasma folate concentrations are associated with low sperm density and count in male smokers and nonsmokers. Fertil Steri l . 2001; 75(2): 252-259.

Wong WY, Merkus HM, Thomas CM, Menkveld R, Zielhuis GA, Steegers-Theunissen RP. Effects of folic acid and zinc sulfate on male factor subfertility: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Fertil Steril. 2002; 77(3):491-498.

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Men need folate every day for good health. Folate may help reduce the risk for chronic diseases like heart disease, certain cancers and Alzheimer's disease.

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