As a general rule, folic acid supplements are not associated with men, but with women of childbearing age, especially if they feel like having children. But we must not forget the importance of vitamins for the organism of all human beings.
Vitamin B9 or folic acid is water-soluble, that is, it is diluted in liquid media and is necessary for the formation of new cells. Does it affect males, too? Let’s see.
Folic Acid Functions
Folic acid is an essential nutrient for cell life, allowing the development and growth of our tissues, always aided by other substances or vitamins that collaborate in the process. The main functions are as follows:
- Cell creation and growth: it is a fundamental element in the formation of red blood cells. It is usually prescribed, even, for the prevention of anemias.
- Break down and form new proteins, along with other vitamins like B12 or vitamin C.
- Assist in DNA formation: deoxyribonucleic acid is the functional unit responsible for transporting genetic information. Folic acid plays a key role in transcription and participates in the metabolism of cell nuclei. Part of the indications made of the nutrient for the prevention of congenital disabilities is based on this aspect.
- Sex cell development.
- Mood regulation: several studies affirm the relationship of folic acid with reducing psychiatric and neurological problems, such as depression or Alzheimer’s.
How is this vitamin obtained?
Fortunately, obtaining vitamin B9 can be done with a varied and not even specific diet. There are even food supplements that help maintain or increase serum levels of folic acid.
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The foods that contain this vitamin the most are the following:
- Green leafy vegetables and greens.
- Fruits, especially citrus.
Benefits of folic acid in men
The importance of consuming folic acid in the diet of a woman of childbearing age is clear since science has shown that adequate levels of the vitamin in the female body prevent defects in the fetus. Supplements indicated to pregnant women or those who wish to be pregnant improved the prognosis of neural tube malformations worldwide.
But we must not forget that man, even if he cannot have a baby, must be part of the process. It does this by supplying half of the DNA from a specific cell: the sperm.
If an error occurs in its cellular development, for example, due to vitamin B9 deficiency, the male DNA will be defective. This could lead to congenital malformations of the fetus, not due to a maternal deficiency, but due to genetics.
In addition to the benefits provided by the functions of folic acid already mentioned, both for women and men, there are others, such as protection against cardiovascular diseases, prevention of hair loss or gray hair appearance and maintenance of vital energy.
What happens if folic acid is missing in a man?
As an essential nutrient, the benefits of folic acid in men appear when the levels are at their proper values. For this vitamin, it is stipulated that we must have between 2.7 and 17 nmol / l.
If there is a deficiency or deficiency, either due to poor absorption or poor intake of foods that contain it, the problems that will appear in man will be the following:
- Anemia: due to decreased formation and growth of red blood cells. Anemic men have muscle weakness and lack of energy, as well as pale skin. It also changes mood due to the lack of proper oxygenation, so it is not unusual for increased irritability to be one of the signs.
- Diarrhea: in this case, it is not clear if the symptom is due to the nutrient itself that is missing or the association between a malabsorption syndrome and the low incorporation of folic acid.
- Ulcers and sores: both in the mouth and in the digestive system of men, when the intestinal cells are damaged and the protein protection that folic acid gives against stomach acids decreases, injuries appear.
- Weakening or loss of hair: is made up of proteins. The lack of folic acid causes damage to the hair follicle.
Do folic acid appendices in men involve risk?
Whenever we acquire nutrients naturally in the diet, it is a protection against many diseases. However, uncontrolled supplementation can negatively affect health.
Recent studies have found that taking folic acid from food greatly reduces the risk of prostate cancer. But, on the contrary, additional supplements increase the probability of this male oncological pathology.
What to remember about this vitamin in men?
Like any other necessary substance, folic acid is beneficial in many ways to maintain normal development, both in women and men. Vitamin B9 regulates red blood cell metabolism, DNA replication, and mood-linked neuronal transmission.
When choosing how to obtain this nutrient, you should consult with health professionals. It will always be better if the balanced diet provides it in the necessary amounts. The supplement should be reserved, among men, for specific cases of proven deficiencies.