Folic acid - benefits and harms for men: properties of the vitamin for the body

For women who are planning a pregnancy, doctors recommend to drink before conception with a short course of folic acid and in the early stages, also take care of maintaining its high level in the body. This substance is also beneficial for men, although this is spoken of less often, so not everyone is aware of what other situations and conditions require control of its amount.

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What is folic acid

The history of folic acid began in 1931, when researcher Lucy Wills established a link between the elimination of anemia in pregnant women and the intake of yeast extract. Biovitamin was identified from yeast in the late 1930s, but it was first obtained in 1941 from spinach leaves. Artificially synthesized only in 1945, by a research group led by the American-Indian biochemist Yellapragada Subbarao.

Vitamin B9 (in some sources - vitamin M) - this is the name most people know folic acid, in medicine referred to as pteroylglutamic acid. It is a water-soluble vitamin, which means the ability to be excreted from the body through the kidneys along with urine and the constant renewal of urine levels. In some sources, folic acid is called folacin or folate: this word can hide not only the vitamin itself, but also its derivatives (di-, tri-, polyglutamates). Key characteristics:

  • The main task is to regulate the growth and development of immunity, circulatory and cardiovascular systems.
  • It is most beneficial for a growing organism, since it takes part in the creation of new cells.
  • In humans, this organic compound does not form independently in tissues - it is only synthesized by the intestinal microflora, but most of it is ingested with food.
  • The daily requirement for an adult, depending on gender, weight and age, ranges from 0.2 to 0.4 mg.
  • The bioavailability of a synthetic organic compound is significantly higher than that of biovitamin.

What does the body need for

The initially determined relationship between long-term intake of yeast extract and the cure of anemia in women helped to identify the main function of folacin: participation in the process of hematopoiesis to stimulate the formation of blood bodies (erythrocytes). The biological role is to create and maintain a healthy state of new cells - this is especially true:

  • DNA replication (synthesis of a daughter DNA molecule based on the parental one, is carried out for accurate transmission of genetic information from generation to generation);
  • bone marrow function;
  • the functioning of the nervous system.

Folic acid is of high value for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers (their permissible daily dose is much higher than that of other groups) and those planning to become parents, because it affects condition of the fetus and newborn. Additionally, it neutralizes the harm caused to the body by stress factors, is indirectly related to the hormonal background.

Benefits of folic acid for men

When discussing the effects of vitamin B9 on the body, the question of its effects on pregnancy and fetal development is mainly discussed, but it is equally beneficial for men. A teenage boy with a sufficient amount of folic acid receives a base, thanks to which during puberty there will be fewer problems due to the regulation of hormonal levels. An adult male has a reduced chance of encountering the formation of defective sperm. The benefits of vitamin B9 for men are as follows:

  • a positive effect on a man's reproductive health (control of the quality of sperm, an overall increase in the chances of conception, a decrease in the risk of infertility);
  • control of hemoglobin levels (by stimulating red blood cell production).
  • improved potency (due to a positive effect on the processes of hematopoiesis);
  • a positive effect on the digestion process (lowering stomach acidity, improving intestinal motility);
  • participation in the formation of secondary sexual characteristics (low timbre of voice, active growth of hair on the face and body).

Restoration and maintenance of the reproductive and reproductive system

The effect of folic acid on the health of men and women is especially easy to notice in the functioning of the reproductive and reproductive systems. If there is no deficiency of this element, a man not only has a reduced risk of problems with potency - he also increases fertility (the ability of sperm to take part in the fertilization of an egg), because:

  • spermatogenesis (formation of sexual cells - their number in the ejaculate increases);
  • the quality of germ cells increases (the number of pathological elements with genetic mutations decreases, the set of chromosomes in spermatozoa is controlled).

When planning pregnancy, both parents are advised not only to include in food more foods rich in folic acid, but also to drink drugs containing it in a short course. Such a precautionary measure will help increase the chances of a quick conception, reduce the risk of having a child with pathologies: especially Down syndrome and other genetic disorders.

Synthesis of erythrocytes to optimize hemoglobin levels

According to official medical data, folacin is highly important for the bone marrow, where cell division occurs (therefore, a deficiency of this organic compound increases the likelihood of developing malignant neoplasms), the formation of red blood cells bodies - erythrocytes. Against the background of its lack, megaloblasts can begin to form in humans: abnormally large cells of erythropoiesis (precursors of erythrocytes). The correct functioning of the bone marrow is:

  • regular sufficient synthesis of erythrocytes;
  • maintaining optimal hemoglobin levels;
  • prevention of megaloblastic anemia (impaired hematopoiesis with vitamin B12 deficiency);
  • prevention of hypoxia (oxygen starvation);
  • increase in general endurance, performance.

Normalization of the central nervous system

Preventing outbreaks of irritation, increasing resistance to stress factors, improving performance are the most obvious benefits of folacin for men. This is partly due to the effect on hormonal levels, stimulation of the formation of norepinephrine, and control of methionine metabolism. Doctors say that drugs high in folacin are effective even in treating depressed patients.

Stimulating the production of serotonin

The benefits of vitamin B9 in relation to the effect on the psychological health of men should be given credit, as some doctors call it the “good mood vitamin”. This is due to the stimulation of the production of serotonin: the hormone of happiness, which is one of the key neurotransmitters (transmits impulses from nerve cells). He is also responsible for the sensitivity of the pain system of the body, takes part in the regulation of vascular tone, blood coagulation (through an increase in platelet activity), intestinal motility.

Folates for regulating metabolic processes in the body

Vitamin B9 has many benefits for metabolism and for the breakdown of nutrients from food: in the absence of a deficiency of this element, the process of converting proteins, fats and carbohydrates into energy occurs without interference. Against the background of B-avitaminosis, a man is faced with a decrease in body weight, constant fatigue, a violation of the assimilation of BJU, which leads to problems in the work of most internal systems.

Improving brain activity

The older a man gets, the higher the benefits of vitamin B9 for brain function, as it helps to preserve short-term and long-term memory, maintain high thinking speed, and prevent schizophrenia. Studies have shown folate's ability to prevent the destruction of brain cells that occurs in Alzheimer's disease, which slows down the rate of its progression.

Is folic acid dangerous

Any vitamins can harm the body if their balance is disturbed, and what is more dangerous - a deficiency or a surplus - is difficult to determine. With regard to folates and their effect on the male body, experts say that their excess rarely causes serious harm, since they are actively excreted by the kidneys (the exception is the presence of disorders of the urinary system). A significant decrease in the level of vitamin B9 is fraught with disorders of many internal systems:

  • digestive;
  • circulatory;
  • cardiovascular;
  • nervous;
  • reproductive.

What threatens men with vitamin B9 deficiency

It is difficult to overestimate the health benefits of this microelement, as well as the danger of its deficiency: the immune system is the first to suffer. In the latter case, bright signs of anemia appear - increased fatigue, frequent dizziness, pallor of the skin and mucous membranes, shortness of breath and tachycardia during physical exertion. If the problem persists for several months, thrombocytopenia develops, and the level of leukocytes changes. Against this background, there is a decrease in the body's defenses. The harm of folate deficiency is expressed in several more aspects:

  • the risk of developing heart and vascular diseases increases due to an increase in the level of homocysteine ​​(a compound that harms the vascular walls) - especially ischemia, heart attack, thrombosis of small arteries, ischemic stroke of the brain;
  • increases the likelihood of hypoxia (oxygen starvation);
  • body weight decreases, anorexia develops;
  • the functioning of the digestive tract worsens (appetite suffers, frequent attacks of nausea, diarrhea appear);
  • the nervous system and mental state suffer: a man becomes irritable, experiences mood swings, does not tolerate stress, often encounters depressive states, insomnia, mania, paranoia;
  • problems with memory, mental and physical development are observed;
  • skin diseases appear: psoriasis, eczema;
  • early aging begins: wrinkles and gray hair are formed.

Danger of overabundance

Long-term therapy with folacin-containing drugs, especially at high dosages, damages vitamin B12 levels (it drops seriously), which increases the risk of megaloblastic anemia... In addition, the aggravation of neurological disorders, an increase in epileptic seizures due to an exciting effect on the central nervous system, and even an increase in the risk of benign tumors are not excluded.

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How to replenish stocks

The problem of folate deficiency can only be talked about after a visit to the doctor and an appropriate diagnosis, since the signs of this condition can simultaneously correspond to other problems. In order to minimize harm to the body, it is worth starting to stimulate their intake not earlier than receiving an accurate diagnosis. There are several schemes of action:

  • If the shortage is insignificant, or its prevention is required, correction of the diet will be beneficial. Vegetable salads are introduced into the daily meal, and foods rich in biovitamin B9 should be present at each meal.
  • If there are obvious signs of violations of the hematopoiesis process or the work of the reproductive system, medications containing B9 are prescribed (both multivitamin complexes and mono-drugs).
  • If preparation for pregnancy is required (to increase the chances of conceiving and reproducing healthy offspring), a man will benefit no less than a woman from a short course of high doses (700-1100 mcg) of synthetic vitamin B9.


The main source of this substance is the liver (especially beef and beef itself are secreted here), which is additionally rich in iron, which is important for anemia, therefore it is recommended several times for a week to include in the diet of a man. Any poultry offal can act as a substitute. Brewer's yeast will also be beneficial, but you should be careful with it (the main harm from them is weight gain). Folate-rich foods include:

  • dark green vegetables - avocado, cucumber, spinach, arugula, broccoli, green beans, any greens (parsley, dill, green onions, oregano, marjoram);
  • nuts - are sources of almost all biovitamins of group B;
  • oats, buckwheat, millet - are close to nuts in terms of their benefits;
  • a group of legumes - peas, lentils, beans, chickpeas;
  • mushrooms;
  • hard cheese (long aging), milk (not pasteurized), cottage cheese;
  • chicken egg yolk;
  • protein sources (fish, poultry, meat);
  • fish roe.

In order to compensate for the deficiency of folate, it is useful to include in the diet some fruits with berries - oranges (rich in ascorbic acid, help the absorption of biovitamin B9), bananas, melons, dates, but they should act as a complement to the main products. Their task is not only to supply folate, but also to improve their absorption through other vitamins and minerals. Tomatoes, all types of cabbage, carrots, pumpkin will also be beneficial, but it is important that plant foods, if possible, do not undergo heat treatment that harms the level of biovitamins.


Medicinal formulations based on synthetic vitamin B9 will not harm only if the dosages recommended by the doctor and a couple of other rules are followed. Firstly, when taking them, you cannot take alcohol, analgesics, antibiotics, corticosteroid hormones, sunbathe for a long time in the sun and in a solarium, smoking is prohibited. Secondly, for better absorption of folic acid, ascorbic acid and vitamin B12 should be taken with them. The indications for the appointment of such drugs are:

  • diseases of the organs of the cardiovascular system;
  • disorders of the process of hematopoiesis;
  • mental disorders;
  • pregnancy planning (admission to both parents);
  • skin diseases (dermatitis, eczema);
  • dysfunction of the gastrointestinal tract (ulcerative colitis, constipation, enteritis);
  • malnutrition (with a general deficiency of minerals and trace elements).

The optimal dosages in each situation are selected individually by the doctor and depend on the concentration of the active substance of a particular drug: this is the only way a man will receive maximum benefit and minimum harm from treatment. Mostly for prevention, adults are recommended to receive 200 μg of vitamin B9 daily, and for therapeutic purposes - 0.4-5 mg (depending on the severity of vitamin deficiency) for a month. Drink preferably during the day, with food, without chewing the pill. The most famous drugs prescribed for men are:



General characteristic

Mechanism of action


Folic acid

vitamin B9 tablets (1 mg)

folate deficiency treatment acid, anemia, leukopenia

33 p.


tablets on vitamins B9 (400 μg) and B12 (2 μg)

prevention of deficiency of B-group vitamins

367 p.

Doppelherz Active Folic acid

multivitamin complex (B6, B9, B12, C, E)

biologically active food supplement, recommended for prevention and elimination of B-avitaminosis

350 rub.


preparation on iron hydroxide (100 mg per 1 tablet)

antianemic, normalizing hemoglobin content

from 250 p.

Fenuls zinc

an iron preparation with a multivitamin complex (riboflavin, nicotinamide, thiamine, pyridoxine, pantothenic and ascorbic acids)

replenishment of hemoglobin levels in chronic blood loss, iron deficiency

130 rub.


iron syrup, supplemented with vitamins B9 (0.03 g per 100 ml) and B12 (0.001 g per 100 ml)

treatment of anemia, elimination of iron and folate deficiency

140 rub.

Damage to vitamin B9

drugs, multivitamin complexes), the harm of folic acid for men is minimal and manifests itself only with individual intolerance to this element. The use of foods rich in it does not pose a threat to health at all, since the bioavailability of folates is significantly reduced here, the principle of assimilation is different.

Side effects

Vitamin B9 itself does not harm the body, even when synthesized artificially, but the body can react to preparations containing this substance as an allergen. The main signs will be:

  • erythema;
  • hyperthermia;
  • bronchospasm;
  • itching and rash on the skin.

With a significant excess of the recommended dosages or with self-administration of drugs without preliminary diagnosis (when there is no serious deficiency, but a very strong agent is chosen), the side effects of taking folic acid in men are more severe:

  • gastrointestinal disorders (flatulence, vomiting);
  • increased excitability of the nervous system;
  • sleep problems;
  • muscle cramps (harm manifested by a history of epilepsy).

Contraindications for admission

In order to avoid harm to health, the drug is not recommended for use with general intolerance to multivitamin complexes on a synthetic basis and during long-term antibiotic treatment. For diseases of the central nervous system and a history of epilepsy, the possibility of taking folic acid should be consulted with a specialist. In addition to the number of contraindications, doctors include:

  • the presence of oncology;
  • bronchial asthma;
  • chronic diseases of the bronchopulmonary system;
  • treatment with analgesics, anticonvulsants;
  • the presence of allergic reactions to selenium, zinc;
  • renal failure.


Attention! The information presented in the article is for informational purposes only. The materials of the article do not call for self-treatment. Only a qualified doctor can diagnose and give recommendations for treatment, based on the individual characteristics of a particular patient.