Folate is one of the water soluble vitamins, vitamin B9, which your body cannot synthesize on its own; you must eat foods rich in folate if you don’t want to develop symptoms associated with its deficiency. Whereas folate is a natural product, folic acid is the synthetic form of it and has several benefits for men. It is an essential micronutrient required for the synthesis of both RNA and DNA, for cell division, growth and development.
When there is a deficiency of folic acid in your body, the cellular processes which require folate would be hampered. This may lead to several autoimmune and metabolic disorders.
Health Risks Associated With Folate Deficiency
Because folic acid plays vital roles in most cellular metabolism, it is therefore natural that its deficiency would forestall several health processes.
Some of the health implications of folic acid deficiency include cardiovascular diseases, memory loss, infertility, anemia, dizziness, depression and general weakness of the body. Folate deficiency has also been associated with carcinogenesis of several cancer cell lines.
Folic Acid Benefits For Men
Folate is beneficial for men as well as for women. But because the folic acid benefits for men as well as for women are broad, we shall discuss each benefit in details.
Folate reduces the risk of stroke
Cardiovascular disease is one of the risk factors for developing stroke, and sadly, it has grown in prevalence and continued to increase.
Cardiovascular diseases may be associated with coronary heart attacks and death.
Interestingly, folate seems to offer some ray of hope as some studies have shown that it reduces the risk of stroke in cardiovascular diseases patients.
These studies may also help non-cardiovascular disease patients in improving heart health and thus reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Folate Enhances Man’s Fertility
The benefits of folate in men could be seen through the effect of its deficiency.
One of the major contributions of infertility among men include impaired spermatogenesis.
Folate deficiency can evidently reduce the gene expression levels of ESR1, CAV1 and ELAVL1, which are critical to spermatogenesis.
Another factor of infertility is low sperms counts or volume. Because folate regulates the expression of the gene responsible for production of sperms, it deficiency would hence affect the quality and volume of the sperm cells, and hence, reproduction.
Luckily, folate can be sourced from natural means like fruits and vegetables, and synthetic means like folic acid from pharmaceutical stores.
Folic Acid Enhances Memory
Folic acid plays a role in the methylation of homocysteine providing the methyl group for the conversion of methionine to s-adenosyl methionine. An increase in homocysteine (Hcy) levels is a major consequence of folate deficiency that may have adverse effects on multiple organ systems during aging.
Low folate intake increases plasma homocysteine, which damages the vascular endothelium and increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Homocysteine is also neurotoxic and hyperhomocysteinemia has been associated prospectively with higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Studies show that folate supplementation improves short- and long-term memory and motor coordination in adult male rats in a dose-dependent manner.
Read also (Benefits of Zinc in Sexual Functions)
Folate Plays Major Roles In Central Nervous System
The importance of folate can also be seen in the central nervous system. It has fundamental roles in the functions of the central nervous system, and is an important factor for normal development and function of the CNS in all ages.
A study showed that the effect of folic acid supplementation is not restricted to the embryonic period but can also enhance growth, repair, and recovery in the injured CNS of adult rats. This study also supports claim of folic acid benefits in men.
Plays A Major Role In Bone Formation and Osteoporosis
Homocysteine has been pointed out as an independent risk factor for several health diseases such as liver, kidney and heart diseases. But it doesn’t stop at those diseases, as homocysteine has also been associated with osteoporosis.
A higher level of homocysteine concentration may lead to bone diseases, of which osteoporosis is one among them.
According studies, it is clearly evident that homocysteine directly activates osteoclast formation and activity, in vitro, via increased oxidative mechanism and mitochondrial MMP activation causing bone matrix degradation and alterations in the biomechanical properties of bone. Furthermore, it is evidenced that homocysteine decreases bone blood flow, as a consequence of decreased bioavailability of NO, affecting bone structure.
But with high level of folate in the plasma, homocysteine is reduced, thereby suppressing its adverse effects on the bone formation and bone resorption. Folate also suppresses homocysteinuria.
Folate And Vitamin E Enhance Fertility
Folic acid is not only beneficial to men; it is also beneficial to women’s fertility, as it prevents early pregnancy complications that might lead to miscarriages. Taking folic acid supplements can greatly increase your chances of becoming pregnant. Some studies suggest that a woman take folic acid supplements three months before scheduled time for conception.
Vitamin E plays a major role in the body as a strong antioxidant. It prevents free radicals from affecting the sperm DNA and spermatogenesis. Vitamin E improves sperm motility, thereby increasing rate of transport to and fertilization of the egg in fallopian tube. But that’s not all; vitamin E also improves sperm count, which is one of the risk factors affecting men’s fertility.
Folate Is Required For DNA Synthesis
The importance of Folate or folic acid is seen in the synthesis of RNA and DNA in gene transcription. Folate is used in the methylation of homocysteine to methionine, which is then used in the synthesis of s-adenosylmethionine (S-AdoMet), which is the universal methyl group donor for the methylation of RNA, cytosine bases in DNA, histones, and other small molecules.
Folate Deficiency May Result In Several Cancer Cell Growth
Folate deficiency can result in alterations in the nucleotide pool for DNA synthesis, leading to misincorporation of uracil into DNA, decondensed chromosomes, double stranded breaks, and translocations. Additionally, folate deficiency may reduce or alter DNA methylation, interfering with gene regulation and leading to carcinogenesis.
Do Not Take Folate Supplement If You have enlarged Prostate
Although folate plays great roles in cellular functions, it has a conflicting role in prostate cancer proliferation and invasion. Therefore, if you are taking treatment for prostate cancer, it is in your best interest to avoid folic acid supplementation.
Natural Sources of Folate
Although folic acid is synthetic and can be purchased off the pharmaceutical stores around you, there are several natural sources of folate for the metabolic and cellular functions of your body. Some of these natural sources shall be discussed briefly in this article.
Avocado Fruits and seeds
Avocado fruits are great sources of folate and vitamin E, making it a good source of folate and vitamin E. This also showed that regular consumption of avocado fruits and avocado seed tea will protect your body from the folate deficiency-associated diseases.
Also, consuming avocado fruits may improve your fertility level, since it is rich in both folate and vitamin E.
Black Sunflower Seeds
Another good source of folate and vitamin E is black sunflower seed. It is both nutritional, being packed with several vitamins and amino acids, including essential fatty acids. Black sunflower seeds improve your cholesterol levels by reducing total cholesterol, tr glycerides, and low density lipoproteins while increasing the plasma level of high density lipoproteins. It is also very good for improving heart health.
Other Sources of Folate may include
- Groundnut and nuts
Considering the health benefits of folic acid to men and women, it is proper that you start taking care of the foods you eat on daily basis, if they contain proper amount of folate or not. It may be the best option to buy folic acid from the pharmaceutical stores, at your doctor’s approval, and take them as food supplements.
The importance of folate and folic acid benefits to men cannot be overemphasized; neither can they be covered in one article. It is more hope, however, that you got values reading through.
However, for anyone with enlarged prostate gland, it would be a better idea to avoid folic acid supplementation, as doing so may increase the chances of developing prostate cancer proliferation and invasion.
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