Many people know of folic acid as an important vitamin for pregnant women. However, a man's body also uses folic acid for certain physiological functions. Folic acid provides numerous health benefits, making it important for people of all ages to get enough of this nutrient. Talk to your doctor about your folic acid intake to ensure you are obtaining enough.
Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, one of the B-vitamins. This micronutrient helps your body break down fats, proteins and carbohydrates into usable forms of energy. Folic acid also helps your cells create new DNA molecules, manufacture red blood cells and produce important brain chemicals. Having appropriate levels of folic acid is necessary for your brain and nervous system to function properly. Deficiencies in folic acid may cause a variety of problems including depressed mood or neural tube defects in unborn children.
Males ages 9 to 13 need 300 micrograms of folic acid every day. For males ages 14 and older, the recommended daily intake of folic acid is 400 micrograms. If your intake of folic acid is below 400 micrograms per day, consider taking a daily multivitamin or folic acid supplement to boost your levels of this important micronutrient. Because folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin, your body excretes excess amounts in your urine. Thus, your risk of folic acid overdose is low. Because taking too much folic acid can disguise the symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency, men should keep their daily intakes of folic acid below 1 milligrams.
Consuming enough folic acid provides important health benefits. Folic acid lowers blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine, high levels of which are linked to cardiovascular disease and stroke. The vitamin may also reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease, improve symptoms of depression and decrease the risk of certain cancers. Additionally, some evidence suggests that taking folic acid plus zinc sulfate daily can increase sperm count, notes MedlinePlus.
Many U.S. food products are fortified with folic acid to ensure that Americans get enough of this vitamin. Breakfast cereals, rice products, pasta and breads are typically fortified with folic acid. Dietary sources of folate include dark green leafy vegetables, dried beans, lentils, dried peas or oranges.