The benefits of taking a Folic Acid supplement during pregnancy have been well researched and presented because it can significantly decrease birth defects (like Spina Bifida) and helps to promote a healthy fetus. But did you now that folic acid (which is the synthetic form of Folate and also a form of Vitamin B) can also boost fertility for both yourself and your partner?
Ovulatory failure is when the female body fails to produce eggs regularly, produces them at erratic times of the cycle or does not produce enough eggs at all. This is a common problem for couples trying to get pregnant. In recent years studies have shown that Folic Acid can significantly help with the regulation of ovulation, particularly when consumed both naturally in foods and as an additional supplement. Folic acid assists in cell division, too, which can mean more ovum being produced by the female, which in turn means more chances of getting pregnant. It also helps to build strong, viable ova which are more likely to implant and develop once fertilised.
The benefits of Folic Acid do not only apply to women and have been shown to have a significantly positive effect on fertility in men. Firstly, an increased intake of folic acid has been shown (through recent studies) to reduce the number of sperm abnormalities. These defects can affect the way the sperm moves and its strength, all the way through to development and DNA of the baby. Secondly, an increased sperm count has been identified in men who have a higher level of folic acid in their diets. Not only are there more sperm, but the number of healthy sperm has shown to be increased, too. This helps in getting pregnant because there is more sperm available to impregnate the egg.
Women hoping to become pregnant are advised to take a 0.4mg folic acid supplement each day (as a minimum) and continue this through the first trimester of pregnancy for benefits to both mum and bubs. Men hoping to become dads are also advised to take at least a 0.4mg folic acid supplement each day, in addition to eating foods rich in folate, in order to help increase the chances of their partner getting pregnant.
It is best to take your folic acid supplement 30 minutes before having food to ensure your body digests and absorbs it properly. Taking it with a B12 supplement can also help the absorption rate. Alcohol has been shown to reduce your body’s ability to absorb folic acid, so aim to reduce your alcoholic intake while trying to get pregnant.
It is also important for both men and women to eat foods that are rich in folate, as well as taking a supplement. Such foods include beans, lentils, spinach, asparagus, lettuce, avocado and broccoli. Folic acid is destroyed by heat and air, so the amount of it present in food can decrease with the cooking process. For best results, eat raw folate-rich foods as much as possible.