Deciding to start a new family is a major milestone — the start of a new chapter, where a family blossoms and excitement around the idea of a tiny new being begins to grow. We know the path to this moment can be filled with ups and downs and, sometimes, unexpected twists, especially when fertility doesn't come easily.
Here at FertilitySmart, we embrace the honor of supporting you through this intimate journey to parenthood. We're here with guidance to help you start or expand your family, embracing this profound chapter alongside you.
In this article, we'll delve into the role of folic acid and its potential to enhance fertility. For all the brave individuals riding the tender waves of fertility challenges, we'll shed light on how folic acid might be the gentle nudge your body needs to welcome new life.
What is Folic Acid?
Folic acid1 is the synthetic form of folate, a B vitamin that plays a critical role in new cell production. You can find folate in foods, too, like pumpkin, lentils, oysters, leafy greens, and even fortified grain products such as cereal and pasta.
This vital supplement is recommended for pregnant women2 and those aspiring to conceive, serving as a foundational element for maternal and child health.
Additionally, fertility experts underscore the significance of folic acid as a supplement to help protect against fetal anomalies,3 recognizing that diet alone may not suffice in providing the necessary vitamin levels. Taking folic acid to help get pregnant is a bigger-picture approach, improving your health and helping prevent pregnancy complications.
Does Folic Acid Help Fertility?
Now that you understand what folic acid is, you might still wonder, “How does folic acid help fertility-challenged individuals conceive?” While folic acid itself doesn’t specifically help you get pregnant,4 this supplement has been shown to boost the chances of conception and healthy pregnancy in a number of ways — both in men and in women.
When you ovulate, your ovaries release an egg that travels down the fallopian tube so that it can eventually be fertilized. However, not every woman ovulates regularly. Irregular ovulation (called anovulation) is incredibly frustrating for women trying to get pregnant and is one of the common causes of infertility.5
Fertility patients regularly want to know, “Does folic acid help ovulation?” The answer is yes. Adequate levels of folic acid and ovulation6 go hand in hand. Maintaining a regular ovulation cycle is pivotal for enhancing fertility, as each cycle presents an opportunity for conception. Folic acid plays a significant role in this process by promoting ovulation consistency, allowing you to accurately determine the optimal window for attempting to conceive.
Boosts Egg Production
Your chances of conceiving rely partly on your ovarian reserve, which is a fancy term for the quantity and quality of eggs you have. Low folate levels have been associated with low ovarian reserves.7 So, not only does folic acid make you fertile by regulating your ovarian cycle, but it also boosts the chances that you release a healthy egg during that cycle.
If your doctor has determined that a low egg count or poor egg quality is the cause of your infertility, getting enough folic acid could get you one step closer to pregnancy.
Encourages Healthy Sperm Production
Men looking to start a family might consider folic acid a beneficial supplement in their journey toward parenthood. One study showed that men who took folic acid combined with zinc for 26 weeks saw a 74 percent increase in healthy sperm count.8 This finding suggests that folic acid, especially when paired with zinc, could be vital in enhancing sperm quality and quantity, potentially increasing the chances of successful conception.
How to Choose the Best Folic Acid for Fertility
Today, there are many supplements on the market that claim to boost fertility. To effectively navigate this landscape, it's crucial to understand how to discern the highest quality options and select a supplement that aligns with your specific fertility goals.
Look for a folic acid supplement with a pure and limited ingredients list. Avoid those with artificial colors, binders, or fillers since your body might not react well to these. If you have allergies, ensure your supplements don’t contain known allergens, such as gluten or soy.
Boost Fertility with Folic Acid
FertilitySmart’s specialized supplements enhance fertility for both men and women by targeting the foundational factors of infertility. If you're looking for male fertility supplements, Conceive for Men is formulated to improve sperm count, enhance quality and motility, and support overall male reproductive wellness. If you're exploring fertility supplements for women, Conceive for Women is imbued with a rich blend of ingredients such as folic acid, zinc, and B12. These are essential for fostering female fertility and nurturing a healthy pregnancy.
FertilitySmart's formulas come in easy-to-swallow capsules. Only two are needed daily; you can take them at once if preferred. Plus, these products are made without artificial flavors, binders, or preservatives, and they don't contain common allergens like gluten and lactose, ensuring a pure and natural approach to fertility enhancement.
Frequently Asked Questions
What dosage of folic acid is recommended for women trying to conceive?
Experts recommend that women who are trying to conceive take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily.9 However, many women wonder, “Does folic acid help fertility in all women, regardless of medical history?” Some women will require extra dosage. Speak to your doctor if you:
- Are diabetic
- Have a BMI higher than 30
- Have sickle cell anemia
- Previously had a pregnancy with neural tube defects
Is folic acid the same as folate?
Folic acid10 is the synthetic variant of folate. The two terms are often used interchangeably but are not exactly the same. Folate11 is an umbrella term for several types of vitamin B9, including dihydrofolate and tetrahydrofolate. Folic acid is simply one type of vitamin B9 used in supplements and fortified foods like cereal and pasta.
Does folic acid delay ovulation?
Folic acid does not interfere with a woman’s ovulation or menstrual cycle.12 In fact, among its many benefits, folic acid can help to normalize a woman’s ovulation cycle, improving the chances of conception.
1 “FOLIC ACID: Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews.” WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1017/folic-acid. Accessed 12 Jan. 2024.
2 “Folic Acid Recommendations.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 Sept. 2023, https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid/recommendations.html.
3 Greenberg, James A., et al. “Folic Acid Supplementation and Pregnancy: More Than Just Neural Tube Defect Prevention.” Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol. 4, no. 2, 2011, pp. 52–59. PubMed Central, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3218540/.
4 “Benefits of taking folic acid and vitamin D before pregnancy.” Tommy’s. https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/planning-a-pregnancy/are-you-ready-to-conceive/benefits-taking-folic-acid-pregnancy. Accessed 12 Jan. 2024.
5 Butler. Anovulation. https://fertility.womenandinfants.org/services/women/anovulation. Accessed 12 Jan. 2024.
6, 7 Kadir, Mumta, et al. “Folate Intake and Ovarian Reserve among Women Attending a Fertility.” Fertility and Sterility, vol. 117, no. 1, Jan. 2022, pp. 171–80. PubMed Central, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8714696/.
8 Wong, Wai Yee, et al. “Effects of Folic Acid and Zinc Sulfate on Male Factor Subfertility: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial.” Fertility and Sterility, vol. 77, no. 3, Mar. 2002, pp. 491–98. ScienceDirect, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0015028201032290.
9 “Women Need 400 Micrograms of Folic Acid Every Day.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22 Apr. 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid/features/folic-acid.html.
10 “Folic Acid.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 June 2022, https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid/about.html.
11 “Folate (Folic Acid).” Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-folate/art-20364625. Accessed 12 Jan. 2024.
12 Okoroafor, Joseph. “Can I Take Folic Acid When I’m on My Period?” WellaHealth, 24 Oct. 2022, https://www.wellahealth.com/blog/can-i-take-folic-acid-when-im-on-my-period/.