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Folic acid and male fertility

12 February 2001
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 94

A lack of folic acid in the diet could be responsible for some cases of male infertility, according to new research presented at a conference in Lyons last week. Professor Bruce Ames of the University of California told delegates at the World Life Sciences Forum that sperm counts in rats fall by 90 per cent if folic acid is withdrawn from their diet.

Professor Ames dismissed claims that oestrogen-mimicking chemicals in the environment could be linked to lower sperm counts, saying that smoking and diet were more influential. He said that folic acid appears to prevent breaks in chromosomes, the bundles of genetic information found in human cells. Pregnant women are already advised to take folic acid supplements to reduce the risk of spina bifida and other birth defects in the developing fetus.

'Ten per cent of the population could suffer from infertility caused by folic acid deficiency' said Professor Ames. He said the best solution was to improve diets by eating more fruits and vegetables, but that folic acid supplements might also help.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Folic acid can help boost sperm count
The Independent |  10 February 2001
Folic acid 'is the key to fertility in males'
The Daily Telegraph |  10 February 2001
Why infertility means men need folic acid too
The Daily Mail |  10 February 2001
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