Can Folic Acid Help Prevent HPV Infections?

HPV (human papillomavirus) is a common sexually transmitted infection affecting nearly 80% of all sexually active people worldwide. Most people have strong enough immune systems to eliminate the virus before it develops into something worse, like genital warts or cervical cancer.

Unfortunately, a small percentage of HPV infections remain in people after two years. The results of a prolonged HPV infection are more severe symptoms and health issues, such as genital warts, abnormal cervical cellular growth, and cervical cancer.

HPV can infect men and women. People usually contract it from intimate skin-to-skin contact while engaging in sexual activity. More than 100 HPV strains exist, but only some cause undesirable outcomes like genital warts and cancer. While cervical cancer is a typical result of a high-risk HPV infection in women, men and women can develop other forms of cancer from a high-risk HPV infection. The cancers most associated with HPV include throat cancer, penile cancer, vaginal cancer, and anal cancer.

Effective HPV Treatments

Health experts recommend getting the HPV vaccine as early as 11 and 12 years of age to ensure protection against the virus before young people enter their sexually active years. In addition, regular HPV and cervical cancer screenings are recommended for sexually active women up until 45 years old.

However, you can also protect yourself against an HPV infection by making better lifestyle decisions and developing healthier habits to strengthen your immune system. Some examples of better habits include fewer sexual partners, practicing safe sex, eating more nutritious foods (fruits & vegetables), exercising daily, and consuming immune-boosting nutrients like folic acid.

Medical research studies have shown that regular folic acid consumption can help a person reduce their risk of developing an HPV infection and the severe health issues which may follow from it. Folic acid (folate) is a water-soluble form of Vitamin B9 that naturally exists in healthy foods, such as citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, fortified cereals, and beans.

Folic acid strengthens the immune system by stimulating the growth of healthy cells throughout the body, especially in the cervix. Since many high-risk HPV-infected women develop cervical cancer, folic acid may help stop the growth of abnormal and cancerous cervical cells to prevent cancer from forming or spreading in the cervix. Then, with healthy cervical cells, it is easier for a woman’s immune system to eradicate the HPV infection and prevent future health issues.

How Folic Acid Helps the Immune System 

Folic acid stimulates specific white blood cells (natural killer cells and T cells) that increase antibody production activity and fight infections from viruses like HPV. The antibodies quickly prevent HPV particles from infecting healthy cells, reducing the risk of abnormal, precancerous, or cancerous cell growth. As you consume more folic acid, your immune system will have a more robust defense against HPV infections by utilizing the natural killer cells and T cells to keep the body safe.

Medical research studies have seen how regular folic acid consumption can reduce an HPV-infected woman’s risk of developing cervical cancer. Folic acid does a great job of regulating healthy cell growth and preventing unhealthy cell growth. It is the perfect formula for preventing abnormal cell growth of any kind.

Of course, you should still get the HPV vaccine as soon as possible. Boosting the strength of your immune system will reduce your risk of developing HPV-related health problems, but the HPV vaccine will maximize your protection against high-risk HPV strains like HPV-16 and HPV-18.

How to Consume Folic Acid 

The best way to consume folic acid or any other nutrient is by adding whole foods to your daily diet. The whole foods with the most abundance of folic acid include spinach, collard greens, broccoli, oranges, grapefruits, beans, lentils, and fortified cereals.

You do not necessarily need to add all these foods to your daily diet, but adding some could give you an adequate amount of folic acid to help protect against HPV infections. Folic acid offers other health advantages, such as DNA and red blood cell production. Evidence suggests that folic acid may help pregnant women deliver healthy babies without birth defects. There are even links found between folic acid and reduced risks of cancer and heart disease.

What About Supplements with Folic Acid?

Folic acid supplements exist too. However, you have to be careful not to consume too much folic acid at once because high quantities of it could increase the risk of nerve damage. Most people don’t have to worry about this if they consume folic acid from whole foods. But when consuming folic acid from supplements, there is a higher risk of consuming too much folic acid if you are not careful.

Folic acid supplements and HPV supplements are suitable if you cannot get enough folic acid in your daily diet for whatever reason. The typical folic acid supplement provides 400 to 800 micrograms per dose. Please stick to the recommended dosage amount listed on the label and compare it to the amount of folic acid in your whole foods. If you do so, you should be able to measure the proper intake of folic acid each day correctly. 

How Much Folic Acid Will Stop an HPV Infection?

First, it is always advisable to undergo routine cervical cancer screenings and possibly even HPV testing. Pap tests are essential for women because they look for abnormal cervical cell growth. If a doctor detects abnormal cell growth early enough, they will have a better chance of treating the problem before it develops into cervical cancer.

With that said, folic acid can help prevent HPV infections and HPV-related health issues like genital warts and cervical cancer. But the proper daily amount of folic acid to consume for this purpose depends on various factors, such as your gender, age, health status, medical history, and level of sexual activity.

Health experts recommend that the average adult consume approximately 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. Pregnant women or soon-to-be pregnant women may require a higher dosage of folic acid. Your primary care physician or gynecologist can discuss more about this with you to determine the proper folic acid dosage for your current situation.

Can You Take Additional Nutrients for HPV Protection?

You do not have to rely on folic acid as the sole nutrient to protect you from HPV infections. There are also other nutrients you can take to boost your immune system and prevent HPV infections.  Look at the powerful results of AHCC for HPV, also zinc, Vitamin D, and Vitamin C. So, if you were to consume the recommended amounts of folic acid, zinc, Vitamin D, and Vitamin C in your daily diet, you would have the best chance of stopping an HPV infection before it creates health issues or symptoms for you.

Again, you can consume supplements for these nutrients, but getting them from eating whole foods would be better. Vitamin C is a robust antioxidant known to strengthen the immune system and stop viral infections before they spread. Foods with Vitamin C include strawberries, bell peppers, citrus fruits, and kiwi. Vitamin D regulates the immune system and reduces the risk of cervical cancer. You can consume Vitamin D by eating