Folic acid may boost the immune system, reduce the risk of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, and help the body heal cancerous lesions. However, individuals may wish to speak with their healthcare professional before taking any supplements.

HPV is an infection that affects most adults at some point. Certain types of HPV can cause genital warts and, without treatment, some cancers, including cervical, penile, and anal cancers.

Although the body can often clear HPV within a year without intervention, the factors affecting HPV infection and health risks remain a subject of ongoing research.

Folic acid has emerged as a nutrient of interest in this context. Folic acid, or folate, is a B vitamin crucial for DNA function and cell growth and may reduce the risk of HPV infection.

This article explores folic acid for HPV, its dosage, and alternative vitamins and supplements for HPV.

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Folic acid is an essential B vitamin (B9) that exists in:

  • leafy green vegetables
  • citrus fruits
  • beans
  • fortified breads and cereals

It plays a significant role in DNA synthesis and repair.

Deficiencies in folic acid can lead to various health issues, including:

Experts link folic acid and vitamin B12 levels to homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an amino acid that vitamin B12 and folic acid break down to create other chemicals. There is an inverse relationship between folic acid and vitamin B12 levels and homocysteine levels. As folic acid and vitamin B12 levels decrease, homocysteine levels increase, and vice versa.

Higher homocysteine levels may make a person more susceptible to developing cervical cancer.

Folic acid may reduce the risk of HPV infection by strengthening the immune system and promoting healthy cell growth in the cervix, the area the virus most commonly affects. Healthy cervical cells are better able to fight off HPV before it has a chance to cause health issues.

Learn more about HPV.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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There is no widely accepted dose of folic acid for HPV, and it could vary by individual factors.

However, experts have formulated a product called Pervistop that contains a combination of:

  • 400 micrograms of folic acid
  • 200 milligrams (mg) of epigallocatechin gallate
  • 1 mg of vitamin B12
  • 50 mg of hyaluronic acid

In a recent case study, this combination product reversed malignant changes in the cervix of a female of 39 years, enabling her to avoid radical surgery.

A further clinical trial of 40 women with persistent HPV infections and cervical lesions compared 12 weeks of Pervistop treatment to a control group. Of the 20 in the control group, 15 still had low grade cancerous lesions at the end of the study. However, in the treatment group, 17 out of 20 participants had complete viral clearance with no evidence of lesions following the treatment.

Researchers have studied several antioxidant vitamins and supplements to determine their potential role in managing HPV and related conditions.

Valuable options include:

  • Vitamins A and D and carotenoids: These vitamins may protect against the early development of cervical cancer.
  • Vitamin C: Ascorbic acid protects and maintains cell health. Research links low levels to persistent HPV infection and cervical cancer.
  • Vitamin E: Tocopherol is a fat-soluble antioxidant that protects cells from oxidative DNA damage and mutation, which could prevent tumors. It may protect against HPV persistence by boosting the immune system and slowing the progression of cervical cancer.
  • Polyphenols: These antioxidant compounds occur in certain foods. Doctors may use them alongside chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cervical cancer treatment. They appear to hinder the growth of HPV in cells by affecting DNA synthesis.

Individuals need to discuss any new vitamins and supplements with a healthcare professional before taking them.

Further resources

For more in-depth resources about vitamins, minerals, and supplements, visit our dedicated hub.

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There is no treatment for HPV, though there are interventions for related health problems.

Healthcare professionals can treat genital warts with prescription medications, including imiquimod (Aldara, Zyclara) or podophyllin and podofilox (Condylox).

If the warts do not respond to this approach, freezing with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy) or electrocautery to burn them off are options.

Doctors can also treat cervical precancers and cancers with cryotherapy, laser therapy, or loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP). LEEP uses a heated wire loop to remove atypical cervical tissue.

If a person has concerns about HPV infection or the role of vitamins and supplements in its treatment, they can consult a healthcare professional.

Here are some essential questions to consider:

  • What is the most suitable vitamin or supplement for my HPV-related condition?
  • What is the recommended dosage and duration of use for these vitamins or supplements?
  • Are there any potential interactions between these supplements and my other medications?
  • Are there known side effects or risks relating to these supplements?
  • Can you guide a holistic treatment plan that combines vitamins, supplements, and other interventions for managing HPV effectively?

Sexual health resources

Visit our dedicated hub for more research-backed information and in-depth resources on sexual health.

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Managing HPV involves a complex treatment approach, which may include folic acid.

Research shows that this B vitamin may boost the immune system, reduce the risk of infection, and help the body heal cancerous lesions.

People need to ask their healthcare professionals about the potential benefits of folic acid supplementation in their HPV management plan. While research offers promising insights, personalized guidance from a healthcare professional is crucial.