If you are one of the thousands of women taking the birth control pill, listen up!
Did you know the birth control pill can deplete your body of many essential nutrients?
History of the Pill
The birth control pill was first made available to the public in 1957 as a menstrual disorder treatment and today is the most common form of hormonal contraception used in the United States. The pill combines progesterone or progestin (the synthetic form of progesterone) and estrogen.
The pill is most commonly taken to prevent pregnancy but is also used for treating cramps or menstrual pain, menstrual regulation and as an acne treatment. While the pill is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, it can also be hazardous to those who take it. The Heathful Pursuit lists weight gain, mood swings, circulatory symptoms, liver problems and blood clots as possible side effects of the pill. Most people don’t realize oral contraceptives can also create nutrient deficiencies. In an article from the Huffington Post, pharmacist Ross Pelton says:
Many drugs deplete nutrients but oral contraceptives are the worst. The depletions may increase a woman’s risk of: depression, a weakened immune system, heart disease, cancer, and having a child with birth defects.
Nutrient Deficiencies Caused by the Pill
The metabolism of birth control pills by the liver requires extra amounts of a variety of vitamins, including B-vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, folic acid and zinc. Those taking birth control pills for an extended period of time may not even be aware that they are deficient in one or more nutrients. A deficiency of B vitamins and magnesium can result in high levels of the amino acid homocysteine, which can cause heart disease.
The pill can also create problems with normal yeast levels in the body. Birth control pills promote estrogen dominance, creating a yeast imbalance and yeast overgrowth Toxins from yeast overgrowth can be harmful, causing such problems as vaginal infections, psoriasis, depression, fibromyalgia, digestive disorders and PMS.
The good news is that with proper nutrition and supplementation you can reduce your risk of nutrient deficiencies. A high nutrient diet of low-fat proteins, whole grains, vegetables, nuts and seeds is ideal, and supplementation can also help maintain a proper nutrient balance.
The Leaf Lady recommends that women on the pill raise their intake to the following levels:
- Vitamin B6: 50-100mg
- Vitamin B12: 50-200mcg
- Folic acid: 600-800 mcg
- Vitamin E: 400-600 IU
- Vitamin C: 1-3g
- Zinc: 20-40mg
We also have a variety of probiotics that can help combat yeast overgrowth caused by the pill. Check them out here!