8 Common Nutrient Deficiencies Associated with Birth Control
Did you know there’s a link between birth control and vitamin and mineral deficiency? Yes, turns out, birth control can affect your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, which can lead to changes in your mood, energy levels, and neurological functions.
In fact, nearly all prescription medications can affect your body’s ability to absorb and utilize nutrients from the foods you eat and supplements you take. This is actually WHY it can take months (and even years) for a woman's body to come back into balance after years of birth control use.
If you're a woman taking birth control, consider taking a quality multivitamin, here's my Herbal Women's Multivitamin, or b-complex supplement to help mitigate the steady stream of nutrient depletion that's occuring within your body.
What nutrients do birth control deplete?
Birth control is most commonly associated with the following nutrient depletions:
- Vitamin C
- Folate (B9)
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B6
Magnesium has benefits all over your body! Magnesium is an essential mineral for maintaining good health, good mood, proper nerve function, healthy cardiac rhythm and healthy blood pressure levels. It’s a key nutrient of concern for women taking birth control because it is involved in regulating normal blood clotting activity. One study here showed that females taking oral contraceptives had significantly lower levels of serum magnesium levels than a control group, potentially increasing their risk of thromboembolism (blood clot).
Another study exploring the relationship between magnesium and estrogen showed that higher estrogen levels, such as those superficially caused by taking hormonal contraceptives, may alter normal blood mineral levels, increasing the risk of blood clots and thrombosis.
2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that's essential for immune function, collagen formation, and free-radical protection. Oral contraceptives have been shown to decrease vitamin C concentrations in platelets and blood plasma, negatively affecting how much vitamin C is available for the body’s tissues to uptake.
3. B Vitamins
The B vitamins are a group of vitamins that work together to provide energy and reduce the effects of stress. A review of the literature has indicated that birth control pills can alter various B vitamin levels in the body.
4. Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
Oral contraceptives may interfere with riboflavin metabolism, increasing the need for consumption of this vitamin through food or supplementation. Further, riboflavin works together with vitamin B6 to reduce the risk of anemia. One study examining the metabolism of B vitamins in a large population of women showed a significant reduction of vitamin B6 in the blood after taking oral contraceptives.
5. Vitamin B9 (folate)
Your body needs folate to make healthy red blood cells, which are necessary to shuttle oxygen all over your body. You also need folate to make healthy DNA - your genetic code. Folate is involved in DNA synthesis, repair, and cognitive development.A 2015 meta-analysis showed that folate status was significantly reduced among oral contraceptive users.
6. Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
A recent study measuring serum B12 levels in women taking oral birth control showed a sharp decrease in levels during the first six months of use compared to non-hormonal birth control users. Vitamin B12 is needed for your energy, sleep, nervous system and proper DNA synthesis.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a well known antioxidant that makes energy (ATP) and protects cells from free radical damage. It is an important nutrient for heart health and the prevention of cardiovascular disease. A 2006 study examined blood samples from 15 women using oral contraceptives for at least six months. It showed that serum levels of CoQ10 were significantly lower during the first part of the menstrual cycle, leading the authors to consider future antioxidant impacts for women taking birth control.
8. Zinc and Copper
These two minerals work in balance to support important biochemical and immune functions in the body. It is well documented that birth control users typically have elevated blood copper levels. Copper is highly reactive and may lead to oxidative tissue damage if not properly balanced with zinc. A study of 24 women taking oral contraceptives compared zinc and copper levels against a control group who were not taking hormonal birth control. Compared to the control group, zinc levels were significantly lower for the women taking oral contraceptives, while copper levels significantly higher.