Birth control pills may contain varying levels of estrogens and progestins (not natural progesterone) and different preparations can affect nutrients differently.
The following cautions are general in nature based on the use of the class of drugs called Oral Contraceptives.
Nutrients that can be reduced by the use of Oral Contraceptives (OC):
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid). Levels are lowered by OC use which interferes with the metabolism of ascorbic acid. Insufficient intake of ascorbate is also associated with an increased risk of cervical dysplasia.
Selenium. Selenium absorption may be reduced. Selenium is an important nutrient for cancer prevention.
Nutrients that can be increased by the use of Oral Contraceptives:
Calcium. Calcium absorption may be increased with exercise and short term OC use, but in one study no benefit was seen with exercise and chronic OC use.
Copper and Zinc. Copper is generally increased and elevated copper is associated with an increased death from cardiovascular disease. Copper and zinc tend to antagonistic, so an elevated copper level will result in a lower zinc status.
Iron. Premenopausal women using oral contraceptives may have a decreased need for supplemental iron, as the use of OCs can increase iron stores. Iron testing may be appropriate in long term users.
The combined effect of smoking and using birth control pills presents a significantly increased risk of suffering a fatal heart attack for women. Research demonstrates a 500% increase in the risk of a fatal heart attack when smoking is added to the risks associated with oral contraceptives alone. These risks are particularly heightened among women over the age of 35 who face an especially greater risk of death due to circulatory disease, particularly stroke. These contraceptive-related risks may be even greater among those patients with a history of migraines. Consider using a good supplement when on birth control pills. If you stop their use and there is likelihood of pregnancy, be certain of your folic acid status to protect against potential birth defects.
Oral contraceptive pills can correct certain hormonal dysfunctions (particularly in teenagers), but they can also cause other health problems such as oily skin and hair.
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