In my experience, 95% of all prescription drugs, including hormonal contraceptives (oral contraceptives/the pill, patches, IUDs, injections, etc.) cause nutrient deficiencies in the body. This is because of the additional actions that the drug has on the body in addition to the intended action of preventing pregnancy – it may block the absorption, and/or use more of these nutrients for its detoxification/breakdown.
If you’ve been on the pill or other forms of hormonal birth control for any length of time, nutrient deficiencies can occur. This is especially true if you’ve been on these since you were a teenager, as is the case for so many women.
The top 7 deficiencies and some associated symptoms:
-Folate: Essential for proper DNA function, a basic building block of life, prevents birth defects
-B12: Low levels can cause anemia, fatigue, depression, confusion, neuralgias, increased weight, etc. (see my post on B12 for full info)
-Vitamin C: increased susceptibility to infections (urinary tract infections, colds and flus, etc.), tendency to easy bruising, acne, iron deficiency, and asthma
-CoQ10: slowed metabolism, low energy, hypertension, high cholesterol
-Magnesium: chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, osteoporosis, abnormal heartbeat, constipation and headaches (see my recent post on Magnesium for more)
-Vitamin B6: raging emotional symptoms around menstruation/PMS/irritability, fatigue, carpel tunnel, and low serotonin levels
-Zinc: poor wound healing, weakened immune system, skin conditions, decreased taste, hair loss, white spots on fingernails, confusion
Additionally, high circulating levels of estrogen (as in the case on hormonal birth control) often cause thyroid abnormalities and dysfunction.
If you’re using hormonal contraceptives, please see a health care provider who understands all the effects that this can have on your body. We can support your body while you’re on the pill and discuss some alternatives that you may not know about. Testing is available for most nutrient deficiencies too. You have so many more choices than you may know when it comes to your health care.