Although the pill is one of the most effective forms of contraception, it also is associated with the most side effects. Because it changes the body’s natural levels of female hormones in order to prevent ovulation, there are some nutritional deficiencies and excesses that are created within the body.
Women can experience a significant decline in vitamin C levels with the pill. This vitamin is required for cellular healing and immunity. The pill changes the acid-base balance within the body and can make you more susceptible to yeast infections. Since vitamin C helps to keep the pH, it is useful in preventing recurrent vaginal infections.
Folic acid and B6 are typically depleted with the pill. Folic acid deficiencies are responsible for anemia, birth defects and preventing cervical dysplasia (precancerous cell growth on the cervix). Folic acid deficiency is also associated with depression.
This vitamin is needed to make to serotonin. Reduced levels of serotonin are what make some women more at risk of suffering from depression. Since serotonin also gets converted to melatonin, a sleep hormone, insomnia is also a common side effect. B6 is also responsible for helping to prevent cervical cancer.
Both B vitamins along with folic acid are responsible for metabolizing homocysteine. This chemical in the body is responsible for causing damage to the arteries (atherosclerosis), and give women who are long time users of the pill a higher risk of heart disease. B12 deficiency also causes anemia.
The pill causes elevated copper levels, which depletes zinc in the body. Zinc is responsible for wound healing and proper immune function.
Magnesium is another mineral that can decline with the pill. Deficiencies can be associated with insomnia, leg cramps, blood clots, anxiety, osteoporosis and elevated blood pressure.
Supporting your body’s needs may be one way to reduce side effects of the pill and keep you functioning optimally. Before you stock up on supplements, consult your family doctor or naturopath to access your nutritional status. A few simple tests can let you know if you are in need of extra vitamins.
To learn more, please contact our Oakville clinic for details.