And not just when you forget to take it…
Birth control pills make like easier for many women. They can reduce or eliminate cramps, improve your complexion, keep your period predictable, and, most importantly, prevent you from getting pregnant. Yay for that! Unfortunately, there is also a much darker side to birth control pills that involve the less desirable effects they have on our bodies; some of which can really mess with your head.
Nutrient Depletion From Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills deplete the body of vitamin B6
B6 is an important nutrient for lipid, carbohydrate, and protein metabolism. It also helps make red blood cells, and is important for various amino acid reactions. B6 may also be produced from tryptophan in the body. If your body needs to steal tryptophan to synthesize B6, it can lead to a drop in serotonin levels, as serotonin is derived from tryptophan. This can lead to depression.
Birth control pills also interfere with the absorption of folic acid
Folic acid is necessary for healthy brain function. A folic acid deficiency, which is very common, can show symptoms of insomnia, irritability, and fatigue.
Birth control pills can lead to deficiencies of vitamin B12 and B2
A deficiency of either of these vitamins can be associated with neurological disorders. With a B12 deficiency the symptoms are vast, and include things like memory loss, irritability, inability to concentrate, dizziness, and poor coordination.
Birth control pills can throw off the balance of healthy bacteria in your gut
The increase of estrogen from birth control pills can lead to estrogen dominance, meaning there is an imbalance of estrogen/progesterone that favours estrogen. The ovaries secrete both estrogen and progesterone and the two need to be in balance with each other. The imbalance from estrogen dominance can lead to an overgrowth of candida, which can lead to a ton of awful symptoms like allergies and intolerances. Things can get worse when the toxins produced by candida are carried to the bloodstream and cause symptoms of brain fog, fatigue, and neurological symptoms.
Birth control pills deplete zinc, which increases copper in the body
Too much copper in the body can affect mental stability and result in symptoms like hyperactivity, depression, paranoia, emotional problems and central nervous system damage; or even worse: lead to schizophrenia.
How To Counter The Effects Of Birth Control Pills
Since going off birth control pills isn’t the best option for many women, there are other good nutritional ways to help counter the effects. Eat foods high in iron, vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid and supplement with probiotics, and a high quality multivitamin that contains folic acid, vitamin B2, B6, B12, vitamin C, and iron. A fish oil supplement may also be beneficial.
The evidence seems to suggest that birth control pills can actually give you some ‘crazy’ symptoms from nutritional deficiencies, but if you eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and minimal toxins, your body will be equipped to properly handle any potential nutrient imbalances.
If you are severely worried about the effects of birth control pills there are definitely other options for you; however, many of those options can still cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies if they are contributing hormones and other potential toxins to your body. Try to stick to the more natural methods if possible; like tracking your cycle to find out when you’re both most likely, and unable to get pregnant, and tracking your temperature. While natural methods won’t help with cramps or your complexion, eating more natural, whole, organic, plant-based foods will help to lessen the effects of PMS like cramps and hormonal acne.