Q: How can I support my health while taking the Birth Control Pill?
There are many birth control pills on the market today. Some contain progestin only, and others contain both estrogen and progestin. You will be advised of most of the side-effects of oral contraceptives when you speak with your doctor or fill your prescription. However, you should also be aware of the following:
- Birth control pills with estrogen can increase the tendency toward estrogen dominance and the work required of the liver to conjugate and excrete the excess estrogen. You may want to support your liver while taking the Birth Control Pill. My ebook ‘5 Must-Have Tools for Hormone Health’ has a chapter dedicated to the foods that support the liver, as well as tools to address estrogen dominance, and can be downloaded for free here.
- There may be increased turnover of B-vitamins (particularly B6, B9, B12), beta carotene, Vitamin C, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc and other antioxidants with use of oral contraceptives. You may want to support your immune system and liver detoxification function by eating foods high in these vitamins and minerals, or taking natural supplements. Replenishing these low levels of nutrients is especially important prior to conception, particularly in regards to folate (vitamin B9) deficiency, which can take at least 3-6 months to replenish.
- The reduction in zinc, and the increase in copper by taking the birth control pill can affect the nervous system, resulting in tendency toward anger, depression and anxiety. Vitamin B6 and B12 deficiencies may also contribute to nervous system dysfunction. Food sources of B-vitamins include leafy greens, brussel sprouts and cabbage, avocado, rhubarb, dates, figs, prunes, eggs, dairy products, fish, legumes, whole grains, raw nuts, sunflower seeds, and molasses. Zinc can be obtained through a diet that includes oysters, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, seafood, soybeans, eggs, ginger root, beef and raw nuts. Zinc supplementation may be warranted for some people, particularly those that are showing signs of a zinc deficiency.