Birth control pills have many physical and psychological side effects and they leach the body of vital vitamins and minerals

Birth control pills have many physical and psychological side effects and they leach the body of vital vitamins and mineralsAccording to Danish research, more than one in three women suspect that their birth control pills cause side effects. Other studies show that birth control pills affect the body’s ability to utilize several different B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, selenium, and zinc. The lack of these essential nutrients contributes to a number of common side effects such as fluid retention, blood clots, cancer, and depression.

More than 100 million women worldwide take birth control pills. “The pill”, as oy is commonly referred to, was co-invented by Gregory Pincus, an American scientist that helped with testing the first preparations. The pill contains a synthetic estrogen hormone together with gestagen, which is a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone. The pill works by creating a hormone profile with permanently low levels of natural estrogen and progesterone. This prevents the woman from ovulating, which means she cannot conceive.

Birth control pills disrupt the brain’s serotonin levels and the body’s reaction to stress

It turns out that women on the pill have permanently low levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is also the case with people suffering from long-term stress and burnout. The pill has a disruptive impact on the different steroid hormones that are synthesized from cholesterol in the so-called steroid chain. One hormone is necessary for the production of another, even though they have different functions. So, progesterone is a precursor of cortisol and testosterone and estrogen. Therefore, if the body’s natural progesterone level is constantly low, it may affect most hormones in the steroid chain.
It is commonly known that estrogen is of importance to fertility, mood, and mucous membranes. Also, there are different types of estrogen such as estradiol, estron, and estriol and they work differently. Both males and females produce progesterone, a hormone that is highly important for the brain, nervous system, circulatory system, immune defense, regulation of inflammation, and prevention of cancer.
Scientists working at Rigshospitalet (the National Hospital of Denmark) have discovered that birth control pills alter the brain’s levels of serotonin, a hormone that is vital for brain health. More specifically, it looks as if women on the pill have fewer serotonin 4 receptors in the brain, which means that the neurons fail to collaborate optimally and that can have an effect on mood.

Did you know that brain cells are sensitive to estrogen, progesterone, and serotonin?

Birth control pills and side effects

Most women do not experience any problems with birth control pills. In fact, the preventive effect of the pill has given women enormous freedom. Still, birth control pills are associated with side effects such as bleeding disturbances, nausea, headaches, tender and sensitive breasts, and weight gain due to fluid retention in the body. These problems typically go away after a few months. However, there may also be symptoms like mood swings, depression, anxiety, hair loss, inflamed joints and vaginal dryness and thrush. In rare cases, things like blood clots, hypertension, visual disturbance, liver damage, worsening of concealed diabetes, and breast cancer can occur.
Recently, scientists worldwide have grown increasingly aware of the physical and psychological side effects of using birth control pills.

Lack of vitamins and minerals contributes to the problems

Other studies show that the pill disrupts the body’s utilization of various vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B2, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and zinc. This contributes to the increased risk of various side effects. In general, lack of B vitamins, vitamin C, and magnesium may affect your stress threshold, fluid balance, blood pressure, and mood. Lack of vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and zinc can affect your immune defense, circulatory system, and the risk of oxidative stress, which is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants.

In any case, women on the pill should pay extra attention to getting enough of the different B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, selenium, and zinc from their diet or from high-quality supplements.

The following overview shows how the nutrients work in the body:

B vitamins in general

  • Energy metabolism
  • Blood cells
  • Nervous system and hormone system
  • Immune system
  • Digestion
  • Skin and hair
  • Muscles
  • Reduction of tiredness and fatigue
  • Antioxidant effects

Vitamin C

  • Immune defense
  • Collagen (connective tissue)
  • Circulatory system
  • Brain
  • Iron uptake
  • Stress threshold
  • Antioxidant function

Vitamin E

  • Cell growth and cell function
  • Circulatory system
  • Inhibition of blood coagulation and blood clot formation
  • Immune defense
  • Antioxidant function

Magnesium

  • Muscles and relaxation
  • Digestion
  • Fluid balance
  • Blood pressure and heart
  • Interplay with calcium
  • Vitamin D activation

Selenium

  • Immune defense
  • Circulatory system
  • Thyroid gland and metabolism
  • Hair and nails
  • Cancer prevention
  • Fertility
  • Antioxidant function

The agricultural soil in Europe and many other parts of the world is low in selenium, which makes it difficult to get enough of the nutrient from the diet.

Zinc

  • Mental balance
  • Skin, hair, nails, and bones
  • Vision, hearing, taste, and appetite
  • Growth and fertility
  • Antioxidant
If you have problems with your birth control pills, try a different brand or a different source of birth control that does not affect the sensitive hormone and steroid balance.

References:

Christina Toustrup Eriksen. Hver tredje mistænker p-piller for bivirkninger. ”Jeg troede noget var galt med min krop” dr.dk.nyheder 10. 08.2020

Frederik Guy Hoff Sonne. Endnu et studie viser, hvordan p-piller ændrer på kvinders hjernekemi. Videnskab.dk. 10. Juli 2010

Lone Frank. Pillen. Weekend Avisen 4. Juni 2020

Diva Monica Reinagel. How Birth Control Pills affect Your Nutritional Needs. Scientific American 2015

Soudabeh Fallah et al. Effect of contraceptive pill on the selenium and zinc status of healthy subjects. Contraception 2019

M. Palmery et al. Oral contraceptives and changes in nutritional requirements. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 2013

Anette Paulin, Jens Ole Paulin. Naturlig Hormonterapi. Vingholm. 2019

Niels Bjørndal. Medicinskabet. Aschehoug

https://netdoktor.dk/sunderaad/fakta/p-piller.htm

https://netdoktor.dk/vitaminer/oversigtvitaminer.htm