The Dark Side of Birth Control Pills: A Nutritional Perspective

November 10, 2023 6 mins to read
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As an integrative nutrition student in college, I spent months learning how vital hormonal balance is to over-all health…Birth control pills can throw that hormonal balance completely out of wack and even cause nutrient deficiencies, which can contribute to range of short and long-term health issues. In this article I outline some of the negative health impacts of oral contraceptives, so you can make an informed decision about what’s bet for your health, and I offer a natural alternative with 0 side effects you can try.


Birth Control Pills & Hormonal Balance

  • Synthetic Hormone Shuffle: Unlike our body’s natural hormones, oral contraceptives pack synthetic hormones: estrogen and progesterone. These can throw our natural hormonal rhythm off balance, leading to a myriad of potential side effects, which can occur even after quitting oral contraceptives.
  • Mood Rollercoaster: Ever felt like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster? You may be able to partially blame it on those synthetic hormones, which can contribute to mood swings, amplifying anxiety or depression, especially in those with a pre-existing mental health issues.
  • Menstrual Mayhem: For women who use birth control long-term, it can have long-standing effects, impacting your healthy menstrual cycles: think irregular periods, unexpected flow patterns (weak of heavy bleeding), or even the absence of any menstruation (amenorrhea).
  • Low Libido: If you’ve felt unusually “not in the mood”, it could be the Hormonal shifts from birth control and synthetic hormones, which can negatively impact your libido.
  • Long-Term Health: Extended use of birth control can leave a lasting imprint on your hormonal health, affecting everything from fertility to menstrual regularity. So if you’re planning on having kids in the future, you may want to re-consider your birth control strategy.

Birth Control and Nutrient Deficiencies

B-Vitamins

Oral contraceptives can be notorious nutrient thieves, particularly hijacking crucial B vitamins (B2, B6, B12, folic acid), which are vital for everything from your energy levels to brain health. B-Vitamins are key to Neurotransmitter production, which could be part of it impacting your mood and increasing anxiety and depression.

Key Minerals

They also can impact the absorption of key minerals like magnesium and zinc, omnipresent in our bodies and essential for optimal health. In nutritional sciences if we didn’t know an answer we could almost always put “zinc or magnesium” for half marks, because both are used in thousands of bodily processes (most of them).

Weak Bones: Our bone density can take a hit too, thanks largely to the negative impact oral contraceptives can have on our hormones and their ability to cause nutrient deficiencies.

Gut Problems

Ever felt bloated, or had any sort of gut issues? Oral contraceptives can also wreck your gut health, further complicating nutrient absorption. The gut also produces roughly the same amount of neurotransmitters as our brain, so this can further exacerbate negatie impacts on our mood and mental health.

Iron Anemia

With menstrual changes (like excessive bleeding) and nutrient deficiencies coming into play, the risk of iron-deficiency anemia goes up significantly.


Other Negative Health Effects

Mental Health

Oral contraceptives can attack our mental wellbeing from multiple angles – nutritional, gut and neurotransmitter production. Anxiety and depression can become part of a vicious cycle that should be addressed.

Heart Health Hazards

Elevated risks of blood clots and hypertension are also part of the package, thanks largely to the potential impact of oral contraceptives on hormonal balance.

Osteoporosis

Another potential effect of long-term oral contraceptive use can be brittle and weak bones. This can increase risk of bone breaks and fractures during a fall and even slower recovery.

Trouble Conceiving

Post-pill, some might find conceiving a challenge, this can be largely attributed to lingering hormonal effects that may persist after discontinuing use.


A Natural Alternative to Oral Contraceptives

Honestly much of what oral contraceptives offer is detrimental to your health. And yeah there are other forms of contraceptive which do work, but I found an even better natural alternative that doesn’t poison your body and has 0 side effects. It’s a FDA approved Contraceptive App and it’s 93% effective as a contraceptive.

It comes from a company called natural cycles, and it is a temperature-based contraceptive that uses tech to monitor body temperature and the science of how hormonal shifts alter your body temperature (rising near ovulation), to pinpoint exactly where you are in your cycle. The Natural Cycles Contraceptive App has over 48,000 reviews and almost a perfect 5 star rating! It uses your existing fitness tracker like your apple watch or other device and an app you can literally download right now and set up in seconds.


Conclusion | Knowledge is Power

While birth control pills are a revolutionary part of western medicine and a big part of family planning…it’s essential to weigh their impact holistically, this includes the affect it’s going to have on your body long-term. If you’re considering or already on the pill, let’s not forget the power of a heart-to-heart with your healthcare provider to tailor your contraceptive choice to your body’s unique needs. Book an appointment as my patient to couple that with holistic nutrition – possible lifestyle tweaks and nutritional supplementation, that can help you navigate this journey with more ease and awareness.


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Disclaimer

The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any health care agency or government entity in Canada or the United States.

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