I thought I'd make a topic about this subject....about how the hormones in birth control pills affect a woman's health (just as a pregnant woman requires additional nutrients and vitamins) because I've been on birth control pills since I was 17 and have noticed things like 1) severe eczema (dry skin) 2) increased loss of hair/hair becomes more fragile 3) sun allergies/increased photosensitivity, 4) rashes and I've spent the past few years trying to think of why these side effects were happening because going off the pill is not an option. My severe cystic acne responds well to this method of treatment....And I know that a lot of other women experience hair loss, eczema, changes in their well-being and other side effects on the pill...
So after reading countless articles, studies, research papers online, there are two things anyone should be aware of when they're taking birth control pills for extended (1+ years) that the doctors (well mine didn't!) don't tell you up front... 1) Birth control pills and nutrient depletion
If you're like me and have noticed hair loss, or dry skin, or skin is more sensitive to sunlight, (even weight gain or loss!) all of these things are affected by your levels of Vitamin B, because the Vitamin B complex affects your hair, your nails, your skin, your metabolism. I've been taking a vitamin B complex for the past year, as well as Vitamin C supplements (for healthier skin as well) and fish oil pills (which help with dandruff and dry skin). Important, important important, being on the birth control pill and not eating a healthier intake of vitamins and minerals can SPEED up the aging process so be aware of that and eat healthier!
The specific nutrients in question are- Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 (*B Complex supplement is ESSENTIAL*), Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Magnesium and Zinc.
many other websites on BCP + Nutritional Deficiencies!)
The B complex vitamins are a diverse family of nutrients that are found together in foods and which often work together to perform their metabolic tasks within your cells. According to Dr. Elson Haas, author of "Staying Healthy with Nutrition," B vitamins are involved in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and proteins, the maintenance of healthy nerve tissue and the upkeep of your skin, hair, mucous membranes, blood cells, eyes, liver and other organs. Physical and emotional stress, infections and medications, such as birth control pills, can increase your requirements for B vitamins. Deficiencies
B vitamins are water soluble, so most of them are not stored in your body. Therefore, daily consumption of foods containing B vitamins is necessary to avoid deficiency states. Because B complex vitamins are involved in so many physiologic functions, symptoms of deficiency are diverse and can include fatigue, weakness, irritability, insomnia, depression, constipation, breakdown of skin and mucous membranes, numbness or tingling of the extremities, poor mental function and difficulties metabolizing medications, including birth control pills.In several cases, women taking oral contraceptives developed folic acid deficiency. However, it appears that many of these women had low intake of folic acid or problems with intestinal absorption prior to taking birth control pills. Women on birth control pills should regularly eat good sources of folic acid. Good folate nutrition is especially important for women who become pregnant shortly after they stop taking oral contraceptives. These women should check with their doctor or health department. The FDA has recently approved an oral contraceptive containing folic acid.If a woman has a riboflavin deficiency before she starts taking oral contraceptives, birth control pills will aggravate that condition. Riboflavin deficiency caused by low intake is more common among lower-income women of child-bearing age who may not have access to good food sources, such as milk, meat and dark green leafy vegetables. Women who take oral contraceptives should plan their riboflavin intake. Good but inexpensive sources include dried milk and enriched grains and cereal products.Vitamin C can be measured in the blood's liquid or plasma portion, as well as in cellular components including platelets and white-blood cells or leukocytes. Decreases in vitamin C in plasma and cellular components have been reported in women who take birth control pills. These decreases are not well understood, but they may relate to changes in copper metabolism. However, no increase has been made in the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C for women who take oral contraceptives beyond what is currently recommended for their age group.A frequent finding is that blood vitamin A levels are higher in women who use birth control pills. On the surface, this might seem beneficial. Studies with animals, however, indicate that the amounts of vitamin A stored in the liver could be lower, even though the amounts circulating in the blood are higher. MineralsIron is one of the few nutrients in question where researchers have suggested a lower amount for women who take birth control pills. Some women using oral contraceptives lose less menstrual blood. Iron is needed to make hemoglobin, the red-colored substance in blood that carries oxygen. It has been argued that if less blood is lost each month, less blood needs to be manufactured. The RDA for iron for women of childbearing age is 18 mg/day. According to the Institute of Medicine the recommendation for women taking oral contraceptives 10.9 mg/day. However, women taking oral contraception do not need to reduce the amount of iron-rich foods they eat or avoid multivitamins that contain iron.Several studies have reported reduced zinc levels in blood plasma of women on birth control pills. However, the zinc levels in red blood cells are reportedly increased in oral contraceptive users. This suggests that the zinc may be redistributed in the blood of women on the pill. The meaning of these changes is not understood. At present, the RDA for zinc for users of oral contraceptives is the same as that for non-users.Plasma copper levels often are increased considerably in women using birth control pills. A copper-carrying protein called ceruloplasmin can destroy vitamin C by a process called oxidation. It has been suggested that the increased blood copper levels caused by birth control pills may relate to the decreased blood vitamin C levels. This, however, is only a suggested relationship. Nutritional Recommendations Women whose diets are not adequate will only aggravate or worsen nutritional problems with birth control pills. This is especially true for women with inadequate diets who become pregnant after they stop taking birth control pills. The best general advice for a woman on birth control pills is to plan a diet that regularly includes moderate amounts of a variety of foods, including good sources of the vitamins and minerals discussed earlier
-The second thing for girls on birth control pills to be wary about is Estrogen Dominance. Since BCP= estrogen supplements, and most of us experience these side effects-
- Decreased sex drive, Irregular or otherwise abnormal menstrual periods, Bloating (water retention), Breast swelling and tenderness, Fibrocystic breasts, Headaches (especially premenstrually), Mood swings (most often irritability and depression), Weight and/or fat gain (particularly around the abdomen and hips), Cold hands and feet (a symptom of thyroid dysfunction), Hair loss, Thyroid dysfunction, Sluggish metabolism, Foggy thinking, memory loss, Fatigue, Trouble sleeping/insomnia, PMS.Es
Estrogen dominance can range from moderate (like what most of experience) to severe (breast cancer, blood clots, etc)
We have to be especially cautious to prevent against it getting too severe especially on the pill by making sure our body fat is at the right level, decreasing stress levels, more nutrients, less carbs, a more refined diet..
Sorry if this was a little lengthy!!!
My doctor never told me about these things, I had to find out after all these years, and my skin, hair and nails are slowly improving...Think twice about skipping meals especially..Only in the past year or so have I really been trying to maintain a balanced diet. Actually when I was in school, I was eating 1 meal a day because I had no time...but that cannot happen when you're on the pill...
Edited by calichick01, 08 November 2011 - 10:20 PM.