Before you take ďThe PillĒ as a form of contraception, it is important to know several things:
1.† Smoking and The Pill donít mix.† Women who smoke tobacco and use oral contraceptives have a five-times greater risk of dying from a heart attack than oral contraceptive users who donít smoke.† The risk of death linked to circulatory disease is greatly increased in women over the age of 35 who smoke and use oral contraceptives.† Avoiding or quitting smoking while using oral contraceptives is recommended.
2. Oral contraceptives can cause folic acid depletion.† In women with cervical dysplasia taking oral contraceptives, research showed high doses of folic acid improved cervical health; however women should consult and be supervised by a physician before doing so. Cervical dysplasia has been linked with cancer.
3.† The Pill may increase iron levels.† Because menstrual blood loss is reduced while using oral contraceptives, iron stores may increase, lessening the need for iron in premenopausal women.† Iron levels should be monitored by a physician in women taking oral contraceptives and before taking iron-containing supplements since excess iron has been linked to heart disease.
4.† The Pill may deplete magnesium.† Women using oral contraceptives were found in studies to have lower levels of magnesium than non-users of this drug.† Supplementation of 250-350 mg of magnesium per day may be beneficial for women taking oral contraceptives.† Magnesium is require for hundreds of bodily functions, to relax nerves and muscles, and for overall good health.
5. Oral contraceptives are also associated with vitamin B6 depletion and clinical depression.† In one small study supplementation of vitamin B6 improved depression in women taking oral contraceptives.
6. The Pill may cause depletion of many nutrients including:† vitamins B1, B2, B3, B12, C, and zinc.† The drugs may also interfere with manganese absorption.† All of these vitamins and minerals are essential for energy, balanced moods, immune system strength, and many other bodily functions.
7. Donít mix The Pill with the herb St. Johnís wort since the two may interact, causing changes in menstrual bleeding.† Women taking oral contraceptives should consult a physician or qualified herbal practitioner before using St. Johnís wort.
The above information is provided for educational purposes only.† Do not discontinue any medication or begin any herbal or nutritional supplements without consultation with a qualified physician.
Michelle Schoffro Cook, BSc, RNCP, DNM