Nutritional Support for Oral Contraceptives


Dr. Julie Moore, ND 

Birth control pills are the most effective form of contraception.  When taken properly, they are 99% effective.  There are many possible side effects such as weight gain, breast tenderness, mood swings, tension, depression, circulatory and vascular symptoms and gastrointestinal upset.  More serious risks may include blood clots, liver and gallbladder problems, and an increased risk for certain cancers.

Oral contraceptives deplete many nutrients including B Vitamins, especially B6, B12 and Folic Acid; also, Magnesium, Zinc, and Vitamin C.  Higher daily requirements for these nutrients are necessary when taking birth control pills and will help prevent and manage the potential side effects.

Most oral contraceptive pills are a combination of estrogen and synthetic progesterone in higher amounts than the body’s natural levels.  This blocks the pituitary hormones that stimulate ovulation and prevents pregnancy.  The liver metabolizes these artificial hormones before being eliminated.  Consuming a ‘liver-friendly’ diet rich in fruits, vegetables and essential fatty acids while avoiding alcohol, drugs, and reducing refined sugar and fatty foods is highly recommended.

It is not recommended to use oral contraceptives for extended lengths of time (usually not more than 5 years).  If discontinuing for health reasons, to explore other methods of contraception, or to start planning your family, your Naturopathic Physician can help by identifying and restoring possible nutritional depletion, designing a cleanse to eliminate excess hormones from the body, and providing effective and natural methods to restore balance to the endocrine system and improve fertility.




Vitamin B6 Green leafy vegetables, sunflower seeds, rice bran, wheat germ, fish, beans, brown rice, bananas, avocados, eggs, bee pollen, whole grains, prunes, black strap molasses, garlic
Vitamin B12 Organ meats, fish, shellfish, eggs, poultry, yogurt, milk, nutritional yeast
Folic Acid Green leafy vegetables, legumes, brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, fish, dates, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, oatmeal
Magnesium Pumpkin seeds, nuts, bananas, soy, dried apricots and figs, seafood, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, dark chocolate
Zinc Oysters, beef and lamb, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, beans, mushrooms, wheat germ, cashews, cocoa powder
Vitamin C Citrus fruits, green peppers, broccoli, papaya, strawberries, rose hips, melon, tomatoes, kiwi
Essential Fatty Acids Fish (salmon, sardine, cod liver, mackerel, krill), olive, black currant, borage, hemp, evening primrose and flax oils, other vegetable oils, avocado, nuts and seeds