Skip to content


Oral contraceptives, are widely used for preventing pregnancy and managing various hormonal concerns. I saw a commercial the other night, that it is now available over the counter (OTC). While they are incredibly effective, there’s a lesser-known side of these medications that many women might not be aware of: vitamin depletion and its broader health implications.

How Oral Contraceptives Deplete Vital Nutrients

When it comes to the skin, I have seen many many many patients. It has gotten to the point where I can easily look at someones skin (face or body) and determine: level of sun exposure, fatty acid content, fluid intake (ish), metabolic dysfunction, diet, drug use, oxidative stress, quality of skincare products, genetic/ethnic influence of skin quality, quality of circulation/lymphatic system, hormonal imbalances, cell health, and more. You wouldn't believe the things I uncover. #SkinMedium Most importantly though, not everyone is open for that level of vulnerability. I try to instill a safe space for someone to be heard, supported, and open to feedback. Only then will I divulge certain attributes. I digress....So when you take birth control pills, your body undergoes several hormonal changes right. One side effect of these changes, is the depletion of essential vitamins and minerals. The most commonly affected nutrients include:

  • Folic Acid (Vitamin B9)
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Magnesium
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Co-enzyme Q10
  • Beta-Carotene

Why These Nutrients Are Vital for Women

Each of these nutrients plays a crucial role in maintaining your overall health and well-being. Here’s why they are so important for the skin and overall body:

  • Folic Acid: Essential for DNA repair and cell division. It’s particularly important for women of childbearing age to prevent birth defects. Folic acid aids in cell turnover and the production of new skin cells. It helps reduce the signs of aging and can improve skin texture and tone.
  • Vitamin B2, B6, B12: Vital for energy production, brain health, and red blood cell formation. Deficiencies can lead to fatigue, mood swings, and cognitive issues. It helps you maintain healthy skin by promoting cell turnover and repair. It also supports the metabolism of fats and proteins, helps reduce inflammation, and oxygenating the skin
  • Vitamin C: A powerful antioxidant that supports the immune system and skin health. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects the skin from free radical damage caused by UV exposure and pollution. It is essential for the synthesis of collagen, which helps maintain skin elasticity and firmness. Vitamin C also helps promote an even skin tone.
  • Vitamin E: Protects cells from damage. It helps maintain the skin's moisture barrier, preventing dryness and promoting smooth, hydrated skin. It also aids in healing skin damage and reducing the appearance of scars.
  • Magnesium: Regulates muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure.  Magnesium is vital for maintaining the skin's barrier function and hydration. It helps reduce inflammation and soothe sensitive skin.
  • Selenium: Protects against oxidative stress and supports thyroid function.  It protect the skin from UV-induced damage, reduce inflammation and promote cellular function.
  • Zinc: Crucial for immune function, wound healing, and DNA synthesis. Zinc has anti-inflammatory properties, supports the production of new skin cells and helps regulate oil production, preventing clogged pores.
  • Copper: Helps maintain healthy blood vessels, nerves, and immune function. It's also important for the formation of red blood cells.
  • Co-enzyme Q10: An antioxidant that supports energy production in cells and protects against oxidative damage.
  • Beta-Carotene: A precursor to vitamin A, it supports vision, immune function, and skin health.

The Broader Health Implications

When your body is deprived of these essential nutrients, it can lead to a cascade of health issues, including:

  • Gut Dysbiosis and Leaky Gut: An imbalance in gut bacteria can lead to digestive issues and a "leaky" gut, where toxins and partially digested food particles leak into the bloodstream, causing inflammation.
  • Thyroid Dysregulation: Essential minerals like selenium and magnesium are crucial for thyroid health. Their depletion can lead to thyroid imbalances, affecting metabolism and energy levels.
  • Mood Disorders: Vitamins B6, B12, and magnesium play key roles in brain function and mood regulation. Their deficiency can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders.
  • Autoimmunity: A weakened gut barrier and imbalanced immune function can trigger autoimmune responses, where the body mistakenly attacks its own tissues.
  • Metabolic Dysfunction: Long-term use of oral contraceptives can disrupt metabolic processes, leading to issues such as insulin resistance and weight gain. This is becoming increasingly prevalent in the population and can have significant long-term health impacts. Still not enough research but I am so happy to see the progress were making with integrative medicine.

Thyroid Disease's Effect on Fertility and Pregnancy

What Can You Do?

If you are using oral contraceptives, it’s important to be proactive about your health. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Nutrient-Rich Diet: Focus on a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains to replenish depleted nutrients.
  2. Supplements: Consider taking a high-quality multivitamin or specific supplements to address any deficiencies. I recommend my clients take a prenatal (includes folic acid), to help support their system post birth control. This isn't something to DIY, bio hack, or expect to see changes over night. Consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement routine. For those of my patients coming off BC and looking to get pregnant, I have a 98% success rate under a year. Just saying.. Im trying to make yall self sufficient and in tune with your body. Yet I am real when things are above my level of competence...
  3. Regular Check-Ups: Regular blood tests can help monitor your nutrient levels and overall health. The right blood tests though, certain tests need to be done in a certain time period of menstruation. Again please don't take this advice, go to a generic practitioner who may not run the full encompassing panels please.
  4. Gut Health: Probiotics and prebiotics can help maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria. Fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kombucha are excellent choices.
  5. Mindful Choices: Discuss with your healthcare practitioner about the potential impacts of long-term oral contraceptive use and explore alternative options if necessary.

Total Gut Restoration | Microbiome Labs

Coming Off Birth Control

When you decide to come off birth control, your body will take time to regulate its natural hormone levels and deficiencies. This transition period can cause your skin to become more unpredictable, and if you are working with a professional to address skin issues like acne, be prepared for the process to take longer than usual...sometimes 2 to 3 times longer than the average acne treatment timeline. Sometimes there's a nasty cyclic state of being clear then not. Stay the course. Trust the process, be patient, and follow holistic steps towards a healthier you.

Remember, the decision to use birth control is a personal one between you and your healthcare practitioner. It’s essential to be educated on all the pros and cons to make an informed choice that best suits your health and lifestyle needs. If you aren't getting the theme here....I am very root cause focused when it comes to the skin. With a sprinkle of sustainability.




Palmery, M., Saraceno, A., Vaiarelli, A., & Carlomagno, G. (2013). Oral contraceptives and changes in nutritional requirements. European review for medical and pharmacological sciences, 17(13), 1804–1813.

Wakeman, M. P. (2019). A Review of the Effects of Oral Contraceptives on Nutrient Status, with Especial Consideration to Folate in UK. Journal of Advances in Medicine and Medical Research, 1–17.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published..

Quick Shop