For Joanne and other patients who are on birth control pills—or who visit me to discuss alternatives—my first recommendation is a nutrient-dense diet. Studies show that women are already low in nutrients like riboflavin, so birth control pills only make the risk of deficiency worse. The dietary plan I give my patients includes plenty of protein-rich foods like wild-caught fish, antioxidant rock stars like leafy and cruciferous veggies, as well as berries, avocado, and other low-sugar fruits, and mineral-rich nuts and seeds.
And even with an optimal diet, I use supplements to optimize nutrient intake for current and former birth control users. Researchers suggest dietary supplements as a first-line approach to prevent birth-control-related nutrient deficiencies. Along with an optimal diet, I had Joanne initially take:
1. A full-spectrum, professional-grade multivitamin-mineral.
2. Fish oil: Studies show birth control increases your risk for inflammatory conditions like Crohn’s disease.
3. CoQ10: for extra antioxidant support.
4. A B-vitamin complex: to replace B vitamins depleted by the pill.
5. Magnesium: Taken before bedtime, this mineral helps patients relax and get better sleep.
6. Vitamin D: Studies show women who stop taking the pill, like Joanne did, have significantly lower vitamin D levels.
Two months later, Joanne had a follow-up visit, and she felt significantly more confident and upbeat. Her sex drive was returning to normal, and she felt more confident in yoga class.
If you're ready to quit the pill for another birth control option, here's what will happen in your body.