Oral Contraceptives: Depression Causing Nutrient Depletions, Plus The Herbals That Can Make Them Fail

Oral contraceptives cause key nutrient depletions concern folic acid, vitamins B2, B6, B12, vitamin C and E and the minerals magnesium, selenium and zinc. [PMID: 23852908]

These nutrients can be replaced by a quality multivitamin/mineral supplement along with magnesium and healthy eating.

  • Folate: “Because of the reduction in blood folate concentrations associated with the use of oral contraceptives, it is critical for women of childbearing age to continue folate supplementation during oral contraceptive use.” [PMC1862844],
  • Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 supplementation reduces symptoms of depression in women using oral contraceptives. [PMID: 35109763]
  • Vitamin C: Plasma levels of Vitamin C are lower in women who take oral contraceptives.
  • Magnesium: Magnesium levels are lower in women taking oral contraceptives, although researchers are not sure if they should recommend magnesium supplements to all users based on this fact alone. However, population studies estimate that about 60% of adults do not achieve the acceptable dietary intake (ADI) and 45% of Americans are magnesium deficient. [PMC6163803]

Herbal Supplement Interactions

Caffeine Clearance

  • Caffeine: Oral contraceptives might decrease caffeine clearance by 40% [PMID: 7022590], so you might find you have problems with green tea or coffee intake because of the caffeine.

About the Author

Stephanie Figon, MS, RDN, LD

Founder of NutriScape.NET. As a dietitian since 1992, Steph Figon has had experiences in consulting, 15 years in clinical, and has operated a private practice nutrition counseling office for since 2011. Connect on Linkedin

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