Taking care of your mental health is necessary more now than ever before. There are many things that you can do to support your mental health on a daily basis. These include what you eat (e.g., reduce sugar, processed and fast foods), how you manage stress (guided meditation, getting grounded in nature, connecting with friends), how much time you spend online (limit), and how regularly you move your body (walking outside, yoga, fitness classes). There are also times when you may struggle to do what you need to do to take the best possible care of yourself. Those are the days that you need support, help, or a network of hands and hearts to guide you through. Because, well, life can be hard sometimes (especially this past year) and you aren’t meant to go through it alone.
And, sometimes you could be doing all the right things and still feel like something is off.
The culprit? It might be your birth control.
The Link Between Birth Control & Mental Health
An important, yet under-addressed issue, is the link between birth control and changes in mood. Hormonal birth control, including the pill, patch, implant, injection, and IUD, have been linked to depression, anxiety, and an overall sense of “not feeling like myself anymore.” It’s a commonly reported side-effect, yet very few people are informed about the long list of both short-term and long-term adverse effects of birth control, including mood changes.
One of the main reasons that hormonal birth control impacts mood so drastically is due to the depletion of key nutrients and probiotics that occur while using it. Nutrient depletions that get exacerbated with time (particularly since most women are on hormonal birth control for close to 10 years) – many of which are critical for optimal mood, mental health, and feeling like the best version of yourself… all month long.
Birth control is known to deplete the following nutrients:
B Vitamins, CoQ10, Folic acid, Magnesium, Zinc, and Probiotics
Combatting the Adverse Effects of Birth Control
Does this mean that you have to stop taking birth control? Not necessarily. But it does mean that if you are going to be taking hormonal birth control, you want to be supporting your body by replenishing what it is being stripped from the body. This is a critical part of preventing the side effects that can develop. Having nutrient levels at an optimal range will decrease very common symptoms such as PMS/PMDD, mood swings, anxiety, and depression.
How These Key Nutrients That Hormonal Birth Control Depletes Play a Role in Your Mood
B Vitamins are essential for all aspects of energy metabolism and can contribute to fatigue and brain fog when depleted. Vitamin B6 is key for reducing anxiety.
CoQ10 is essential in the process of how our cells generate usable energy from the food that we eat. Low levels of CoQ10 can contribute to fatigue and headaches.
Folic Acid is incredibly important in forming healthy red blood cells, so a deficiency can lead to low energy and dizziness.
Inadequate Magnesium intake is associated with migraines and anxiety disorders.
Lower Zinc levels are linked to PMS symptoms. Zinc supplementation improves psychological and psychomotor symptoms of PMS and improves the physical and mental quality of life.
The gut-brain connection can powerfully influence mood. Lactobacillus acidophilus, which is a strain of probiotics (‘healthy gut bacteria’), has been shown to increase serotonin production (‘the happy hormone’), which can ultimately improve mood.
On hormonal birth control and want a solution?