Birth control pills (a.k.a. oral contraceptives) reduce the levels of vitamin B12 in the user. The estrogen hormone contained in the pills is responsible for this.
What are the potential side effects of a vitamin B12 reduction?
Women taking birth control pills (a.k.a. oral contraceptives) should be aware that vitamin B12 is necessary for the metabolism of the dangerous amino acid called homocysteine.
What can homocysteine do?
A high homocysteine level is known to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Basically, this toxic amino acid encourages plaque formation in the arteries, which then leads to coronary heart disease and stroke.
Are there other side effects of low vitamin B12 blood levels?
A vitamin B12 deficiency has been known to cause memory loss, neuropathy (nerve cell death), depression, psychosis and even urinary incontinence.
What can be done for a woman who is taking birth control pills?
Women using estrogen pills are advised to supplement their diets with vitamin B12, as well as vitamins B6, C and zinc. Levels of all these vitamins have been shown to be affected by the use of birth control pills.