Thursday, July 26, 2012
by: Melissa A. Bartoszewski, DC
[NaturalNews] That one tiny pill that you pop every day may be the reason you feel tired and have no energy. There is a proven connection between taking oral contraceptives and the depletion of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), which is responsible for helping the processes of your body to produce energy, along with the rest of the B vitamins. Long-term pyridoxine deficiency can lead to lack of energy, depression, decreased brain function and higher levels of homocysteine. Even though taking birth control pills have a whole host of negative effects on the body, if you are on the pill, supplementation is necessary.
Why you need B6
Your body’s ability to use specific vitamins efficiently is greatly reduced and a direct side effect of taking the birth control pill. Vitamin B6 plays a role in immune function, protein metabolism and in over 100 enzymatic reactions that take place in the body. This vitamin also helps with the biosynthesis of neurotransmitters and maintaining homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an amino acid found in the blood and high levels have been associated with heart disease.
Dietary sources of B6 aren’t enough, if on the pill
The B vitamins are water soluble, which means they are not stored in the body and must be ingested through foods or supplementation. Food sources of B vitamins include: bananas, prunes, tomatoes, avocado, garbanzo beans, cruciferous vegetables, walnuts, hazelnuts, and the skin of potatoes. Most people have enough B6 from dietary sources, but women on birth control are fighting an uphill battle if they aren’t also supplementing.
Not all supplements are created equally
When looking for a high quality B complex, it is important to look at the list of other ingredients. Make sure there are no artificial ingredients, colors/dyes, preservatives, wheat/gluten or dairy. Timed released B complexes offer nutritional supplementation over a period of six to eight hours to aid in energy and stress control. Poor quality supplements do not provide adequate nutritional value and may do more harm than good.
Educating patients is vital
Researchers at Tufts University found that 75 percent of women taking oral contraceptives, who were not supplementing were deficient in B6. Most medical providers prescribing oral contraceptives should be aware of the direct depletion of vitamin B6 and its correlation to decreased energy and depression. Educating patients on the importance of supplementing with a high quality B complex while on the pill is an essential part of practice. If you are on the pill and were not advised to supplement ask your healthcare provider for more information and find a good, quality vitamin.