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J Reprod Med. 1980 Oct;25(4):150-6.

Nutritional effects of oral contraceptive use: a review.


Oral contraceptives agents (OCA) have been in use for more than two decades, and at the present time, 150 to 200 million women are using the preparations. Apart from their gynecologic influence, the hormones have been shown to affect a number of metabolic and nutritional processes, some advantageously and others disadvantageously. Concern over the nutritional status of females consuming OCA prompted this review. Eight vitamins and three minerals were investigated. Contraceptive steroid ingestion was shown to depress the physiologic levels of six nutrients (riboflavin, pyridoxine, folacin, vitamin B12, ascorbic acid and zinc), elevate the levels of three others (vitamin K, iron and copper) and provide little or no change in one (alpha tocopherol) and questionable increases in another (vitamin A). It was concluded that females consuming OCA should pay particular attention to vitamin and mineral intake and, if warranted, consume physiologic supplements of needed nutrients.

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