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  • Writer's pictureKimberly King, MS, CNS-c

Drug Induced Nutrient Depletions: Oral Contraceptives

Package of oral contraceptives

Drug-induced nutrient depletions (DIND) refer to the nutrients that are depleted from the body as a result of using prescription and over-the-counter medications.  

Data reported by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for 2021, indicated that in the United States [1]:

  • About 60% of adults have reported taking at least one prescription medication.

  • About 36% of adults reported taking three or more prescriptions.  

Of those, 8.2% reported making changes or stopping medications due to the rising costs [1].

A report in the Pharmacy Times suggests that nearly 90% of people take over-the-counter (OTC) medications.  The most common OTC medication including paracetamol, commonly used for fever, and ibuprofen, commonly used for aches and pains, including headaches and joint pain [2].

According to the CDC, between 2017 and 2019 14% of women between the ages of 15-49 were using the birth control pill as their preferred form of contraception [3]. While hormonal contraception works at preventing pregnancy, there are side effects that women must be aware of. Namely, the nutrients that hormonal contraceptives can deplete from the body.

Of importance, many of the nutrients that are depleted by oral contraceptives contribute to symptoms that women are often trying to control by choosing this medication. For example, a depletion in magnesium can contribute to menstrual cramps, while depleting B vitamins is associated with changes in mood, such as anxiety and depression.

The main nutrients that are depleted with oral contraceptive use include folic acid, magnesium, riboflavin, vitamin C, zinc, selenium, tyrosine, niacin, B6, and B12 [4].

If you take oral contraceptives, talk to your healthcare provider or nutritionist about whether supplementation may be needed.

You can also eat more of the foods that contain these nutrients to ensure you are restoring your nutritional balance. Below, you will find information on the amount of each nutrient you need per day as a supplement, as well as the best sources of food for each.

Table of supplements and food sources for select nutrients

Our recommendations

  • Consider Metagenics Wellness Essentials as a comprehensive approach to address these and other potential nutrient depletions.

  • If you are using oral contraceptives to only manage symptoms or your menstrual cycle (not necessarily for preventing pregnancy), let us help you balance your hormones naturally to manage/eliminate those bothersome symptoms.

  • Reach out to the Ross Nutrition Team for a personalized nutrition and supplement plan.

*Caution should be exercised with supplemental forms of tyrosine in those with thyroid dysfunction.

This blog has been adapted and modified by Kimberly King from original content created by Leanne Skehan. Last Reviewed and Updated: May 8, 2024.



1. Myktya L, Cohen RA. Products - data briefs - number 470 - June 2023. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. June 2, 2023. Accessed May 8, 2024.

2. Kamal M, Negm WA, Abdelkader AM, Alshehri AA, El-Saber Batiha G, Osama H. Most common over-the-counter medications and effects on patients. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2023;27(4):1654-1666. doi:10.26355/eurrev_202302_31409

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Contraceptive Use. December 15, 2023.Accessed April 26, 2024.

4. Palmery M, Saraceno A, Vaiarelli A, Carlomagno G. Oral contraceptives and changes in nutritional requirements. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2013;17(13):1804-1813.

5. Food, Herb, & Supplements Database. NATMed Pro. Accessed April 26, 2024.,-herbs-supplements/professional.

6. Solan M. The best foods for vitamins and Minerals. Harvard Health. August 17, 2020. Accessed April 26, 2024.

Image Credit: GabiSanda/


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