Nutrient Repletion After the Pill and for Pregnancy Prep

Apr 2, 2020 ,
Fertility Dietitians

Episode #4 – Nutrient Repletion

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Here we talk about how to support your hormone systems as they come back online after being altered by hormonal birth control methods. Both Caitlin and Sophia took hormonal birth control pills in their early teen years in an attempt to try and treat period cramps and acne. Neither of us were ever told any of the side effects or possible nutrient deficiencies that can occur when these medications are taken.

Neither of us judge our patients for how they choose to prevent pregnancy or plan their families. We also never judge anyone who takes hormonal birth control to manage symptoms from hormone-related illnesses. However, we both believe in informed consent. Meaning, before a medication or treatment is prescribed, a medical professional needs to communicate ALL the side effects and potential complications. We also believe that patients should be given more than one option for any course of treatment.

Coming off “the pill” often requires recovery. The pill suppresses your natural fertility, sometimes for decades. Most women who take the pill stay on it for 12-16 years of their reproductive life. It takes time, extra nutrients, and extra care to get your hormones to come back on line and get your body to adjust when you come off of such a powerful drug for so many years.

What can be done about this? In this episode we discuss the specific nutrients you need while taking hormonal contraceptives and especially when discontinuing their use to begin trying for a baby.

The “recommended daily intake” or RDI, is bologna when it comes to women who are taking hormones, pregnant, or trying to get pregnant. You need more of EVERYTHING that what the “RDIs” recommend.

As we mention all these foods, we want you to start incorporating these foods more and more into your daily diet. You will notice there is a lot of repetition here too! Lots of the foods listed are great foods to base your meals off of and incorporate as much as you can to boost your nutrient intake and help your body get back on line hormonally.


B vitamins:

B2 – Riboflavin
  – This is a key nutrient for keeping your energy up. Also makes your pee bright! The best foods to eat to get this vitamin are:
        – Beef Liver
        – Yogurt
        – Milk
        – Eggs
        – Feta Cheese
        – Salmon
        – Lamb
  – If you don’t want to eat a lot of animal products you can also eat
        – Lentils
        – Quinoa
        – Sundried Tomatoes
        – Mushrooms
        – Kidney Beans
        – Almonds

B6 – Pyridoxine
  – This helps your body make serotonin! Serotonin is a brain chemical that helps balance our mood and feel happy. It also converts to melatonin and helps us sleep. A deficiency in B6 can significantly impact your body’s serotonin production. Depression is a common symptom for women who use hormonal contraception so listen up to these food sources:
        – Poultry (Chicken, Turkey)
        – Tuna
        – Salmon
        – Shrimp
        – Beef liver
        – Lentils (and most other beans)
        – Seeds
        – Nuts
        – Avocado
        – Banana
        – Carrot
        – Brown rice
        – Bran

B9 – Folate
  – This is incredibly depleted in a woman who has been using hormonal birth control. Here are the best food sources of quality folate
        – Leafy green veggies
        – Black eyed peas
        – Peas
        – Lentils
        – Garbanzo beans
        – Broccoli
        – Beef liver

B12 – Cobolomin
  – This effects healthy nerves and the building of new cells. The ONLY places to find high levels of B12 are
        – Beef
        – Fish
        – Shellfish
        – Poultry
        – Milk
        – Eggs (especially the yolk)



The few that are of the greatest concern and get especially depleted are Magnesium, Selenium, and Zinc. Each has a very important job with the immune system, muscle function, and FERTILITY!

  – Dark leafy greens
  – Nuts
  – Seeds
  – Yogurt
  – Dark chocolate/cocoa powder
  – Beans
  – Peas
  – Selenium.  (Selenium is particularly important for immune and thyroid function)
        – Brazil nuts (<– fertility powerhouse!)
        – Fish
        – Pasture-raised beef and poultry
        – Liver
        – Butter
  – Zinc
        – Seeds
        – Beans
        – Pasture-raised beef and poultry
        – Shellfish (especially oysters!)


Vitamins! The 3 most noteworthy are Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and CoQ10.

Vitamin C – note that this vitamin is heat sensitive, so you’ll get the most of it when you eat these foods raw|
  – Dark leafy greens
  – Tomatoes
  – Strawberries
  – Bell Peppers
  – Broccoli
  – Parsley

CoQ10 – This one usually needs a supplement. Though you can find it in:
  – Organ meats (liver!)
  – Shellfish
  – Oysters
  – Trace amounts in spinach

Vitamin E
  – Fat soluble vitamin! This one can harm you if you over supplement it. You can’t get too much just from food.

Thanks for listening!

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