Birth control

  • Do Oral Contraceptives Contribute to Hair Loss In Women?

    Do Oral Contraceptives Contribute to Hair Loss In Women? Ross Pelton RPh, PhD, CCN

    Women account for approximately 40 percent of all hair loss sufferers in the United States. There is an important link between a woman's hair and her identity. For many women, hair loss changes their self-image and is a difficult adjustment both mentally and emotionally.

    When I originally wrote The Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion Handbook (Lexi-Comp, 1999) I was astounded to learn that oral contraceptives deplete more nutrients than any other commonly prescribed class of drugs. This prompted me to write The Pill Problem (2013) which instructs women on how to prevent the side effects from oral contraceptives.

    According to the American Hair Loss Association (yes, there really is such an organization), women who have a family history of hair loss are at a much greater risk of experiencing hair loss from taking oral contraceptives. In this article, I am going to address the nutrient depletions caused by oral contraceptive that could cause or contribute to women's hair loss.

    According to the American Academy of Dermatology, both oral contraceptives and low thyroid function (hypothyroidism) are common causes of hair loss in women.1 Many health professionals do not realize that there is a connection between these two causes.

    The amino acid tyrosine is one of the nutrient depletions caused by oral contraceptives.2 Tyrosine is an amino acid that is required for production of the thyroid hormones. Hence oral contraceptive induced tyrosine depletion can lead to under production of thyroid hormones. This can lead to hypothyroidism, which has hair loss as one of its symptoms.

    Selenium is also depleted by oral contraceptives.3 Selenium is a trace mineral that is required for enzymes that convert thyroxine (T4) to triiodothyronine (T3).4 This means that selenium plays an important role in controlling thyroid metabolism. Thus, selenium deficiency can result in hypothyroidism, which has hair loss as one of its many symptoms.

    Zinc is another nutrient that is depleted by oral contraceptives. Zinc deficiency can contribute to female hair loss in two ways. First, zinc is required for the production of collagen and keratin which are proteins that play critical roles in the structure of hair follicles and in hair growth. Zinc is also involved in the synthesis and mode of action of thyroid hormones.5

    Every day hair is exposed to a wide variety of harmful agents that are damaging to human hair. Things like ultraviolet radiation from the sun and environmental toxins and pollutants can all generate free radicals that damage hair and can cause or contribute to hair loss. On the other hand, the role of antioxidant nutrients is to neutralize free radicals, thereby preventing or reducing damage to all parts of the body, including hair.6

    Oral contraceptives have been documented to deplete the following antioxidant nutrients: vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, zinc and coenzyme Q10. A deficiency of any one of these antioxidant nutrients will result in an increased production of free radicals, which can damage DNA and destroy cells, including hair follicles.

    Beyond hair loss, nutrient depletions caused by oral contraceptives can cause many additional health problems such as blood clots, birth defects, weakened immune system, heart attacks, depression, sleep problems, and various sexual side effects, to name a few. My book The Pill Problem discusses all of the side effects from oral contraceptives and offers women information on how to prevent and/or correct these problems. The Pill Problem is available in paperback or as an e-book at naturalpharmacist.net or on Amazon.com.

    A Safe Alternative to Hormone-Based Birth Control

    Smart Women's Choice Birth Control

    In closing, I want to announce a relatively new form of contraception for women that is a vaginal cream which is all natural, safe and 100 percent effective. The product, which is named Smart Women's Choice (SWC), was developed by Francoise Farron, PhD. Dr. Farron, a Harvard biochemist (now retired), originally presented SWC to me in 2015. After examining the evidence at that time, I realized that Smart Women's Choice was a good contraception option for women and I wrote an article about it which I posted on my blog in October, 2015. At that time, the product did not gain much acceptance with health professionals due to a lack of scientific studies to document its safety and effectiveness.

    In July 2017, Dr. Farron contacted me with exciting new information regarding Smart Women's Choice. An independent lab has conducted a test and verified that Smart Women's Choice is indeed 100 percent effective at immobilizing sperm. SWC works by causing sperm to agglutinate, which means to clump or stick together.

    Also, Dr. Farron reported that to date, over 1,300 women have been using Smart Women's Choice without a single incidence of failure. This is impressive since all forms of contraception ranging from condoms to oral contraceptives and everything in between have a failure rate. Smart Women's Choice is a natural, hormone-free form of contraception for women that is safe and 100 percent effective. You can view the video of an independent lab test which demonstrates the efficacy of SWC as it immobilizes sperm on www.smartwomenschoice.com.

    References:

    1. American Academy of Dermatology WEB site: https://www.aad.org/media/stats/conditions/hair-loss.
    2. Effect of oral contraceptives on tryptophan and tyrosine availability: evidence for a possible contribution to mental depression. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7266825.
    3. Fallah S. et al. Effect of contraceptive pill on the selenium and zinc status of healthy subjects. Contraception 2009 July;80(1):40–3.
    4. Negro R. Selenium and thyroid autoimmunity. Biologics. 2008 june;2(2):265–73.
    5. Arthur JR., Beckett GJ. Thyroid function. British Medical Bulletin 1999; 55 (No. 3): 658– 68.
    6. Trueb RM. Oxidative Stress in Aging of Hair. Int J Trichology. 2009 Jan-Jun;1(1):6 –14.
  • July 2017

    Total Health Magazine July 2017

    Dear Readers,

    Welcome to the July 2017 issue of TotalHealth Online.

    We begin with "The Pill Problem," by Ross Pelton, RPh, PhD, CCN. "Several years ago when I wrote a book titled The Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion Handbook, I was amazed to find that oral contraceptives deplete a wide range of nutrients from a woman's body. In fact, oral contraceptives deplete more nutrients than any other class of commonly prescribed drugs." Pelton discusses health problems that can develop from using oral contraceptives and suggests an new, natural, non-hormonal alternative with no spermicides. Pelton is the scientific director at Essential Formulas and a long time advertiser with TotalHealth magazine.

    Sherrill Sellman, ND, in "Finally—A Safe, Natural, Non-Hormonal Contraceptive With No Side Effects." Sellman introduces readers to Dr. Françoise Farron, a fiercely determined woman and biochemist, who is passionate about her mission to save the lives of women worldwide. After years of research, she has succeeded in bringing her vision of a truly safe and effective, non-hormonal contraceptive solution, called Smart Women's Choice, to market.

    Dallas Clouatre's, PhD, article, "Bone Broths are Good For What Ails You," provides us history on broths and observations, not from the scientific literature on the benefits of making your own bone broths. Clouatre includes a listing of the a few of the nutrients found in bone broths. And how it reacts with the bodies healing in response to illness.

    In "Organic Apple Cider The Versatile Superfood Staple" Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS gives us the health benefits of apple cider vinegar from her new book, The NEW Fat Flush Plan.

    Don't be insulted reading "Fibromyalgia—Orthostatic Intolerance (NMH & POTS) Made Easy by Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, when he refers to us as "bags of water." He explains how the body's autonomic nervous system directs the blood vessels in our legs to contract and send the blood back up to our brain and muscles where it's needed. Orthostatic intolerance is a major and treatable part of what causes disability in CFS and fibromyalgia. And research has shown that many people diagnosed with NMH and POTS actually have CFS or fibromyalgia. Read on, Dr. Teitelbaum is our contributing expert on CFS and fibromyalgia.

    Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH(AHG), describes symptoms and conventional treatments and also dietary supplements: primary and secondary recommendations in "Angina Pectoris" (chest pain or discomfort due to coronary heart disease). Important information for all of us.

    Gloria Gilbère, CDP, DAHom, PhD, presents "Crunchy Nutrition Chips," a healthy alternative to the usual chips available. You replace the potatoes with healthy veggies like, carrots or beets and lets you control the amount of salt on your chips.

    Elson Haas, MD, "Seasonal Health and Summertime Fun." Haas takes us on a journey through the seasons and specifically the summer season and its influence on us, eating, sleeping and exercise habits. Individually we are in charge of those habits. He gives us insight on keeping ourselves healthy through the summer season.

    Shawn Messonnier, DVM includes our look at pet health with his article on "Distemper in Pets."

    Best in health,

    TWIP The Wellness Imperative People

    Click here to read the full July issue.

    Click here to read the full July issue.

  • Medicine Messes Up Your Methylation

    You're methylating right now! This means you're turning folate (vitamin B9) from your food, into something else called SAMe. It's the process called "methylation" and SAMe is your body's head honcho, the CEO if you will!

    SAMe stands for S-adenosylmethionine and drives hundreds of chemical reactions in your body. If you ate a salad for lunch, you're turning that folate into SAMe as we speak. Well, let's hope because SAMe helps you get rid of poisons. The biggest mistake you could make is thinking that methylation problems don't apply to you because you don't have the gene mutation, what we call the genetic snp (pronounced "snip"). Nothing could be further from the truth. As a pharmacist, and a Functional Medicine practitioner, I assure you that your medicine has the capacity to mess up your methylation! Then poisons back up.

    Don't think you make poisons in your body because you eat well and exercise? Wrong. Your cells churn poisons out as metabolic waste products probably a million times a minute! You better hope and pray your methylation pathway is up to snuff because if you don't methylate, toxic by-products build up all over your body. This equates to pain, depression, inflammation, elevated homocysteine, cognitive dysfunction, depression, higher risk for neural tube defects and much more discomfort. If you have the genetic snp it's a one-two punch for health problems galore.

    So in summary, medications hinder your methylation pathway, whether or not you have a snp. These are the primary offenders:

    Cholestyramine. This is a bile acid sequestrate used for reducing cholesterol as well as reducing Herxheimer (die-off) reactions. It is a drug mugger of folate and fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D, A, E and K. Remember, no folate, no methylation!

    Birth control or hormonal replacement drugs with estrogen. these drugs are known drug muggers of magnesium, B6 and B2 (riboflavin); that puts the breaks on methylation. Started 'The Pill' recently, and now you feel down in the dumps? This could be why.

    Proton Pump Inhibitors (Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, others). Lowering natural acid production in the stomach reduces levels of magnesium, and critical B vitamins. Snp or not, your body simply cannot conduct methylation adequate levels of these nutrients!

    Antibiotics like amoxicillin, sulfamethoxazole, doxycycline and dozens more. Antibiotics kill your intestinal microflora (what you call your probiotics). Without the friendly gut flora, you cannot produce vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin). You also cannot activate riboflavin or folate so therefore, your methylation is blocked.

    Ibuprofen. This is a drug mugger of folate, so it blocks methylation directly by stealing your folate.

    Blood pressure pills like ACE inhibitors. These drugs (enalapril, lisinopril, etc) cause added zinc excretion. You need zinc to conduct methylation.

    Nitrous oxide. Been to the dentist lately? If you got NO gas, then no methylation took place for awhile!

    There are hundreds of other medicines that hinder your ability to methylate, snp or not! You may not have your genetic details or tests yet, so here are clues to poor methylation: Nerve pain, numbness or tingling, chronic fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, depression, mood swings, attention problems, cervical dysplasia, miscarriage, brain fog, weakness and lots of allergies.

  • Smart Women's Choice | TotalHealth Award Winner

    Smart Women's Choice Safe Contraceptive Cream Award Winner

    TotalHealth Magazine has created this featured segment in order to bring recognition to products, services, people, and organizations who deserve, in our opinion, special recognition for improving quality of life. The first product recognized is Smart Women's Choice. It is the first safe, hormone-free, contraceptive gel. It is a hyper-allergenic formula designed to completely immobilize sperm not allowing them to travel up the fallopian tube. This is a tremendous benefit to women who suffer side-effects of hormone-based contraceptives of which there are many including death.

    You can see test results on Dr. Farron's website from one of the world's leading male fertility clinics in La Jolla, CA showing a 100% effectiveness at various dilution rates, and a video of a test result performed by an independent Israeli lab under the microscope showing the effectiveness of SWC. The Israeli lab test was performed at the request of a women's health center in Israel that provides SWC to its clients.

    For more information or to order Smart Women's Choice contraceptive cream please visit:

    http://smartwomenschoice.com

    To read Dr. Sherrill Sellman's article on the dangers of birth control and this safe alternative please read:

    FINALLY—A Safe, Natural, Non-Hormonal Contraceptive With No Side Effects

    Ross Pelton, R.Ph., aka The Natural Pharmacist and author of The Pill Problem, wrote this piece titled: The Pill Problem in TotalHealth.

    He followed that article up with "Do Oral Contraceptives Contribute to Hair Loss In Women?"

    We also highly recommend women read Dr. Sellman's article Protect, Heal, and Restore Vaginal Health especially if you are planning on getting pregnant.

  • The Pill Problem

    The Pill Problem Ross Pelton

    After the "pill" was approved in 1960, it quickly became one of the most important social and cultural revolutions in the history of the world. Since that time it is estimated that over 80 percent of women born in the U.S. after 1945 have used oral contraceptives at some time in their lives. Currently an estimated 12-million women in the United States, and over 100-million women worldwide are using oral contraceptives.

    Several years ago when I wrote a book titled The Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion Handbook, I was amazed to find that oral contraceptives deplete a wide range of nutrients from a woman's body. In fact, oral contraceptives deplete more nutrients than any other class of commonly prescribed drugs.

    The health problems that can develop from these nutrient depletions include depression; sleep disorders; anemia; low energy; migraine headaches; heart attacks; strokes; blood clots; diabetes; a weakened immune system; birth defects; cancers of the uterus, colon and breast; and accelerated aging. Actually, studies report that about 50 percent of women who begin using oral contraceptives will discontinue use within the first six to 12 months due to side effects.

    The Dangers of Nutrient Depletions Caused by Oral Contraceptives

    Generally, side effects from a drug occur relatively quickly. For example, a skin rash or nausea and vomiting generally occur within the first day or two. In such cases, you notify your doctor and stop taking the drug. However, the health problems from drug-induced nutrient depletions are more gradual in their onset and much more difficult to recognize.

    Consider the following scenario. A woman has been taking oral contraceptives for the past eight years, seemingly without any problems. However, during the past six months, she has been increasingly complaining to her husband/partner, saying things like, "Honey, I'm so tired I feel like I don't have enough energy to even get out of bed in the morning," or "Honey, by mid-day I'm so exhausted, I'm dragging and can hardly get through the rest of the day."

    Oral contraceptives deplete vitamin B12, folic acid, magnesium and coenzyme Q10. Each of these nutrients plays a critical role in energy production and a deficiency of any one of them will cause tiredness, lethargy and overall low energy. However, the woman is not likely to realize that her oral contraceptives are causing nutrient depletions that are resulting in her low energy and exhaustion.

    It is also important to realize that many women are taking other drugs that can deplete the same nutrients that are being depleted by her oral contraceptives. For example, NSAIDs, acid-blocking drugs and anticonvulsant medications all deplete folic acid. So, a woman may be taking a PPI medication for her reflux, ibuprofen for headaches and if she has a seizure disorder, she will also be taking an anticonvulsant medication. This can create a serious risk of giving birth to an infant with a birth defect as well as other folic acid deficiency health problems.

    Oral contraceptive nutrient depletions also increase risks for future cardiovascular problems. For example, women taking oral contraceptives have lower levels of vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid. This can cause elevated blood levels of homocysteine, which accelerates plaque buildup in the arteries. Years later, this can cause a heart attack, stroke or necessitate cardiac bypass surgery.

    Oral contraceptive-induced depletion of vitamin B6 and the amino acid tyrosine greatly increase a woman's risk of depression. These nutrients are required for the production of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, which control moods and emotions. A review of nine clinical trials reported the incidence of depression in women taking oral contraceptives ranged from 16 to 56 percent. In addition to depression, low levels of serotonin also increase the likelihood of developing sleep problems because serotonin is the precursor for melatonin, which is the chemical in the brain that triggers sleep.

    Several of the nutrients depleted by oral contraceptives are important antioxidants, which include vitamin C, selenium, zinc and co-enzyme Q10. When these antioxidants are depleted, a woman's immune system is significantly compromised.

    Oral contraceptives also increase a woman's risk of giving birth to an infant with birth defects. Folic acid deficiency is known to be the number one cause of neural tube birth defects and women taking OCs have lower levels of folic acid compared to non-users.

    Sexual side effects are one of the most common reasons that women discontinue taking oral contraceptives. To put it bluntly, the "pill" lowers sex drive. This is because women taking OCs have lower levels of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and testosterone. These two hormones regulate sex drive in both men and women.

    Common sexual side effects associated with oral contraceptives include decreased desire for sex, greater difficulty becoming aroused, vaginal dryness resulting in painful sex, and difficulty or inability to achieve orgasms.

    Nutritional Supplement Recommendations For Hormone Based Birth Control

    If you still insist on hormone based birth control recommended by your doctor keep this in mind; most health problems caused by oral contraceptives can be prevented or corrected by taking adequate nutritional supplementation. However, this is not accomplished by taking a one-a-day supplement.

    In most cases, nutrient intakes substantially greater than the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDAs) are required to compensate for the nutrient depletions caused by oral contraceptives. Here are a couple of examples. The RDAs for vitamins B1, B2 and B6 are about 1.5 mg to 2 mg daily. I suggest that women take from 10 mg to 25 mg twice daily. The RDA for vitamin C for adult women is 75 mg daily. I recommend at least 500 mg twice daily. Numerous companies offer higher potency nutritional supplements that provide the nutrient intake levels that I am suggesting.

    Nutrients like tyrosine and co-enzyme Q10 are not included in most multivitamin/mineral formulations so they have to be purchased individually. I suggest that women take 500 mg of tyrosine twice daily and 50 mg to 100 mg of co-enzyme Q10 daily.

    The Pill Problem is a health manual that devotes 15 short information-packed chapters to the side effects of oral contraceptives. Each chapter discusses the nutrient depletions that can result in a particular health problem. The Pill Problem also contains dosage recommendations for each of the nutrients that are depleted by oral contraceptives.

    The Pill Problem is available in eBook and paperback from all major online booksellers or from www.thepillproblem.com.

    Hormone Free Alternative To Birth Control Pills And Devices



    Two years ago I was introduced to a product called Smart Women's Choice (SWC), which is a safe, hormone-free form of contraception for women. Smart Women's Choice is a vaginal gel that is made with all-natural ingredients. It works by causing the entire ejaculate to coagulate. This prevents the sperm from traveling up the Fallopian tubes, which inhibits fertilization from taking place.

    Smart Women's Choice Natural Contraceptive and Birth Control

    Smart Women's Choice was invented by Dr. Francoise Farron who is a biochemist by profession. Françoise started her studies at the University of California at Berkeley, got her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from New York University Medical School, and went on to work at Harvard Medical School studying control mechanisms of cell growth in cancer.

    In one scientific study on her Smart Women's Choice formula, SWC caused a 100 percent clumping or immobilization of sperm at all concentrations tested. SWC has been on the market now for over three years and there has not been a single reported pregnancy.

    All hormone-containing methods of contraception for women produce significant side effects. Thus, I was quite happy to learn about Smart Women's Choice and in October 2105, I wrote a supportive article about SWC that I posted on my Natural Pharmacist blog.

    SWC comes in a compact 1 oz. tube that you can conveniently carry. It is recommended to store it in your refrigerator to make it easier to apply. It does not have an expiration date.

    Instructions: Squeeze approximately one inch of the product onto your middle finger and insert into the vagina immediately before each sexual intercourse: afterwards, rinse thoroughly with tap water.

    Each tube has approximately 50 applications.

    You can purchase Smart Women's Choice directly from their website: http://smartwomenschoice.com.