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Summary: Effects of Hormonal Contraception on Serum Levels of CoEnzyme Q10, Vitamin E, and Total Antioxidant Activity

Hormonal contraceptive users have significantly lower levels of important vitamins such as Vitamin E, and Coenzyme Q10 compared to women who do not use hormonal contraception.

  • Hormonal contraception has been shown to increase the levels of estrogen in the bloodstream and the long-term effects of estrogen therapy on the human body have been under investigation.  The levels of vitamins and antioxidants in our body are one of the fields that have been studied with respect to hormonal contraception.  Antioxidants, for example, are important supplements obtained in our diet because they prevent the onset of oxidative stress and disease.  If there arenít enough antioxidants present in the body, the levels of free radicals increase and oxidative stress ensues, which can then lead to many chronic diseases (i.e. heart disease, cancer, cataracts).  Vitamin E and Coenzyme Q10 are both regarded as potent antioxidants and have been suggested to protect against cardiovascular disease.  This study, conducted by researchers in the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, determined the effect of hormonal contraception (estrogen hormone delivery) on the levels of Vitamin E and Coenzyme Q10 in premenopausal women.  The researchers in the study examined 70 women who used hormonal contraception (oral contraception, the transdermal contraceptive patch, and the vaginal ring) and found that these women had lower levels of Vitamin E and Coenzyme Q10 compared to women who were not using any contraceptive method. Moreover, researchers found that, within this group, women using the transdermal patch exhibited the highest levels of estrogen in the blood and thus showed the lowest levels of Coenzyme Q10.  These lower levels of antioxidants could lead to chronic disease in women who use hormonal contraception.1

1Effects of Oral, Vaginal, and Transdermal Hormonal Contraception on Serum Levels of Coenzyme Q10, Vitamin E, and Total Antioxidant Activity, Obstetrics and Gynecology International, June 2010, Vol. 2010, 1-4.

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