Since the introduction of oral contraceptives in the early 1960′s, use of The Pill, as it is generally known, has soared to approximately 7 in 10 women of childbearing age. Among young women ages 18-24, use of oral contraceptives is especially high, reaching two-thirds in 2008.
The widespread use of oral contraceptives is a troubling issue because these types of drugs devastate beneficial bacterial flora in the gut leaving it vulnerable to colonization and dominance from pathogenic strains such as Candida Albicans, Streptococci and Staphylococci among others. By the time a woman who has used oral contraceptives is ready to have children, a severe case of gut dysbiosis has more than likely taken hold.
Most people think that only use of drugs such as antibiotics cause gut imbalances, but this is simply not true.
According, to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, use of other drugs such as the Pill also cause severe gut dybiosis. What’s worse, drug induced gut imbalance is especially intractable and resistant to treatment either with probiotics or diet change.
What does this mean for your future child’s health? A lot, as it turns out!
Gut Imbalance Reduces Absorption of Nutrients
First of all, gut imbalance brought on through use of The Pill negatively impacts the ability to digest food and absorb nutrients. As a result, even if a women eats spectacularly well during pregnancy, if she has been taking oral contraceptives for a period of time beforehand, it is highly likely that she and her baby are not reaping the full benefits of all this healthy food as the lack of beneficial flora in her gut preclude this from occurring.
In addition, beneficial flora actively synthesize nutrients including vitamin K, pantothenic acid, folic acid, thiamin (B1), cyanocobalamin (B12), amino acids and others. In an imbalanced gut, a woman is missing out on the “natural supplementation” that these good flora provide to her and her growing baby.
Not well known is the fact that use of The Pill depletes zinc in the body. Zinc is called “the intelligence mineral” as it is intimately involved in mental development. As a result, it is very important for women who have been using oral contraceptives to wait at least 6 months before becoming pregnant to ensure that zinc levels return to normal as low zinc is associated with lowered IQ and birth defects.
It really is quite disturbing to fully realize the very real potential that use of oral contraceptives have to result in nutritional deficiencies!
Pathogenic Gut Flora Produce a Myriad of Toxins
Pathogenic, opportunistic flora that take hold in the gut when The Pill is used constantly produce toxic substances which are the by-products of their metabolism. These toxins leak into the woman’s bloodstream and guess what, they have the potential to cross the placenta! Therefore, gut dysbiosis exposes the fetus to toxins even if the woman never eats anything but organic foods and lives in an environment with no pollutants whatsoever.
Indeed, an imbalanced gut has the potential to expose a woman and her baby to just as many or even more toxins than her environment through self poisoning!
Gut Dysbiosis and Anemia Go Hand in Hand
Most people with abnormal gut flora also suffer from various stages of anemia. This is because some of the most common pathogenic strains of bacteria that take hold in an imbalanced gut are those that consume iron: Actinomyces spp., Mycobacterium spp., pathogenic strains of E.Coli, Corynebacterium spp. and others.
Anemia during pregnancy is especially dangerous. Not only can it deprive the fetus of oxygen (iron helps build red blood cells and red blood cells carry oxygen), but it is linked to low birth weight and pre-term birth and the many long term health and associated developmental problems.
Can taking iron supplements during pregnancy combat this problem?
In a word, no! How many women do you know who consistently battle low iron levels during pregnancy despite consuming iron supplements and eating iron rich foods? I personally know many such cases.
The reason is that the more iron a patient with gut dysbiosis consumes in either food or supplement form, the stronger these pathogenic, iron loving strains become! The extra iron “feeds” them, so to speak, much the same as sugar feeds Candida Albicans. The cure for gut dysbiotic anemia is to heal and seal the gut, not take iron supplements!
A Baby “Inherits” Gut Dysbiosis from Mom
A human baby is born with a sterile gut. This means that there is no bacterial activity in a fetus’ digestive system prior to birth. The vast majority of gut flora that a child eventually develops is inherited from Mom, so if Mom has gut imbalance, so will her children and probably more severely so.
Children with imbalanced gut flora are particularly predisposed to autoimmune disorders in the form of allergies, asthma, and eczema. In more severe cases of gut dysbiosis, learning disabilities manifest such as ADHD, ADD, autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia and others. Of course, there is sometimes an environmental “trigger” which instigates these disorders, but it is crucial to keep in mind that gut dysbiosis is the primary underlying cause.
Think Twice Before Taking Oral Contraceptives
When considering whether or not to take oral contraceptives, women rarely if ever consider the long term implications to themselves let alone their children. This is no surprise given that doctors rarely if ever mention this sort of thing when prescribing antibiotics let alone oral contraceptives to their patients!
Therefore, it is vital that women take responsibility for their bodies and fully inform themselves of the potentially devastating consequences to their health and that of their children – and likely even their grandchildren – before blindly submitting themselves to the gut damaging effects of oral contraceptives.
March of Dimes, pregnancy complications
Gut and Psychology Syndrome, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD