Updated: Nov 6, 2019
The main downfall of hormonal contraceptives is that they switch off our own hormones.
Why is this a problem? Because our hormones hugely influence everything from our mood to sleep, body temperature, energy and even sex drive! Progesterone is our hormone that kicks in after we ovulate ( this is usually around day 14 but can vary) and one of the most amazing things about progesterone is that it CALMS the nervous system (by converting to allopregnanolone which is like the neurotransmitter GABA which promotes sleep and relaxation - isn't our body amazing!). On the flip side; when we are low in progesterone, our mood is all over the place and we are very emotional, which I’m sure we have all experienced coming up to our period. This is PMT i.e. pre menstrual tension and this can be helped hugely through lifestyle, BUT only if your body is actually making its hormones itself. Hormonal acne, headaches, bloating, constipation, insomnia, sore boobs and change in appetite and body temperature are other (not-so-lovely) symptoms of PMT.
For those of you on birth control like the 'mini pill', mirena coil or implanon, these all contain 'progestin' - this is a drug and has nothing like the affects of progesterone even though names are similar. I see a lot of women who just ‘don’t feel themselves’ or are very anxious on birth control and for a lot of people, it’s their body missing progesterone. So next time your doctor tells you that the pill does not affect anxiety, hit them with the science!
Going off the pill is not an option for a lot of people, so what can you do about it?
Here are the best foods and supplements that I would recommend to help combat it! Of course, with anxiety and low mood there are often other factors at play too. But by adding in these foods you will be supporting your body as best as you can and hopefully getting a boost of the happy hormones in the process...
This helps the body cope with stress. It also helps to produce an amazing little guy called GABA which helps with relaxation and sleep 😍 Nuts, seeds, dark leafy vegetables, bananas, legumes (chickpeas, black beans etc) are some great sources of mag.
However, food sources are often not enough for people so you can also supplement with it too - but ask a professional for advice before you buy it! I find magnesium with calcium 'mag cal;, one of the best things for stress, anxiety and to improve sleep. I also use it for clients with PMT. To buy magnesium, click here
We have nine B vitamins and their main job is to support the nervous system (think stress, low moods and energy, PMS and anxiety). Whole grains (brown rice, oats, quinoa, brown bread etc), red meat, legumes + again with our dark leafy veg are all great sources of B vits! A B complex is also a supplement that you can take too.I love the Biocare B complex as it also contains magnesium . This is one of the supplements in our hormone support pack. To buy B vitamins, click here
Both of these help to support the nervous system and help the body to feel calm. Herbal teas are cheap as chips and a honestly I find them great for this! To buy herbal tea, click here I think the most important thing is to understand how your body works and that if you are someone that who is on the pill and feeling anxious or down, it may just be a side affect of the drug and it's completely normal!
(Little Disclaimer: My intention is not to make you go off the pill or fear-monger about being on it! I don’t see ANY issue at all with being on the pill for contraceptive reasons.
My issue is when 1.) the pill is used to mask hormonal issues i.e. stop heavy periods or pain 2.) used to 'regulate' your cycle and make you think you are getting a real period. Remember that the pill stops ovulation which means the bleed that you get on the pill is due to a withdrawal in the drug and not a real period which comes after ovulation.
My goal is to educate you on how your body works and the side affects that birth control can have, (because for some reason these aren’t things we are told about.), so you can make your own informed decisions.)