Oral contraceptives may increase oxidative stress and increase cardiovascular risk in susceptible women. This study aimed to assess whether
supplementation with vitamins E and C reduced this oral contraceptives effect.
120 healthy female individuals were divided into three groups: A, control; B,
untreated oral contraceptives users; and C, treated oral contraceptives users
with vitamin E (200 IU) and C (150 mg) supplementation for 4 weeks. In all
cases, plasma glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and glutathione reductase (GR)
activities and malondialdehyde (MDA) level were determined. The results showed
significant increases in the plasma MDA level, and activities of GPx and GR in
plasma were decreased in Group B compared to the control group. Supplementation
with vitamin C and E significantly increased the activity of GPx and GR
activity, and reduced plasma MDA levels in Group C. The authors concludes
"These data suggest that low-dose oral contraceptives, by enhancing the
stress oxidative and lipid peroxidation, may represent a potential
cardiovascular risk factor, and the use of vitamins E and C may be beneficial
in ameliorating this side effect of oral contraceptives".
Note: while there are food sources of these important antioxidants, I suggest taking a daily multi-vitamin that provides at least 400 IU of vitamin E and 500 mg
Zal F, Mostafavi-Pour Z, Amini F,
Heidari A. Effect of vitamin E and C supplements on lipid peroxidation and
GSH-dependent antioxidant enzyme status in the blood of women consuming oral
contraceptives. Contraception. 2012 Jul;86(1):62-6.
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