14 Foods, Herbs, And Supplements That Can Make Your Birth Control Less Effective


It's possible that you're not aware that certain foods, supplements, and other items you consume could potentially interfere with the effectiveness of your birth control. It may sound unbelievable, but it's quite simple to impede contraception, so ensure it isn't happening to you by avoiding these 14 items in your diet.

1. Licorice

Although licorice is a tasty snack, if you're taking birth control pills, it's advisable to limit your intake of it. Licorice has the potential to increase your blood pressure, which is not desirable because oral contraceptives already have this effect. Moreover, it can interfere with your reproductive hormones, potentially increasing the risk of pregnancy.

2. Grapefruit

Although grapefruit is a delicious and healthy fruit, it has the potential to impact the intestinal enzymes responsible for regulating the absorption of certain medications in your body. Additionally, grapefruit reduces the breakdown of estrogen, which increases the hormone's concentration. This effect may potentially amplify the side effects of your contraception.

3. St. John's wort

Brown University in Rhode Island states that this flowering plant is a herbal remedy used to treat depression, but it can diminish the effectiveness of your birth control. Therefore, it's important to ensure that any liquid extracts, pills, or herbal teas you consume do not contain this plant.

4. Vitamin C

Taking this vitamin to maintain good health won't impact the effectiveness of your birth control, which is positive news. However, according to research conducted by Elon University in North Carolina, taking 1,000 mg or more of this nutrient may amplify the estrogen-related side effects of your birth control, such as headaches, nausea, and bloating.

5. Red clover

In case you experience severe PMS symptoms, you may consider using red clover to alleviate it. However, refrain from doing so as it contains isoflavones that mimic estrogen. This could potentially heighten the estrogen-related side effects of your birth control.

6. activated charcoal

Using activated charcoal as a food additive can give your snacks a cool dark color, but excessive consumption can hinder the absorption of your birth control pills. Activated charcoal functions like a sponge that absorbs everything in your gastrointestinal tract, including your contraception. To prevent this, it's advisable to wait at least two hours after taking your birth control pill before consuming charcoal products, and to avoid consuming too much.

7. Detox tea

If you take laxatives, it can induce a purging effect, which can result in the removal of your birth control pills from your body instead of working as intended. Recently, Bootea's detox tea came under scrutiny by women who claimed that their products were rendering their contraceptive pills ineffective. In addition to detox tea, avoid diet tablets as they also function as laxatives.

8. Flaxseeds

University Health News warns that flaxseeds, which have gained popularity recently as a healthy food, should be avoided if you're taking the contraceptive pill. Flaxseeds contain phytoestrogens, which are plant chemicals that mimic estrogen when ingested. These chemicals can interfere with the contraceptive pill's estrogen, which inhibits the body's natural cyclical hormones that cause pregnancy.

9. Garlic pills

Garlic pills are taken by some people for various reasons, but they can reduce the effectiveness of birth control. Garlic increases the disintegration of estrogen in birth control pills, which is eliminated from the body. As a consequence, your birth control might not work properly.

10. Tea

Although known for its health benefits, caffeinated tea can create issues if you're on the pill. Caffeine intake prolongs the presence of birth control pills in your system, which can lead to unpleasant side-effects such as anxiety, increased heart rate, and headaches. While caffeine itself might not impede your pill's effects, it can definitely make taking it an uncomfortable experience.

11. Alcohol

Drinking alcohol while out won't directly impact birth control. However, it can interfere with it in other ways. For example, excessive drinking can cause you to forget to take your pill or induce vomiting. If you vomit within two hours of taking your birth control pills, it can affect your body's ability to absorb them properly.

12. Melatonin

Melatonin is a natural hormone that aids in sleep. Synthetic forms of melatonin can also be used to achieve the same effect, but they can interfere with oral contraceptives. Birth control pills increase the amount of melatonin produced by the body. Therefore, taking synthetic melatonin with birth control pills can result in an excess of the supplement and a decrease in the effectiveness of birth control.

13. Alfalfa

Alfalfa is a herb that is used for medical purposes such as treating high cholesterol, but it poses a moderate risk when taken with birth control pills. While it does contain estrogen, it is not as potent as the hormone found in birth control pills. However, taking them together can reduce the effectiveness of the pill, so it is recommended to use a condom if you're taking alfalfa alongside contraception.

14. Chamomile

Before sipping on chamomile tea to relax, consider that it might interfere with your birth control. Roman Chamomile and German Chamomile can both cause problems if you're on the pill. Roman Chamomile is broken down by the liver and could interact with drugs like birth control pills. German Chamomile can decrease how fast the liver breaks down medications, which can increase the side effects of birth control.