Just about everyone using the pill knows there are health risks involved, especially for women who smoke. Risks include migraine, blood clots, heart attack, and even stroke. Now some research has uncovered why this may occur.
A recent report showed that women on the pill have much lower levels of two vital antioxidants, Vitamin E (alpha tocopherol) and Coenzyme Q-10. Antioxidants literally mop up excessive free radicals, those altered oxygen molecules that contribute to a variety of degenerative diseases, like heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and cataracts.
One lungful of cigarette smoke contains more free radicals than a lifetime spent in the most polluted areas of the planet, and free radicals damage the lining of your blood vessels.
Years ago, doctors knew that birth control pills could “thicken” blood, promoting clots. Your blood, if thickened by birth control pills, can form clots along these damaged arteries and veins. Tiny blood clots in the brain cause strokes. Larger ones around the heart cause heart attacks. The largest clots can block the veins in your legs, or break off and travel into your lungs.
So, if you’re on the pill, you’ve got two risks: thickened blood AND falling levels of Vitamin E/Co Q 10 antioxidant protection. If you throw lungful after lungful of concentrated free radicals into the mix, you’re simply asking for major trouble.
Obviously, stop smoking.
And, if you’re on the pill, include 400 IU of Vitamin E and 50 mg of Co Q 10 in your daily supplement regimen. As a side note, I believe this data likely also applies to any woman taking hormone replacement therapy for menopause symptoms, and would encourage those on HRT to follow the same recommendation.