Multivitamin supplementation in oral contraceptive users

Contraception. 1991 Sep;44(3):277-88. doi: 10.1016/0010-7824(91)90018-b.


The effects of oral contraceptives (OC) containing 30 micrograms of ethinyl oestradiol and of subsequent multivitamin and folic acid supplementation on vitamin A, total B2 [including its three individual constituents, i.e. riboflavine, RB; flavine-mono-nucleotide, FMN; and flavine-adenine-dinucleotide, FAD], B12, C and folate concentration in serum and red blood cells have been studied in a group of 59 non-pregnant female volunteers. The group taking OC comprised 28 women while 31 women were included in the group of non-OC users serving as the controls. The women were studied for four cycles. Blood samples were taken on days 3 and 23 of the first cycle to obtain baseline values of each analyte. Multivitamin and folic acid supplementation started on day 1 of the second cycle and this was continued daily throughout three consecutive cycles until the end of the study. Vitamin A levels were significantly higher and vitamin B12 levels were significantly lower in the group using OC. Comparison of the baseline values of vitamin total B2, FAD, C, serum and red blood cell folate as determined on days 3 and 23 of the first cycle of the two groups compared revealed no significant differences. Multivitamin and folic acid supplementation did not affect the concentrations of vitamin A and vitamin B12 with either group, whereas all other vitamins increased significantly in both groups. The consistency of each effect of multivitamin supplementation between the two groups was also tested. The degree of these effects was not statistically different between both groups. The results suggest that the vitamin status is indeed affected by OC treatment, but the effects of multivitamin supplementation are not different in OC and non-OC users. Supplementation during OC use or just after discontinuing treatment cannot be justified for healthy young women. However, in the case of women with a critical vitamin balance or higher folate needs, multivitamin supplementation may be considered.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ascorbic Acid / blood
  • Contraceptives, Oral / pharmacology*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism
  • Estrogens / pharmacology*
  • Ethinyl Estradiol / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Flavin Mononucleotide / pharmacology
  • Flavin-Adenine Dinucleotide
  • Folic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Riboflavin / blood
  • Vitamin A / blood
  • Vitamin B 12 / blood
  • Vitamins / metabolism
  • Vitamins / pharmacology*
  • Whites


  • Contraceptives, Oral
  • Estrogens
  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin A
  • Flavin-Adenine Dinucleotide
  • Ethinyl Estradiol
  • Flavin Mononucleotide
  • Folic Acid
  • Vitamin B 12
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Riboflavin