Effect of contraceptive pill on the selenium and zinc status of healthy subjects

Contraception. 2009 Jul;80(1):40-3. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2009.01.010. Epub 2009 Apr 5.


Background: The study was conducted to ascertain the influence of oral contraceptive pill (OCP) uptake on serum zinc and selenium in contraceptive pill users.

Study design: The concentration of zinc and selenium was determined by atomic absorption spectrophotometer in 50 healthy women with normal menstrual cycles as a control group and 50 women taking low-dose OCP.

Results: The control reference values were 81.61+/-9.44 and 70.35+/-25.57 mcg/dL, which were obtained for zinc and selenium, respectively. Use of OCP resulted in a significant decrease in serum zinc levels (p</=.009, t=-3.666) and alteration of selenium levels but not significantly (p=.08, t=0.935). The duration of use beyond 3 months had no effect on the magnitude of the decrease in serum zinc levels.

Conclusions: These findings may be important because selenium is currently believed to offer protective benefits against carcinogenesis. It has been thought that the decrease in serum zinc could be reflected in a reduction of tissue zinc status due to changes in zinc absorption, excretion or tissue turnover. If these changes occur, the dietary zinc requirement would be greater in women using OCP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Selenium / blood*
  • Zinc / blood*


  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal
  • Selenium
  • Zinc