Does Alfalfa Increase Estrogen? | How Does Alfalfa Affect Birth Control?

Alfalfa, known as lucerne or Medicago sativa, is a plant grown as feed for livestock for 100 years.

It was long prized for its excellent vitamins, minerals, and protein content compared to different feed sources. 

Alfalfa is considered part of the legume family and is also considered an herb.

It seems to have come from South and Central Asia, but it has grown worldwide for hundreds.

Its seeds or dried leaves are taken as a supplement, or the seeds sprouted and eaten in the form of alfalfa sprouts.

I have already shared a post related to this topic Hormonal Replacement Therapy Menopause   I hope you read this post.

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Nutrient content of alfalfa

People consume alfalfa as an herbal supplement or in the form of alfalfa sprouts.

No official nutrition information is available because the leaves or seeds are sold as herbal supplements and not as foods.

However, they are a fair source of vitamin K and contain other nutrients, including vitamin C, manganese, copper, and folate.

Alfalfa sprouts receive the same nutrients and are low in calories.

For example, 1 cup of alfalfa sprouts contains a mere eight calories. However, it also contains the following.

  • Vitamin K: 8% of the DV
  • Riboflavin: 3% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 3% of the DV
  • Thiamine: 2% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 2% of the DV
  • Iron: 2% of the DV
  • Folate: 3% of the DV
  • Copper: 6% of the DV

A cup contains 1 gm of protein and 1 gm of carbs, which comes from fiber.

I also wrote a article on Can Low Iron Cause Digestive Problems? 

Alfalfa helps lower cholesterol.

Alfalfa’s cholesterol-lowering ability is its best-studied health benefit to date.

Many animal types of research have shown that it can lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels while increasing HDL cholesterol, decreasing heart disease risk.

They do this by decreasing cholesterol intake in the gut and increasing the excretion of compounds used to create new cholesterol.

To learn more, you can read  What Foods To Avoid With High Cholesterol? | List Of High Cholesterol Foods

Other health benefits

There is a great list of uses of alfalfa as a medicinal herb.

They include low blood pressure, acting as a diuretic, treating arthritis, increasing breast milk production, and getting rid of kidney stones.

Most of these advanced health benefits have not yet been researched. However, some of them have been studied to an extent.

Improved your metabolic health

The use of alfalfa is as an antidiabetic or blood sugar-lowering agent.

Some animal studies have found that alfalfa improves cardiometabolic health by decreasing blood sugar levels and blood fat.

However, while these findings are promising, studies are needed to decide whether alfalfa would have the same effects in humans.

Menopause symptom relief

Alfalfa is very high in plant compounds called phytoestrogens, which are similar to the hormone estrogen.

This means that they cause some of the effects in the body as estrogen.

Phytoestrogens are controversial, but they have many benefits, including reducing menopausal symptoms caused by decreased estrogen levels.

I have already covered  At What Age Does Menopause Start? | When Do Women Go Through Menopause?

How does alfalfa affect birth control?

Some birth control pills include estrogen. Alfalfa has some of the same effects as estrogen. However, alfalfa is not as strong as the estrogen in birth control pills. Therefore, taking alfalfa with birth control pills decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills. If you take birth control pills with alfalfa, use an extra form of birth control, such as a condom.

Suggested Read Does Fenugreek Affect Birth Control? | When To Start Birth Control Pill?

Safety and side effects

Alfalfa is safe for most people, and it causes harmful side effects for some people.

If you are pregnant

Raw alfalfa sprouts and supplement products received from alfalfa seeds come with food safety risks. Therefore, pregnant people should avoid alfalfa.

If you take blood thinners

High doses of vitamin K cause blood-thinning medications such as warfarin to be less effective. Therefore, it’s important for somebody taking these medications to avoid changes in their vitamin K intake.

If you have an autoimmune disorder

This impact is believed to be due to the immune-stimulating effects of the amino acid L-cavenin found in alpha.

Therefore, those who have lupus or other autoimmune disorders are advised to avoid it.

How to add alfalfa to your diet?

You take alfalfa supplements in powdered form or as a tablet or use alfalfa to make tea.

Because few human kinds of research have been done on alfalfa seeds, leaves, or extract, it’s hard to suggest a safe or effective dose.

Another way to add alfalfa to your daily diet is by eating it as sprouts. You add alfalfa sprouts to your diet in several ways, such as in a sandwich or mixed into a salad.

You can also buy alfalfa at health food stores or sprout them at home. Here’s how:

  • Add two tablespoons (tbsp) of alfalfa seeds to a jar, or sprout and cover them with two to four times the amount of cool water.
  • Let them soak for 8–12 hours.
  • Drain and clean the sprouts with cool water. Drain them and remove water completely.
  • Store the sprouts out of sunlight and at room temperature for three days. Then, rinse and remove them every 8–12 hours.
  • On day four, relocate the sprouts to an area with sunlight to allow for photosynthesis. Continue to rinse and drain them every 8three–12 hours.
  • On day five or six, your sprouts are ready to eat.

Conclusion

Alfalfa is shown to help lower cholesterol and have benefits for blood sugar management and relieving symptoms of menopause.

People take it because it contains antioxidants, nutrients like vitamin K, copper, magnesium, and folate. Alfalfa is also extremely low in calories.

Even though more high-quality analysis on alfalfa is needed, it does show a lot of promise as a health-promoting supplement.

Still have any questions about Disease alfalfa? Ask in the comments section!

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