Hormones is one of, if not the most popular, topics we cover here on We Gotta Talk.
And I totally understand why! As women, they impact us at literally every stage of life, both mentally and physically.
It’s kind of crazy to think about, but the truth is, not many traditional medical practitioners take the time (or at least enough time) to describe to women the very dramatic impact hormones have on our daily mood and sense of physical wellbeing. It’s HUGE.
So it’s always an honor for me to have on a guest whose speciality is hormones, as well as thyroid health (another biggie for women), gut health, and everything else that impacts the way we feel.
This past week’s guest was Lahana Vigliano, MS, CCN—a functional medicine practitioner with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition science, a master’s degree in human nutrition and who is pursuing a doctorate degree in the same areas. She founded Nuvitru Wellness with the goal of providing personalized health assessments and advice for women who want to feel, and be, well.
Let’s dig into three huge takeaways I learned this past week from Lahana. Here’s to staying healthy!
Lahana didn’t use that term, “self-directed care,” but I am, mainly because I’m not sure what else to call it.
And what I mean by it is this—an active participation on the part of the patient in his or her own care. It means knowing your body well enough to know when you’re feeling off, and being able to ask for tests or more information about why.
It means no longer taking your doctor’s word for it that you should feel good based on whatever labs they’ve gotten back that they say are normal, when in fact you don’t feel good.
When I asked Lahana if more people were trending toward this form of preventive, and personalized, care, this is what she had to say:
“A lot of people that come to us are so gaslit they actually they say My doctor says my labs are fine, [but] I don’t feel fine.”
Based solely on chatter on social pages and talks with dozens of my own female friends and acquaintances, I’m starting to see this too. We want answers, and we want to understand why we don’t feel great, when we’re being told all basic blood tests are saying we should.
With many options for voluntary testing and more functional-based care that caters to individual needs (I’m thinking of Parsley Health, Nuvitru and others that make healthcare more accessible and personalized—see this list for more), and after talking with Lahana about her growing patient list, she confirmed my instincts—that it seems like this mode of care is only gaining traction.
Here’s what Lahana has to say about it:
“I still hear a lot of [patients say], ‘Okay, this is my last resort.’ And I do want people to know that this should be their first resort. This is something so foundational that we just need to stay on top of, but I do think we are shifting into that.
“[Preventive care] a shift, it’s a shift even for me, and it’s not the cheapest thing, but it’s so worth it.”
As for the most common complaints that prompt people to seek Nuvitru’s care? The list is long and varied.
“I would say lack of energy is huge, like chronic fatigue. [Also] mysterious bloating that they just really can’t pinpoint what’s going on; acid reflux; a lot of the GI [issues like] diarrhea, constipation. … stomach cramping. And then on the hormonal side, just chronic fatigue, hair loss, irregular cycles, painful cycles, infertility, things like that.”
Inflammation from environmental triggers is something that can throw off just about anyone’s hormone levels.
When you’re exposed to certain chemicals, Lahana says, it can start a cascade of negative influence from your gut, to your hormones, to your thyroid (all of which are connected).
“The biggest thing I love to talk about … is toxins. So, beauty products, you name it parabens, phthalates—all these chemicals that were exposed to in beauty and cleaning [products]. … There is research. This is not ‘woo woo,’ someone’s putting it out there [and] it is showing that these chemicals, when you’re exposed to them internally, [or] breathe it in, [or] topically put it on, … it does block hormone production.”
One step in the right direction is to look for safer alternatives for beauty and cleaning products.
I’ve ton a ton of posts about the beauaty brands I prefer, but any quick search online can also point you in the right direction. But for cleaning products, I would absolutely recommend Branch Basics. I use their all-purpose cleaner, laundry detergent and more, and you’re not compromising any performance whatsoever—just getting products that are safer for you and your family.
Another place to look for answers if you’re feeling off is the thyroid.
Lahana says that, while many doctors will run your bloodwork for thyroid health, often times the test isn’t as thorough as it should be to get an idea of your total thyroid health.
This graphic below, courtesy of Nuvitru’s Instagram page, is a helpful graphic to save and keep handy. It shows all of the specific things your health care practitioner should be checking your thyroid for.
Make sure to listen to the whole episode with Lahana so you can get even more advice; she’s amazing!