Lahana Vigliano is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist and CEO of Thrival Nutrition. She has her Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition Science and currently pursing her Masters Degree in Nutrition Science and Functional Medicine. Lahana and her team help support women who struggle with weight loss, hormonal imbalances, digestive issues, chronic fatigue, and many other lingering issues that leaves women not feeling their best. She uses food as medicine, as well as herbs and supplements when needed, to support her clients. She looks at the whole body holistically making sure women are understanding how nutrition, sleep, stress, and their environment impact their health. She creates tons of free resources in her blog (www.thrivalnutrition.com) and the Thrival Nutrition Podcast that share real food recipes + content that helps women who are wanting to feed and take care of their families healthier + more holistically. She is also the creator of Thrival Nutrition Supplements, which she formulates bioavailable and organic supplements to better support women’s lifestyle.
I hope everyone is well + embracing what is left of summer. I can’t believe it’s almost over and my little girl goes to KINDERGARTEN! Ya’ll this is huge. We will have officially two kiddos in regular school. A turning point that is bittersweet.
Today, I wanted to hop on solo and talk with you guys about a topic that I feel is VERY important when you’re looking at your hormones and it’s not tested by your conventional doctor. This is why in our practice we use the DUTCH test for hormones to get a really deep look into what you’re hormones are actually doing. We’re not just looking at the levels of hormones you have, like estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, but we’re looking at the metabolites + how you’re using it through the body and the different phases of detoxification. This shows SO much about not just your hormonal health, but your overall health and can really answer questions if you have mysterious symptoms, but your doctor tells you that your hormone levels are “fine”.
We’re really focusing in on estrogen today. So, let’s get started. The dried urine hormone test we use tests for your three main estrogens: E1, E2, E3. Your doctor will probably only test for E2 when they check hormones via the blood. E1, also known as estrone, is pretty weak + is the estrogen that becomes dominate during menopause. E2, known as estradiol, is the main estrogen during our reproduction years and also is the most potent. E3, known as estriol, is a big estrogen that happens during pregnancy. E1 and E2 can convert to each other, but E3 can’t convert to any of the other estrogens.
What happens to the estrogen once it’s ready to go through the detoxification pathway? Phase 1 brings out cytochrome P450 enzymes to metabolize them + this can go down three different pathways. You have your 2-OH pathway that is super protective and this pathway should be the MAJORITY of what you metabolize. There is another pathway called 4-OH pathway that can be dangerous as it can cause DNA damage, increasing your risk of estrogen related cancers, like breast cancer. While some of our estrogen will go down this pathway, it should NOT be the majority. This is the more inflammatory pathway. Last, but not least, another pathway called the 16-OH pathway is very symptomatic and can cause you to have estrogen dominant symptoms and it binds very strong to the receptors on our cell. E3 is usually formed in this 16-OH pathway originating from E1. The metabolite going through the 16-OH pathway has been studied to also be a potential tumor initiator causing DNA changes, which also increases your risk of estrogen related health problems.
During phase 1 detoxification, you need to make sure that you have plenty of B vitamins, vitamin C, selenium, zinc, and magnesium. These nutrients are the cofactors to this phase of detox. Without them, you’re phase 1 will be wonky.
This is WHY you need to make sure when you’re looking into your hormones, LOOK AT THE TOTAL PICTURE. Do not think that your one serum marker tells you everything you need to know about your estrogen levels and your health. This is why we do the lab test we do in our practice.
Now you might ask, how does food relate to estrogen phase one detox? That’s a great question. When you know which pathway your estrogen is choosing to go down, we can influence the better pathway by eating certain foods, like more crucferious vegetables. That’s like broccoli, kale, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, etc. These foods help increase that protective 2-OH pathway. There are some supplements that can help as well, like DIM or I3C, but I would never recommend taking these until you KNOW your levels because certain supplements like DIM can actually lower estrogen. You wouldn’t want to lower estrogen if you are low or have a low normal amount. Definitely the statement – “test, don’t guess” works here very well. We can help you figure out what your meals should look like + what nutraceuticals can support your body.
Another thing that we look at in our practice is your environment – such as skincare, cleaning products, things that hold endocrine disrupting ingredients that can change your hormones. We take a holistic approach looking at mainly your diet, but also other lifestyle factors as well.