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My life might have been different

A young woman walks into a health clinic complaining of disabling menstrual pain, tension headaches, tight, sore muscles, and fatigue.

At this moment, she has no idea that she carries the gene for Parkinson’s or that she likely already underproduces dopamine.

She leaves with a prescription for the Pill. One year later, she has scant periods, and her fingers and toes turn white and purple from the cold – Raynaud’s disease. She gets sick at the drop of a hat and is prescribed antibiotics on the regular for bronchitis – the antibiotics have disrupted her gut, and she now suffers from irritable bowel.

The woman seeks out a chiropractic herbalist, and he gives her Echinacea. This plant boosts her immune function. And her Raynaud’s resolves when she tosses the Pill.

But her fatigue worsens, menstrual cramps return, and the muscle pain expands into hip bursitis. She has to quit running and kickboxing.

When she turns 30, she wants to start a family, and after trying to conceive for more than a year finally gets pregnant.

She loses the baby at six weeks.

She gets pregnant again and loses the baby.

And again.

This story is real – it is my story.

At the end of three unsuccessful pregnancies and a failed marriage to boot, I was left with a big, “Why me?” as I watched the pregnant bellies of friend after friend. All of them carried their babies full term.

“What’s wrong with me?” I sobbed, lying on the bathroom floor, in unbearable pain every single month.

Decades later… I listen to Paul Bergner talk about magnesium. I’ve long known that most people are magnesium deficient and that taking it was advisable, but my gut couldn’t tolerate it.

But when Paul said this, I caught my breath…

“We have the idea that certain herbs will balance the female hormones, estrogen, and progesterone.”

Believe me. I tried them all. 

Paul continues…

“But for the most part, that’s simply not true. However, magnesium definitely does exactly that. Magnesium acts in the higher regulatory centers in the hypothalamus in order to regulate the production of progesterone, and it acts in the liver to regulate the clearance of estrogen. Magnesium simply promotes normal levels of both estrogen and progesterone when they are imbalanced. And in fact, they may become imbalanced due to a magnesium deficiency.

And then – here is the absolute kicker as he explains further…

“Magnesium is a critical cofactor in the production of dopamine. And dopamine, in turn, promotes the production of progesterone. And that’s why, when we have a magnesium deficiency, we get reduced production of progesterone, painful periods, and infertility.”

And what about Parkinson’s?! I am stunned by this possibility.

What might have been different for me if my younger self had walked into Paul’s clinic and walked out with a prescription for magnesium and a clear understanding of why I needed it?

What might have changed?

Maybe my periods would be less debilitating. Maybe I would have delivered a healthy, full-term baby.

Maybe I could have delayed the onset of Parkinson’s or possibly avoided it altogether.


I may never know the answers to those questions, but my sorrow is real. And my passion to share what I am learning with others is stoked. And I am also soothed by knowing, at least in part, what went wrong.

My magnesium reservoir was empty.

No herb was going to fix this – not Vitex, not Maca, not Rhodiola. Except maybe good ol’ reliable Nettles, if I could eat 5 cups of the cooked greens a day to reach the bare minimum I needed to replenish my depleted stores.

Maybe my story will help you or someone you know.

This is why I have asked Paul Bergner to share his groundbreaking work on nourishing our foundations through food and nutrition.

I am thrilled to introduce our all-new BotanicWise program, Nourished: Foundations of Herbal Nutrition with Paul BergnerIn this program, herbalist Paul Bergner draws from science and his vast experience to lead us on an amazing journey to restore vitality by building our reservoirs of essential nutrients. ​LEARN MORE

There’s a lot more to this story, but I want to bring home one point: Tending to our health is a lifelong project, and like our gardens, everyone needs a strong foundation. The world of nature invites us to participate!

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