Just under a year ago, and at only 23 years old, I was in the throes of a debilitating depression which plagued me for 8 long years. I had a choice: to cope in utter despair and misery, or, end my life—both not great options. It was not through typical treatments, but by changing my chemistry, that I CURED my depression. I’m sharing my story with you to provide an alternative solution, one you probably never heard of…until now.


My name’s Alex and I am writing this because depression kicked my ass for a long time. It tormented me like that bully in high school torments the helpless nerd: relentlessly, viciously and without rhyme or reason. The only difference is that the nerd could at least escape the vice grip of its formidable foe upon graduation. I, on the contrary, had a 300-pound gorilla on my back that wasn’t going anywhere. It clinched to me tight, suffocating my will to live throughout the entirety of high school and college. It was weighing me down on a daily basis and there seemed to be no end in sight. I tried taking preventative action. I took the anti-depressants, went to therapy, meditated, participated in yoga, lied in float tanks, I even ventured to the middle of the Amazon jungle to ingest potent psychedelic brews (story for another day). Though I benefited from some of these things in other areas, they weren’t the cure. In hindsight, they were merely distractions. And yes for some people they aren’t distractions; they are a source of solace. I totally understand that. But, for me, they were failing to get to the core of my problem because my depression was still there lingering. By this time I had come to a tipping point and was convinced I had only two options: cope in misery or end it. Neither option was promising, but then, while walking the metaphorical plank of fate, with my hands tied, guns pointed in my direction and ravenous sharks underneath me, a third option appeared out of the blue.


That option came when a family friend made a life changing recommendation. She referred me to a doctor, but not your typical doctor: a chiropractic neurologist. This doctor specialized in biochemical and neurological diseases. Skeptical yet willing to give anything a shot, I scheduled an initial appointment. During my first visit with Dr. Mike Gruttadauria, I explained to him exactly how I felt, and after talking we speculated that my depression may not have been a byproduct of emotional trauma but rather a series of biological imbalances. This was an interesting take, one I really never thought about. Was my own biology failing me? How could that be?  I grew up eating extremely clean and lived an active lifestyle. There was only one way to find out; through testing of my gut microbiome, blood and urine.

“Depression may not have been a byproduct of emotional trauma but rather a biological imbalance.”

I proceeded to take the tests, and within a few weeks I received results. The data was shocking. They were able to tell by my samples that I wasn’t as healthy as I presumably thought. I had something called Leaky Gut Syndrome as well as a compound homozygous MTHFR gene mutation. Both findings are considered red flags in the newly emerging field in healthcare called functional medicine and are said to potentially link to depression. We were on to something and for once in a long time I was struck with a glimmer of hope.


Leaky gut syndrome has become a topic of discussion in the health world in recent years. In layman’s terms, it is a condition where food and toxic particles leak through your intestinal lining into the blood stream rather than be absorbed by the small intestine.

The more important finding was that I had (and still have) an MTHFR mutation. This is a less known diagnosis, which is astonishing because 40-50% of us have this genetic mutation!  MTHFR is a gene that produces an enzyme responsible for the conversion of a certain B vitamin called folate into a form that we can use in the human body. If you have a mutated MTHFR gene (in my case two mutations) your body is unable to absorb these compounds, which at the end of the day, are responsible for the production of serotonin and dopamine (you’re happy). Without proper levels of these neurotransmitters your quality of life is dulled.

All fingers were pointed at these two culprits for potentially causing my depression but the only way I was to know for sure was to make a serious change in my diet and to strategically supplement. For the next few months I was put on a protocol meticulously designed by my doctor to heal my gut and replenish my lack of essential nutrients caused by my MTHFR mutation. So it began…


Per my doctor’s direction, I began a strict dietary regimen to heal my intestinal lining. This entailed eliminating most foods from my diet with the exception of dark green vegetables, nuts and healthy fats. The purpose of this was to start with a clean slate and establish a basis for a healthy gut and to progress from there. It was especially important that I avoid inflammatory foods during the protocol.  In conjunction with the elimination diet, I was given a handful of natural supplements that would help restore my gut. From then on, on a weekly basis, I was instructed to slowly implement clean food such as grass fed meats, chicken, fish, eggs and low glycemic fruit back into my diet along with new supplements and probiotics. While I was healing my leaky gut, I was simultaneously trying to cater to my MTHFR mutation which was limiting my body’s ability to absorb the essential vitamins such as B12, B6 and Folate. Because I was deficient, I needed to somehow increase my intake of these vitamins but it wasn’t as simple as just supplementing with B12, B6 and Folate because, as I brought up earlier, I was lacking the enzyme to absorb them. This meant I needed to bypass that enzyme and instead ingest the already methylated form; one that my body could imbibe. The solution was an aggressive detoxification program to heal my GI tract. This proved to be a crucial step in managing my deficiency and ultimately conquering my depression.


Sticking to the protocol was an arduous task, I will admit. In the beginning I was hungry, tired, and still depressed. I was also skeptical but part of me knew that I needed to soldier on in order to reap the true benefits. Luckily things got easier and slowly but surely I began to feel the difference in my overall health. Within weeks of starting my protocol I experienced a significant boost in energy. My head felt clear. My senses were sharp. I was no longer a victim of constant fatigue, and I would actually catch myself smiling. Most importantly, I noticed that I wasn’t experiencing the frequent dips in my mood. It was remarkable. I felt like the veil of depression and sadness that was draped in front of my eyes had finally lifted. I was no longer living a mundane world; life was vibrant!

I highly recommend anyone who is battling depression to work with Dr. Mike!

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