Expert Profile - Michael Gruttadauria
Dr. Michael A. Gruttadauria, DC
Functional Medicine Chiropractor
Dr. Michael Gruttadauria’s Bio:
Dr. Michael Gruttadauria is an internationally renowned clinician who has been serving his profession and patients from around the world since 1992. Dr. Gruttadauria began his quest to be the best clinician he could be as a Doctor of Chiropractic. This training coupled with his lifelong pursuit of sports and bodybuilding allowed him to gain a holistic perspective on health which he brings to each and every patient. He holds Board Certification in Chiropractic Neurology through the American Chiropractic Neurology Board and is on the Advisory Board of Functional Medicine University.
Dr. Gruttadauria has blended his background in nutrition, neurology and sports medicine with years of advanced postdoctoral training in Functional Medicine and lifestyle management. He cross-trains his studies to provide a comprehensive and unique approach to his patients’ care. He has worked alongside an integrative psychologist and neuropsychiatrist to develop a comprehensive approach to treating patients with chronic fatigue, anxiety and depression which has been incredibly successful.
His role as CEO and Director of The Optimum U, allows him to take people from wherever they are in their healthcare journey to a place of vibrant health and happiness through lifestyle modification, diet, functional medicine, exercise and positive thinking.
Dr. Mike has appeared numerous times in television interviews on healthcare topics such as MTHFR, migraines, depression and autism. Currently, he is involved in the creation of a documentary called FOOD=MOOD alongside Frank Lipman, MD, Kelly Brogan, MD, and Mark Hyman, MD. You can see the trailer here.
What life events or challenges that you have experienced (could be minor, could be major) whether you have experienced them directly or via someone close to you, have had any type of impact on your desire to have a practice focus on patients with mental health challenges?
When I was 21 years old and in graduate school, I had a terrible head on collision going 40 mph. I was not wearing a seatbelt and my head went through the windshield. I had a severe head and neck injury, but I was lucky to have lived through it. Initially I had severe head and neck pain, but with physical therapy, chiropractic care and time, it all subsided. About 3 months after the accident, I began to experience dizziness, a sense of being off balance and a difficult to describe ‘out of body’ feeling that would come and go. It was very unsettling, but since it was not constant, I was able to deal with it. Not long thereafter, I had a total panic attack. Then another, then another. I had no idea what was happening to me, but I was afraid that I was losing my mind and even more afraid to tell anyone. I started having racing and sometimes violent thoughts. I was so scared that I sought the care of my internal medicine doctor who sent me for many tests and brain MRIs, but everything was normal. Over the next 3 years I withdrew from family and friends and I lost great relationships. Nobody EVER connected the brain injury I sustained with the cognitive and emotional symptoms I was having. Over time, and with a lot of brain based therapies and nutritional support, I fully recovered.
How did those events impact you emotionally/morally? How, if at all did those events impact the way you view how our current system teaches us to treat patients with mental health challenges?
Looking back, I understand that the knowledge of the brain and head trauma was in its infancy in the 1980s, so I can’t be angry that I was mismanaged. This injury propelled me into the world of functional neurology and I have been studying it ever since.
The brain and the Mind are one…they can not be looked at separately. Any trauma to the head, however minor it may seem at the time, can have a long term negative impact on brain function and emotionality. Over the past several years, the NFL has funded research into concussion and its effects on brain function and mental health and the results are very clear. Concussions cause mental and neurological deterioration.
When and why did you decide to actually focus on working with patients dealing with mental health issues, specifically, and how was your decision shaped by the experiences above?
Over the past 15 years, I have dedicated myself to working with patients who have chronic neurological, metabolic and mental health issues.
What I went through is unacceptable. I am sure that tens of thousands of people right now that suffer from anxiety and depression have a neurological and or metabolic imbalance going on that nobody is even looking for! Imagine? Can it be that there is a totally different way of looking at mental health? Indeed. When altered biochemistry or neurological function is present, how we think and feel is altered as well.
What methods or practices do you utilize to help individuals get/feel better?
When I see a new patient, I want to know what is happening with them emotionally, but I also want to know everything about their lifestyle habits, diet, nutrition, family and past medical history, sleep, sexual function, energy levels, exercise habits, EMF exposure, bowel function, etc.
A physical examination helps me get an idea of what is happening in the nervous system. Specialized neurological testing to look at the brainstem specifically can show areas of weakness that we can rehabilitate. Since the brain neurotransmitters are made in the brainstem, this part of the exam can be very important. Spinal function is very important to overall brain based stimulation, so a careful examination of the vertebral column is essential.
Once I have a clear understanding of who the patient is, then I cast a very wide net and get blood, urine, stool, genetic and food sensitivity tests to fully understand what is happening in their biochemistry. Based on the history, exam and lab results, I can create a strategy to rebalance the nervous system and metabolism.
The body has an inborn ability to heal itself. It is clear that when someone breaks a bone, it heals without any intervention in a matter of weeks! The key is to get the body back in balance. As a functional doctor, my job is to find imbalances in the brain and biochemistry and rebalance them over time. This approach fixes the cause instead of treating symptoms. NOBODY has a Zoloft deficiency!