Tag Archives: inflammation

Dr. Greg Symko, Concord-area Functional Neurologist, writes about depression and what can be done about it.

Sad face

At least a third of us will experience depression at some point in our lives.


There are several types of depression, the most common being melancholic depression.  Melancholic depression can be broken-down, more specifically, into episodic or chronic depression.  Episodic is often associated with a specific event, such as the loss of a loved one, a struggling marriage or other stressful situations.  Chronic depression usually cannot be attributed to one specific event or occasion.

The medical explanation for depression is the lack of serotonin, which is a brain neurotransmitter.  Thus, the traditional treatment is something called SSRIs, which try to boost serotonin levels.  (SSRI’s are used for both episodic and chronic depression.)  What typically happens is the SSRIs work temporarily, but eventually begin to wear off so the individual needs a stronger dose, a different SSRI or a combination of several drugs to have a beneficial effect.

Functional medicine’s approach to depression is quite different and doesn’t come with all the side effects of prescribed drugs.  (For more on that, please read my previous article on the effects of drugs on the body.)  As a functional doctor, I want to know why the serotonin level is low in the first place.

Serotonin can be deficient because of inflammation, and research is beginning to link inflammation to depression.  Researchers have found that individuals with inflammatory disease such as arthritis or diabetes often have depression associated with it.  You could say that they are depressed because of the disease, which might be true, but chemistry reveals the link between inflammation and low serotonin levels.

The chemicals that are released in the body because of inflammation actually block the production of serotonin, so it pays for your body not to be inflamed.

There is a functional way of reducing the inflammation in your body, therefore easing the depression you might be experiencing.  The interesting part is that you might not even be aware that you are inflamed!! We can help, to schedule an appointment, give us a call at 978-369-7070 or e-mail drsymko@gmail.com.

Dr. Greg Symko, Concord-area Functional Neurologist, writes about how certain foods can be good for one individual but not others and what to do about it.

Ever since I have been working with patient’s and the food they eat it has been a mystery as to why certain foods bother one person, but not another. 


It has given rise to specialized blood testing to evaluate each’s food sensitivities. These tests are extensive and can be expensive yet are incomplete and can be frustrating. They don’t always get it right, and multiple follow-up tests can change showing more foods that were once OK now become potentially harmful to eat. It can be frustrating and can give an individual pause as to what to do next.

Well, they may be a definitive answer: When we eat regular unprocessed foods our body has the enzymes to break them down to the building blocks that makes up these foods. In other words, all the minerals, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A etc.. are all in these foods and our bodies digestive enzymes breaks these off the food for use by our bodies.

These building blocks of food or “elements” our body recognizes and can use with no trouble. Therefore, there is no need for the immune system to get involved because your body has no allergic reaction.

What happens when these foods are not broken down into their elements? Your body can’t use partially digested foods; they are foreigners: your body’s immune system doesn’t recognize them and then attacks them. Here is where inflammation comes in and possible autoimmunity.

If you have a history of eating highly processed foods, your body’s enzymes don’t know how to break these down, and partial foods get introduced to your system. The real problem comes in when you start to eat unprocessed foods. Because of eating these highly processed foods your body’s enzymes are so deficient that you don’t even break these down, and your body doesn’t recognize them. Thus you have reactions to carrots or blueberries or even eggs or bacon.

There is a solution. New testing can determine if you are allergic to say, cooked carrots, but not raw. There are also new strategies to increase what we call “Oral Tolerance “to foods. This is so that the diversity of foods you can eat increases over time not decrease.

It is possible to eat again.