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Pyroluria, also commonly called pyrrole disorder, pyrroles, kryptopyrroles, kryptopyrroluria (KPU), haemopyrrollactamuria (HPL) or Mauve Factor, is a condition that may cause anxiety, poor stress tolerance and outbursts of anger or aggression among several other symptoms.

Pyroluria involves an abnormality in hemoglobin synthesis, resulting in the production of excessive amounts of waste products called pyrroles.

The general population when tested have less than 10 mcg/dL, however pyrrole patients will experience levels above 20 mcg/dL, including extremely high levels of above 100 mcg/dL.

Pyroluria and pyrroles are known to deplete the body of important nutrients, including zinc, vitamin B6, biotin and omega 6 GLA/AA. Zinc and vitamin B6 in particular are essential for daily happiness, stress-coping and a stable mood even when things go wrong.

We choose to use a laboratory that specializes only in pyrrole testing, because it is such a sensitive test. Pyrroles are extremely sensitive to light and heat and so a urine sample must be collected in an environment with the least exposure to light and heat as possible.

Common Symptoms

The most common symptoms of pyrrole disorder include:

  • Anxiety, including fear or fearfulness.
  • Poor stress tolerance and difficulty coping with stressful situations.
  • Outbursts of anger, aggression, or an explosive temper.
  • Poor coping with changes in routine, and anxiety in new situations.
  • Sudden changes in mood and emotional lability.
  • Poor short-term memory.
  • Absence of dream recall, not remembering dreams.
  • Sensitivity to light, noise or smells.
  • Poor immune function.
  • Migraines

Pyrrole disorder is also often found in children and adults with autism, ADD/ADHD, schizophrenia, Down syndrome, epilepsy, depression, bipolar disorder, criminal behavior, and substance abuse.

What Makes Pyrrole Disorder Worse?

Pyrrole disorder is exacerbated by stress and traumatic events. From starting school, a new job, the onset of menopause, or periods, a marriage breakdown, redundancy, new career anything that an individual finds significantly stressful can exacerbate symptoms (when we can least afford it too!).

Gastrointestinal disease, Food intolerances and impaired methylation are often seen with pyrrole disorder and can magnify its effect.

Is Pyrrole Disorder Genetic?

Pyroluria is genetic: a child of a parent with Pyrrole disorder has a 50% chance of it being passed onto them, if both parents are pyrrole positive there is a 75% chance of offspring inheriting the disorder, which is why I often suggest to families if one family member is effected its worth investigating the rest of family.

How Long Before Pyrrole Disorder Symptoms Subside?

Your level of deficiency will dictate how long it takes to feel the better. Those with mild or moderate symptoms of Pyrrole Disorder may see a dramatic response very quickly in as little as a two to four weeks. Those with more severe symptoms usually require four to six months before some improvement is seen, and then gradually greater improvement over the next 6 months or so. Improvement is determined by what the root cause is.

How to Effectively Treat Pyrrole Disorder

A Pyrrole disorder treatment plan involves more than supplementing with vitamin B6 and zinc.

Patients who seek out care because of suspected pyrrole disorder will undergo a series of testing to uncover how we can be most effective with treatment. These tests will be determined once we have reviewed your case.

Pyrroles are highly oxidative so your treatment will often involve some antioxidant nutrients to combat that component of the disorder.

Nutrients include: Vitamin B6, pyridoxine-5-phosphate (the active form of Vitamin B6) zinc and magnesium.

Other supportive nutrients may include: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and evening primrose oil, Vitamin D, B12, Vitamin A and Biotin and manganese.

It has been proposed that emotional and physical stress increases Pyrrole excretion very quickly. It is also believed that stress and high Pyrrole may affect the production of heme, the iron carrier in red blood cells.

This has a detrimental effect on energy production and increases oxidative damage to the cells, as the body is unable to produce enough antioxidants and other important detoxification factors.

Research also suggests dysbiosis and intestinal permeability can lead to higher circulating levels of Pyrroles (and zinc is important for the maintenance of intestinal barrier integrity).

Genetics is another factor consideration. MTFR mutations, MTRR, MTR, COMT, AHCY and other mutations

Poor vitamin B6 and zinc status will negatively impact healthy methylation processes, which is confounded by the presence of SNPs on genes encoding for enzymes involved in methylation.

As you can now better appreciate, treating Pyroluria requires a Big Picture approach- if you have tried B6, Zinc and omega 3’s and feel like there is still so much more missing contact us.

The good news is that Functional medicine can help identify the major players and get you on the right path with your Pyroluria symptoms.

Need help putting the pieces of the puzzle together? We genuinely enjoy helping our patients feel well, happy, and healthy on the inside and out! Contact us today for more information or to make an appointment.