is a genetically determined chemical imbalance involving an abnormality in hemoglobin
synthesis. Hemoglobin is the protein that holds iron in the red blood cell.
Individuals with this disorder produce too much of a byproduct of hemoglobin
synthesis called "kryptopyrrole" (KP) or "hemepyrrole." Kryptopyrrole has no known
function in the body and is excreted in urine.
Kryptopyrrole binds to pyridoxine
(vitamin B6) and zinc and makes them unavailable for their important roles as
co-factors in enzymes and metabolism.†
These essential nutrients when bound to kryptopyrrole
are removed from the bloodstream and excreted into the urine as pyrroles.† Arachidonic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) also becomes deficient.
effect of pyroluria can have a mild, moderate, or severe depending on the
severity of the imbalance. Most individuals show symptoms of zinc and/or B6
deficiencies, which include poor stress control, nervousness, anxiety, mood
swings, severe inner tension, episodic anger (an explosive temper), poor
short-term memory and depression. Most pyrolurics
exhibit at least two of these problems. These individuals cannot efficiently
create serotonin (a neurotransmitter that reduces anxiety and depression) since
vitamin B6 is an important factor in the last step of its synthesis. Many of
these persons appear to benefit from SSRI medications such as Prozac, Paxil,
Zoloft, Celexa, etc. However, as with all mind-altering drugs, side effects
occur and the true cause of the mental difficulties remains uncorrected. In
addition these individuals often have frequent infections and are often
identified by their inability to tan, poor dream recall, abnormal fat
distribution, and sensitivity to light and sound. As you can imagine an SSRI
will not correct these metabolic effects. More healthful benefits may be
achieved by giving the appropriate supporting nutrients.
is detected by chemical analysis of the abnormal pyroles
in urine detectable as a purple (on testing paper) metabolite in called
"the mauve factor." Most persons have less than 10mcg of KP per
deciliter. Persons with 10-20 mcg/dl are considered "borderline" pyroluric and may benefit from treatment. Persons with
levels above 20 mcg/dl are considered to have pyroluria, especially if the
above symptoms are present. The chemical analysis for
KP is difficult due to the tendency for this chemical to decompose. Sometimes
it is necessary to repeat the urine test to properly determine the level of KP
being excreted. To make the initial diagnosis, no vitamins or minerals should
be taken for two days before the urine is collected (This is to avoid false
negative results). The specimen should be handled properly as well - collected
and frozen immediately and protected from any light by being placed in aluminum
foil. A repeat test to determine if the condition has been improved may be
with mild-moderate pyroluria usually have a fairly rapid response to treatment
if no other chemical imbalances are present. People with severe pyroluria
usually require several weeks before progress is seen and improvement may be
gradual over 3 - 12 months. Features of pyroluria usually recur within 2 - 4
weeks if the nutritional program is stopped.†
Thus, the need for treatment is indefinite.
Pyroluria is managed in part by restoring
vitamin B6 and zinc. †The type of
replacement therapy is very important as zinc must be provided in an
efficiently absorbed form. Vitamin B6 is also
available in several forms. Both zinc and B6 supplementation need to be
directed by the doctor as too much can be toxic, use of the wrong form will be
ineffective, and avoiding competing minerals and supplements may be necessary.
Other nutrients may assist in pyroluria include niacinamide, pantothenic acid, manganese, vitamins C and E, omega-6
fatty acids and cysteine. Food sources and nutritional supplements containing
copper and red/yellow food dyes should be avoided.
pyrolurics are stress intolerant, they seem to be
especially vulnerable to cumulative stress over many days. For example, parents
of a pyroluric child should use discipline that is
"short and sweet" rather than "long and lingering." It is
not unexpected that pyroluric patients are prone to
relapses, especially during illness, injury, or emotional stress.
of the information we have about pyroluria is from the work of the late Carl
Pfeiffer, M.D. in the 1970ís.† Some
DG: Apparent non-indolic ehrlich-positive
substances related to Mental illness. J Neuropsychiat,
†Hoffer A, Mahon M: The
presence of unidentified substances in the urine of psychiatric patients. J Neuropsychiat, 1961;2:331-397.
†Irvine DG, Bayne W, et al: Identification of kryptopyrrole in human urine and its relationship to
psychosis. Nature, 1969;224:811-813.
†Pfeiffer CC, Lliev
V: Pyrroluria, urinary mauve factor, causes double
deficiency of B6 and zinc in schizophrenics. Fed Proc, 1973;32:276.
†Jackson JA, Riordan HD, Neathery
S: Vitamins, blood lead and urine pyrroles in Down
Syndrome patients. Amer Clin Lab, 1990:Jan- Feb:8-9.
†Jackson JA, Riordan HD, Neathery S, Riordan N:
Urinary pyrroles in health and disease. J Orthomol Med, 1997: 12;2:96-98.