Pyroluria-A missing link in Bipolar Disorder, depression, anxiety, autism and schizophrenia

I am re-posting an excellent blog posted by the True Vitality clinic in Australia.

Pyrrole disorder, also known as pyroluria, kryptopyroluria, kryptopyrole or Mauve disorder is a biochemical imbalance involving an abnormality in hemoglobin synthesis that can be purely genetic or acquired through environmental and emotional stress and especially from ‘leaky gut syndrome’ and the over use of antibiotics.

Pyrrole disorder is caused by the overproduction of hydroxyhempyrolin (HPL). The HPL binds zinc and B6 preventing their use by the body and causing excretion in the urine and hair. HPL is a biomarker for oxidative stress and is neurotoxic. Stress of any kind will increases production of pyrroles/HPL which in turn decreases zinc and B6

The main biochemical features are of severe zinc and B6 deficiency. Zinc is essential for 100’s of processes in the body and is particularly important for healing, immune function, digestion, neurotransmitter activation, physical growth, memory, insulin sensitivity, and control of blood sugars, DNA replication and more….

Zinc and B6 are essential for production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin (our happy hormone), melatonin (our sleep hormone), GABA (our relaxation hormone), and acetyl choline which is important for memory. They are also involved in production of our steroid hormones such as cortisol (our anti-inflammatory, anti-allergy hormone and stress hormone) and the conversion of oils in the body (fat metabolism, liver and gall bladder issues and weight control). The oils EPA/DHA but mostly GLA are found to be low in those with pyrrole disorder and are damaged by oxidative stress/free radicals/toxins created by pyrrole.

Signs and symptoms suggestive of someone having pyroluria.

White spots on fingernails (zinc deficiency) is a strong sign of this problem. Hypoglycemia/sugar intolerance is common, as are food and environmental allergies.
Other common symptoms are joint pains (especially knee pain), fatigue, headaches (especially migraine headaches), bowel dysfunction such as irritable bowel syndrome, easy bruising, dizziness, insomnia, poor memory and difficulty concentrating. Poor stress control, nervousness, anxiety, mood swings, severe inner tension, episodic anger, poor short-term memory and depression are other common symptoms

Obviously, such symptoms are common, and not everyone who has them will have pyroluria and not everyone with this disorder will have all of the symptoms and may even have only two, but have difficulty treating these symptoms with the usual methods.

The treatment to correct the imbalance seems surprisingly simple. It involves taking zinc, vitamin B6 and/or pyridoxal 5-phosphate (activated B6), GLA, an essential omega 6 fatty acid found in evening primrose, borage and black currant oil, Vit E and magnesium.

However, just because the treatment seems relatively simple to describe does not mean that it is easy to do. As people start to take these needed nutrients they may feel terrible as heavy metals and other toxins are released into circulation and their immune system is activated, causing microbial toxins to also be released.

These nutrients should be introduced gradually with the supervision of a qualified practitioner and often need further support on an individual basis. It is not advisable for people to self-medicate as B6 & zinc toxicity can also be an issue for some people if their body still can’t utilise these nutrients properly and so close observation by an experienced practitioner is important.
Adding the nutrients that will correct the pyroluria will not make all of the patients problems go away, as those who have this tend to have chronic microbial infections, a sea of accumulated toxins and a history of emotional wounds to still deal with. Correcting the pyroluria, however, will allow them to respond appropriately to other treatments that would have been previously ineffective and help them to finally move down the road towards true healing.

Unfortunately pyroluria is not a recognized condition by many health practitioners. It is wide-spread and mental health experts estimate as high as 20% of all psychiatric patients and 40% of people with schizophrenia and 5% of ‘normal’ people have pyroluria. I personally am seeing this statistic a lot higher in my clinic in ‘normal’ clients. It seems to affect women more than men but unfortunately most people with pyroluria go undiagnosed.

Pyroluria is diagnosed by a simple urine test which detects KPU in urine. Most persons have less than 10mcg/dL of KPU. Persons with 10-20 mcg/dl are considered to have “borderline” pyroluria and may still benefit from treatment. Persons with levels above 20 mcg/dl are considered to have pyroluria. Some have levels in the hundreds.

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. Other nutrients may assist include niacinamide (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), methylcobalamin (B12), manganese, vitamins C, E and magnesium. Food sources and nutritional supplements containing copper and red/yellow food dyes should be avoided. Copper is commonly high in people with pyroluria and needs to be detoxified. It is advisable to have mineral and metal levels, ratios and balnces performed by a Hair mineral analysis to get the treatment correct. I prefer to use a lab in the United Sates as they have an excellent reporting system that is usually around 38 pages long. The cost is only $155 plus postage of kit and postage of sample to the lab (minimal). Kits can be obtained from Fern Life Center. Doing a Hair Mineral Analysis test is a good idea as well to make sure copper is not high.

People 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 thought to be indefinite, but with good management and healthy lifestyle and emotional balance I feel that it is possible to need no supplementation once the correct balance is created and a fairly stress-free life is sustained.

The history of pyrrole discovery

Pyroluria, was first noted by Abram Hoffer MD, PhD and Humphrey Osmond, MRCS, DPM in the early 1960’s in their research on metabolic imbalances in people with schizophrenia This condition has been found to be relatively common in people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (manic depressive disease) by orthomolecular psychiatrists (psychiatrists who focus on nutritional therapies); they have found approximately 20% of schizophrenics have this condition, and they tend to respond well to treating it. But Dr. Klinghardt and others have found that not everyone with this condition suffers from such extreme psychiatric problems (though many may have some tendency towards anxiety and/or depression). Indeed, the breakthrough Dr. Klinghardt has made is in recognizing how common this condition may be in other people with chronic illness.

In the early 1970’s Carl Pfieffer MD PhD found evidence of kryptopyroluria in 5 % of normal people he tested (people without serious psychiatric illness). This may represent the percentage of the population with a strong genetic tendency to kryptopyroluria, but it is possible the number of people with this problem has increased due to our increasing exposure to environmental stressors (microbes and toxins) as well as increasing emotional unrest (stress increases pyrroles) and the higher use of electronic devises (positive ions) which also leads to less ‘natural living’ and less exercise and fresh air.

Testing for pyrrole disorder

Pyrrole is extremely sensitive to light and heat and so a urine sample must be collected in an environment with the least exposure to light as possible. We use the Great Plain Laboratory for our testing, which costs $129 and is done with a first morning urine collection. You cannot have taken B6 or zinc for 4 weeks before testing.

Here’s to your health and a Happy New Year!

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