What is Pyroluria, Pyrrole Disorder & Kryptopyrroles?



Pyroluria is known by many different names including Pyrrole Disorder, Kryptopyrrole, Kryptopyrroluria, Pyrroluria, Pyrolle Disorder, Mauve Factor and Hemepyrrole. Pyroluria can best be described as the abnormal synthesis and metabolism of the oxygen carrying molecule in your blood, called haemoglobin. As with all cells in your body there are waste or by-products produced and the by-product of haemoglobin is a metabolite called hydroxyhemopyrrolin-2-one (HPL) also known as Pyrrole. The metabolite was originally thought to be a Kryptopyrrole but further studies have proven this not to be the case.

People who suffer from Pyroluria produce excessive amounts of these Pyrroles which bind to or inhibit the nutrients; Vitamin B6, Zinc (1-7), Biotin 8, and the Omega 6 Fat GLA from reaching their targets within your body. This effectively renders these nutrients unavailable to you.

Supplementation with these nutrients not only helps to reduce your Pyrrole levels but also the severity of the conditions, signs and symptoms sufferers experience. 

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Pyroluria Fact or Fiction?

Learning the truth about Pyroluria can be somewhat confusing with all the information available on the web. In this video Naturopath Greg Newson explains the reasoning behind the fact or fiction issues surrounding Pyroluria. 

Conditions Associated With Pyroluria

Acute Intermittent Porphyria Criminal Behaviour Neurosis/Neurotic
ADD/ADHD Depression Post Natal Depression
Alcoholism Down Syndrome Schizophrenia
Allergies Epilepsy Substance Abuse
Asperger’s Syndrome Learning Difficulties Tourette’s Syndrome
Autism Lung Cancer Violent Offenders
Bi-Polar Disorder Manic Depression  

Signs & Symptoms Of Pyroluria

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There are many signs and symptoms that may indicate the presence of elevated Pyrroles in your blood. The list below may give you an indication that you may have a Pyrrole disorder, however it is not a diagnosis for Pyroluria. For a correct diagnosis we recommend having a Kryptopyrroles Test which can be ordered through our online store.

Abdominal pain Lack of hair on head, eyebrows and eyelashes areas
Abnormal body fat distribution Lack of regular menstrual cycles
Acne Loss of appetite
Allergies Low libido
Amnesia spells Low tolerance to stress
Anger – explosive Migraines
Anxiety/anxious Mood swings
Argumentative - likes to argue Morning nausea
Cold hands and feet Motion sickness
Constipation Much higher capability in the evening than mornings
Creaking in joints Nervous exhaustion
Delayed puberty Nervousness
Delusions Overwhelmed in stressful situations
Depression Pale skin, poor tanning or burn easy in the sun
Difficulty remembering dreams Panic attacks
Dramatic Paranoia
Dyslexia Pessimism
Early greying of hair Poor memory
Eczema Poor morning appetite/tendency to skip breakfast
Elevated eosinophil’s Preference for spicy or heavily flavoured foods
Emotionally unstable Prone to stitches when running now or as a child
Fatigue Reading difficulties
Fluid retention Seizures
Frequent colds, fevers, and chills Sensitivity to bright light
Frequent ear infections as a child Sensitivity to smells
Hallucinations Severe inner tension
Hyperactivity Skin rashes
Hypersensitivity to noise Significant growth after the age of 16
Hypo-pigmentation of the skin Social withdrawal
Hypoglycaemia Substance abuse
Inability to think clearly Temper tantrums
Insomnia Tendency towards iron deficient anaemia
Intolerance to alcohol Tingling in the arms and legs
Intolerance to drugs Tremors
Intolerance to some protein foods Unusual smelling body odour
Joint pain Unusual smelling breath
Knee pain





Unusual Body Appearances Associated with Pyroluria

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Some people who suffer from Pyroluria may also have abnormalities in their physical appearance such as;

  • If your family has black skin yours will be the lightest skin in your family
  • Lack of hair on your head, eyebrows and eyelashes- Skin which is prone to stretch marks
  • Teeth in your upper jar will often be overcrowded (unless orthodontic treatments have taken place)
  • White spots on your fingernails
  • You may suffer from acne, eczema or herpes
  • Your tooth enamel has a poor appearance
  • Your skin will appear paper thin

What Causes Pyroluria?

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There is evidence to suggest that Pyroluria is a genetically based ailment. Statistics and research indicates that if a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother or sister has suffered from major Depression, Bi-Polar Disorder, Alcoholism, Schizophrenia or has suicided, there is a greater risk of Pyroluria in other family members.

Research has discovered that stress increases the production of these Pyrroles in your blood, which in turn causes a worsening of your symptoms (2,6,43). A US navy study conducted in 1992 found a very rapid increase in Pyrrole levels in male volunteers who were subjected to the stress of a brief cold-water immersion (44)

Poor dietary choices and poor digestive health can lead to an increase in Pyrrole levels (9) This makes sense as a poor diet and digestion robs your body of essential nutrients. This causes deficiencies to occur and results in various aspects of your health operating below par. It’s a downward spiral as without the correct nutrients you can’t function properly, this increases the stresses placed on your body and further drives up blood Pyrrole levels.

Leaky Gut Syndrome also known as intestinal permeability, is a condition whereby microscopic holes occur in your intestinal wall and allow undigested food, bacterial by-products, poisons and toxins to pass into your bloodstream. Leaky Gut Syndrome is widespread in sufferers of Pyroluria and a common factor in driving up blood Pyrrole levels.

Studies have shown that zinc deficiency increases bowel permeability (Leaky Gut syndrome) in animal and humans  (10-16).

Laxatives especially magnesium sulphate and bisacodyl (laxative drug) increases Leaky Gut Syndrome (17-19). Enemas (especially soap suds and tap water), result in loss of the intestinal lining, which then leads to Leaky Gut Syndrome (20).

It is a well known fact that stress damages the intestinal wall and causes intestinal inflammation. Both of which lead to an increase in Leaky Gut Syndrome  (9, 21-23).

Dysbiosis, an overgrowth of detrimental bacteria in the intestinal tract, has also been linked to an increase in blood pyrrole levels as well as contributing to Leaky Gut Syndrome (17, 24). Stress increases the adherence of bad bacteria to the intestinal wall within 30 minutes (25).

Alcohol, smoking, drugs and heavy metal exposure can dramatically increase blood pyrrole levels. This is why sufferers of Pyroluria tend to get a worsening of their symptoms 24 to 48 hours after a big night on the grog or recreational drug use.

What Damage Can Elevated Pyrrole Levels Cause?

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Pyrroles are classed as 'nerve poisons' (26) and as such can cause damage to your nerves, nerve cells and tissue, your brain and they can interrupt messages being sent along your nerves especially within your brain.

Heme is a substance found in your body that has an iron atom at its core. The most commonly know heme is haemoglobin, the oxygen carrying red pigment of your blood. Heme is not only found in your blood but in other areas of your body such as your liver and nerves. Your nerves metabolic activity is highly dependent on heme for their function and low levels of heme leads to a metabolic crisis occurring in your nerves resulting in neuronal (nerve) cell death (27-29). The by-product of haemoglobin metabolism, Hydroxyhemopyrrolin-2-one (HPL) or pyrrole, is believed to decrease heme levels in humans. Animal studies have shown that HPL caused a decrease in liver heme, and the heme containing detoxifying enzyme cytochrome P450, by up to 55% over a 48 hour period (30). Vitamin B6, biotin and zinc are all required for the production of heme and a reduction in these nutrients results in sub normal heme levels (28,31).  Heme levels are further depressed by stress and heavy metal exposure  28) .  Low levels of heme result in an excess production of the toxic free radical nitric oxide, which can cause serious damage to brain tissue and is suspected to play a role in schizophrenia, autism and Down Syndrome (38-42).

Free radicals or oxidative stress are substances that can damage and destroy your cells. Antioxidants are substances produced by your body and found in foods that protect your cells from oxidative stress or free radical damage, much like the way galvanised paint protects iron from rusting. Your body has three major antioxidant systems; Glutathione, Catalase and Superoxide Dismutase and these all need either zinc or vitamin B6 in some part to assist in their production. A marginal deficiency of vitamin B6 is associated with lower levels of Glutathione production and cell mitochondrial (cell battery) decay (32-34). Catalase consists of four protein subunits, each requiring heme, and since HPL suppresses heme, we can assume that pyroluria is associated with lower catalase levels, as is the case in schizophrenia and autism (35-37).

Additional Roles Of Vitamin B6, Zinc, Biotin & GLA In Keeping You Healthy

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There are many additional illnesses and diseases that may result from a single or combined deficiency of vitamin B6, zinc, biotin and the omega fat GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) more

Pyroluria The Statistics

Below is a table that shows neuro-behavioural disorders and the percentages of high hydroxyhemopyrrolin-2-one (HPL) or pyrroles associated with those disorders (9).

Diagnosed Ailment % of HPL
Acute intermittent porphyria 100
Latent acute intermittent porphyria 70
Down syndrome 71
Schizophrenia acute 59-80
Schizophrenia chronic 40-50
Criminal behaviour  
  -Adults with sudden deviance 71
  -Youths, violent offenders 33
Manic Depression 47-50
Depression (non schizophrenic) 12-46
Autism 46-48
Epilepsy 44
Learning Disabilities 40-47
ADD/ADHD 40-47
Neuroses 20
Alcoholism 20-84

The reason for the variance in some of the above figures is that it depends which study the results have come from. For example one study may have found only 20% of alcoholics had high levels of HPL whereas another study found that 84% of alcoholics had high levels of HPL.

Why Isn’t Pyroluria More Accepted By Mainstream Medicine?

Unfortunately Pyroluria falls outside the realm of mainstream medicine due to the fact that the only way to rectify the problem is by improving the sufferer’s nutritional status, diet, digestion and stress levels. Mainstream medicine relies on drugs to suppress a symptom or relieve suffering and this form of treatment will not work for a person who has a Pyrrole disorder. Sadly sufferers of Pyroluria fall through the cracks and are often misdiagnosed and given medication or drugs that does nothing to rectify the underlying problem. Unfortunately these medications can lead to further deterioration of a persons health.

What to do next?

As you can see pyroluria is a complex health issue and whereas treatment with the relevant nutrients will help to reduce the symptoms associated with pyroluria, it has not addressed the underlying causes. So any treatment protocol for pyroluria needs to not only support the nutritional deficiencies caused by an elevation of pyrroles, but to also identify and treat what has caused these in the first place. The first step is to assess whether or not you are suffering from pyrrole disorder is to get yourself tested. 

Pyroluria or Kryptopyrrole Test

We understand that it may be difficult for you to come and see us at our clinic so we have made it easy for you to find out whether you may be suffering from Pyroluria by ordering a Kryptopyrroles Test through our online store. We simply send you a test kit with full instructions on how to collect your urine sample and send it off to pathology for testing. Once your results are received we will analyse these and send you a detailed results report including suggested nutritional supplements and dietary advice to rectify your body’s underlying imbalances. It’s that easy. If you live in the United States of America and would like more information on testing please click on the Pyroluria Test.

What treatment do you recommend if I have already been tested for Kryptopyrroles / Pyroluria?

If you have already been tested we can offer the following services to you;




Pyroluria Treatment Plan - Online Download PDF (16 Page) and Audio File (mp3)


Skype Consultation - If you would like a more comprehensive overview of your health a Skype consultation can also be arranged.


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