Understanding Pyroluria

by Greg Newson 0 Comments

Understanding Pyroluria | Vitality and Wellness

What is Pyroluria?

Pyroluria is known by many different names including Pyrrole Disorder, Kryptopyrrole, Kryptopyrroluria, Pyrroluria, Pyrolle Disorder, Mauve Factor and Hemepyrrole.

Pyroluria is best be described as the abnormal synthesis and metabolism of the oxygen carrying molecule haemoglobin. All cells in the body produce waste or by-products and the by-product of haemoglobin metabolism is hydroxyhemopyrrolin-2-one (HPL) also known as Pyrrole. People who suffer from Pyroluria produce excessive amounts of HPL, which binds to, increases urine excretion or inhibits the function of Vitamin B6, Zinc (1-7), Biotin  (8), and the Omega 6 Fat GLA. Unfortunately for a Pyroluria sufferer HPL effectively renders these nutrients unavailable. Supplementation helps to to reduce HPL levels and the severity of the conditions, signs and symptoms that a Pyroluria sufferers experiences. 

Conditions associated with Pyroluria

Due to the various bodily functions of Zinc, Vitamin B6 and Biotin the symptoms of Pyroluria can be quite broad and far reaching. Below is a list of some common health conditions associated with Pyroluria and the percentage of those sufferers with elevated HPL levels.

Acute Intermittent Porphyria 100% Down Syndrome 71%
ADD/ADHD 47% Epilepsy 44%
Alcoholism 20-84% Learning Difficulties 40-47%
Asperger’s Syndrome 46-48% Latent Acute Intermittent Porphyria 70%
Autism 46-48% Manic Depression 47-50%
Bi-Polar Disorder 46% Neurosis/Neurotic 20%
Criminal Behaviour 71% Schizophrenia 59-80%
Depression 46%

Violent / Criminal Offenders


For a full list of conditions associated with Pyroluria please click here.

Signs and symptoms of Pyroluria

As mentioned above the roles of Zinc, Vitamin B6 and Biotin are many and as such so are the potential side effects associated with their deficiency. Below is a short list of some of the more common signs and symptoms associated with Pyroluria. 

Anger – explosive Intolerance to alcohol and drugs
Anxiety/anxious Lack of regular menstrual cycles
Argumentative Low libido
Delayed puberty Morning nausea
Delusions Poor morning appetite
Depression Prone to stitches
Dyslexia Reading difficulties
Fatigue Sensitivity to bright light, noise and smells
Emotionally unstable Social withdrawal
Frequent infections Substance abuse
Hyperactivity Temper tantrums

For a full list of signs and symptoms associated with Pyroluria please click here.

Read our blog on the 9 most Common Pyroluria Symptoms

Unusual Body Appearances Associated with Pyroluria

For some Pyroluria sufferers they can also have multiple abnormalities in their physical appearance. Some of the more common physical appearances associated with Pyroluria are listed below.

Acne Overcrowding of teeth
Early greying of hair Poor wound healing
Hypo-pigmentation of skin Skin appears paper thin
Inability of skin to tan Stretch marks
Lack of hair on eyebrows or eyelashes White spots on fingernails

For a full list of body signs associated with Pyroluria please click here.

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What causes Pyroluria?

Evidence suggests that for some sufferers, Pyroluria is a genetic condition. Statistics and research indicate that if a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother or sister suffers from Major Depression, Bi-Polar Disorder, Alcoholism, Schizophrenia or has Suicided, that there is a greater risk of Pyroluria in other family members.

Studies indicate that Lifestyle Factors can also play a role in driving up HPL levels, thus leading to Pyroluria. 

  • Research discovered that stress increases the production of HPL (2,6,43)
  • An unpublished US navy study conducted in 1992 found a very rapid increase in HPL 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 HPL levels (9) 
  • Studies have shown that zinc deficiency increases bowel permeability leading to a condition know as Leaky Gut Syndrome (10-20). Leaky Gut Syndrome increases HPL in susceptible Pyroluria sufferers.
  • 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 HPL levels. Dysbiosis is a major cause of 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 dramatically increase blood HPL 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 town or recreational drug use.
  • For more information on What Causes Pyroluria

What Damage Can HPL Do?

  • Pyrroles (HPL) are classed as 'nerve poisons' (26) and can damage nerves, nerve cells.
  • HPL decreases haem levels. Animal studies have shown that HPL caused a decrease in liver haem, and it's haem detoxifying enzyme cytochrome P450, by up to 55% over a 48 hour period (30)
  • Nerves metabolic activity is highly dependent on haem,  low levels of haem lead to a metabolic crisis resulting in neuronal (nerve) cell death (27-29).
  • Vitamin B6, Biotin and Zinc are all required for the production of haem and a reduction in these nutrients results in sub normal haem levels (28,31).  
  • Haem levels are further depressed by stress and heavy metal exposure (28).  
  • Low levels of haem results 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).
  • Antioxidants protect cells from free radical damage. The body has 3 major antioxidant defence enzymes; Glutathione, Catalase and Superoxide Dismutase. All of these enzymes require  Zinc or Vitamin B6 in some part 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 hame. Autism and Schizophrenia sufferers have lower levels of catalase (35-37).

Is Pyroluria a Real Condition?

Unfortunately with many health conditions that are untreatable by conventional medicine they are deemed not real or don't exist. Regrettably, Pyroluria falls into this bracket, mainly because there are no drugs to increase Zinc, Vitamin B6 or Biotin levels and that most doctors are not trained in nutrition. Coupled with this there is misleading information available on the web, which is written by unqualified people who don't know or understand Pyroluria. Sadly, this combination leads people to believe that Pyroluria is a myth, and as such allows them no effective treatment or a proper diagnosis of Pyroluria.

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The information provided here is of a general nature intended for educational purposes only. We make no claims to diagnose, treat, prevent, alleviate or cure illnesses or diseases with any information or product stated. With any health issue we suggest you consult your healthcare professional before undertaking any health treatment.

I hope you found this blog useful and if you did please leave a comment or share on social media.

Thanks and have a great day

For Understanding Pyroluria References Please Click Here.

Greg Newson
Greg Newson


Greg Newson is a qualified Naturopath, Herbalist, Nutritionist and Health Enthusiast who is passionate about wellness and dedicated in educating people of the enormous potential of natural medicine.

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