~A Wholistic Way To Life~™
|Jennifer Echert, Naturopath
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Pyroluria is a condition whose root cause is an inborn genetic error in the
production of too much "kryptopyrrole" (KP) in the blood. Elevated
kryptopyrrole levels result from an abnormality in hemoglobin (the protein
that holds iron in red blood cells). Kryptopyrrole binds with the essential
nutrients of vitamin B6 and zinc and is excreted into the urine as pyrroles and
when present in elevated levels produces a dramatic double deficiency by
making them unavailable for their important roles of co-factors in enzymatic
reactions and metabolism. Arachidonic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) is also
affected and becomes deficient.
Pyroluria is a feature of many behavioral and emotional disorders. Elevated
levels of kryptopyrrole produce symptoms including irritability, anger
episodes, poor memory, impaired intellectual function, impaired immune
function and inability to deal with stress. Patients are easily identified by their
inability to tan, poor dream recall, abnormal fat distribution, and sensitivity to
light and sound.
Why is it important to be aware of pyroluria? What are some
symptoms that one should pay attention to?
Pyroluria can be responsible for a wide range of behavioral conditions in
adults, including chronic depression, paranoia, schizophrenia and even certain
types of criminal behavior. Historically, these conditions have been easily
misdiagnosed. Thus, early testing is essential for anyone exhibiting such
symptoms. The symptoms of excess urinary kryptopyrrole first manifest
themselves as behavioral abnormalities.
Who does pyroluria affect? Young? Old? Women? Men? All of the
Pyroluria is characterized by a high degree of perceptual disorganization. While
present in up to 70% of diagnosed schizophrenic and depressive cases it is
also present in other patients including alcoholics, anxiety states, and in
children with learning and behavioral disorders. It is present in ten percent of
a non-psychiatric stressed population. It is also in most cases of lung cancer.
Due to its inborn basis, its symptoms can manifest from a very early age.
Testing is especially valuable for children, who are very difficult to diagnose
based on symptoms alone because they vary so much one from the other.
While it can occur in any group, certain ethnic backgrounds show an increased
percentage of pyrolurics including the Irish.
Is this a physical or mental disorder? Or is it both?
Pyroluria is an inborn physical condition that manifests in both physical and
behavioral symptoms: poor tolerance of physical and emotional stress, mood
swings, depression, sensitivity to light, noise and other tactile sensitivities.
Later symptoms can range from severe depression to chronic schizophrenia.
Accompanying physical symptoms can include pain, seizures, even complete
What are some holistic ways to resolve pyroluria?
Fortunately, elevated kryptopyrrole levels and Pyroluria are usually simple to
resolve, once the proper tests have been performed and a correct diagnosis
has been made.
The decisive laboratory test is analysis for kryptopyrroles in urine. Treatment
is centered on zinc and B6 supplements together with B3 and omega-6
essential fatty acids. If left undiagnosed and untreated, the condition can lead
to a wide range of significant health problems, with adults showing increased
Because the treatment has a metabolic rather than pharmacologic basis, it
must be titrated to individual requirements. A variety of factors are taken into
consideration when developing a treatment regimen. Both zinc and B6
supplementation need to be directed by a practitioner, as too much can be
toxic. Use of the correct form of vitamin B6 and zinc is necessary to be
effective. Avoiding competing minerals and supplements may also be
Vitamin B6 is important in the formation of many neurotransmitters. B6
deficiency is associated with agitation, irritability, depression and impaired
intellectual function. Kryptopyrrole elevation can also be associated with poor
tolerance of physical stress. In advanced cases, severe pain in the joints and
extremities may be present.
Has any research been done citing statistics about who suffers form
Abram Hoffer and Carl Pfeiffer provided the original discovery research.
Although a substantial proportion of psychiatric diseases can be traced to
excess urinary kryptopyrrole, other conditions with a genetic basis, such as
Autism, frequently show elevated pyrrole levels. In more general cases there
can be emotional symptoms, physical symptoms, or both simultaneously. It is
therefore easy to understand how a misdiagnosis can occur — hence the
importance of early testing. In formal clinical trials, the following percentages
were determined for frequency of elevated pyrrole in a range of test subjects:
Autism - 50% (Audha)
Alcoholism - 40% (Mathews-Larson)
ADHD - 30% (Walsh)
Schizophrenia & Depression - 70% (Hoffer)