There is often a family history of these factors as well as a history of addictions such as alcoholism, drugs and gambling as well as more severe symptoms such as severe depression and anxiety, schizophrenia, suicide, criminality, seizures and physical debilitation.
Further Information on Pyrrole Disorder
Read information compiled by Bill Walsh, Head Scientist at the Pfeiffer Institute or email our Pharmacists.
What is Pyroluria? It is a genetically acquired chemical imbalance in which the body produces an abnormally large number of pyrroles. A pyrolle is a chemical consisting of a 5 membered aromatic ring. These chemicals are the byproduct of hemoglobin synthesis and have no known function in the body; they are normally excreted in the urine. Most people have very few pyrroles in their system at any given time; certain individuals, however, have an unusually high number of pyrroles in their bodies, resulting in a condition known as pyroluria.
Also known as Mauve Factor (due to the mauve color visible on testing paper during urinalysis) or pyrrole disorder, pyroluria occurs when the pyrroles bind to pyroxidine (vitamin B6) and zinc, causing these vital nutrients to be excreted from the body in large amounts.
Deficiencies of B6 and zinc are associated with a wide range of emotional and psychiatric problems. Nervousness, extreme irritability, anxiety, depression, short-term memory problems, and explosive anger have all been linked to pyroluria. A large percentage of patients with psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia exhibit high levels of pyroles; emotionally disturbed children and excessive alcohol intake also tend to have an abnormally high pyrrole count.
In addition, zinc deficiencies have been associated with a number of physiological disorders, including poor immune function, poor growth, and delayed sexual development. Because zinc and B6 are so important to both our overall physical and mental health, identifying and treating this devastating condition is critical.
Clinical Use and Diagnosis: Pyrrole disorder is seen by an elevated urine kryptopyrrole, which results in a dramatic deficiency of zinc and vitamin B6. Pyroluria, Elevated Pyrroles, or a high Kryptopyrrole result, is frequently identified in behavior disorders, autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, ADD, depression, bipolar disorders, assaultive/aggressive/violent behavior, schizophrenia and other mental and emotional conditions. Pyroluria, elevated pyrroles, or a high kryptopyrrole result, can create poor tolerance of physical and emotional stress, poor anger control, emotional mood swings, depression, anxiety, poor short term memory, frequent infections, inability to tan, poor recall for dream abnormal fat distribution, sensitivity to light and sound and tactile sensitivities. These symptoms can be treated.
Testing: The presence of urinary pyrroles can be established using a colorimetric biochemical screening test adapted from Carl Pfeiffer’s method. Urine is collected in two vials, one containing ascorbic acid, wrapped in aluminum foil then frozen immediately for transport. The analysis is very sensitive and results are expressed as µg/dL (micro grams of urinary pyrrole per deciliter of urine). Samples containing urinary pyrroles at a level of 0 - 10 µg/dL are considered normal or negative, samples of 10 – 15 µg/dL are considered borderline, and samples above 15 µg/dL are considered positive.
Treatment: Treatment of pyroluria consists of a replacement of zinc and vitamin B6. Because the treatment is replacing deficiencies not pharmacologic, it needs to 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 to much can be toxic, use of wrong form ineffective, and avoiding competing minerals and supplements may be necessary.