Is Pyrrole Disorder the Problem?

by Greg Newson

Is Pyrrole Disorder the Problem?

Pyrrole Disorder is known by many different names including the commonly used names of Pyroluria, Kryptopyrroles, and the lesser used names of Kryptopyrroluria, Pyrroluria, Pyrolle Disorder, Mauve Factor and Hemepyrrole.

Pyrrole Disorder can best be described as the abnormal synthesis and metabolism of the oxygen carrying molecule in your blood, called hemoglobin. All cells in your body produce waste or by-products and the by-product of hemoglobin is a metabolite called hydroxyhemopyrrolin-2-one (HPL) also known as Pyrrole. This metabolite was originally thought to be a Kryptopyrrole but further studies have proven this not the case.

People who suffer from Pyrrole Disorder produce excessive amounts of HPL which, binds to or inhibits the nutrients; Zinc1-7, vitamin B61-7, Biotin8, and the Omega 6 Fat GLA from reaching their targets within your body. This effectively renders these nutrients unavailable.

Supplementation with the above nutrients helps to reduce your HPL levels as well as the severity of the conditions, signs and symptoms listed below.

Video 1

Video 2

Pyroluria Fact or Fiction?

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

Conditions Associated With Pyrrole Disorder

ADD/ADHD Criminal Behavior Neurosis/Neurotic
Acute Intermittent Porphyria 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 Pyrrole Disorder

There are many symptoms and signs that may indicate the presence of elevated HPL in your blood. The list below may give you an indication that you may be suffering from Pyrrole disorder, however this is not a diagnosis for Pyrrole Disorder. For a proper diagnosis we recommend a Pyroluria Test which can be ordered through our online web 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 eosinophils Preference for spicy or heavily flavored 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
Hyper-pigmentation of the skin Social withdrawal
Hypoglycemia Substance abuse
Inability to think clearly Temper tantrums
Insomnia Tendency towards iron deficient anemia
Intolerance to alcohol Tingling in the arms and legs
Intolerance to drugs Tremors
Intolerance to some protein foods Unusual smelling body odor
Joint pain Unusual smelling breath
Knee pain

Unusual Body Signs Associated with Pyrrole Disorder

Sufferers of Pyrrole Disorder may also have abnormalities in their physical appearance such as;

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

What Causes Pyrrole Disorder?

There is evidence to suggest that Pyrrole Disorder is a genetically based ailment as well as a disorder caused by a variety of lifestyle issues such as poor diet, leaky gut syndrome, stress and poor digestion. Statistics and research indicates that if a parent, brother, sister, grandparent, aunt or uncle had suffered from or sufferers from Alcoholism, Schizophrenia, Depression, Bi-Polar Disorder or has suicided, there is a greater risk of Pyrrole Disorder in other family members.

Poor dietary choices and poor digestive health can lead to an increase in HPL levels9 This makes sense as poor diet and digestion robs your body of essential nutrients and leads to malabsorbtion leading to deficiencies which results in poor health and illness. Unfortunately it’s a downward spiral as without the correct nutrients you can’t function properly, which increases the stresses placed on your body while further driving up blood HPL levels.

Research has discovered that stress increases the production of HPL in your blood, which in turn causes a worsening of your symptoms.2,6,43

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

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 causing intestinal inflammation. Both of which lead to an increase in Leaky Gut Syndrome.9, 21,22,23

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

Dysbiosis, an overgrowth of detrimental bacteria or Candida an overgrowth of fungal spores in the intestinal tract, has also been linked to an increase in blood HPL 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 HPL levels. This is why sufferers of Pyrrole Disorder tend to get a worsening of their symptoms 24 to 48 hours after a big night out or recreational drug use.

What Damage Can Elevated Pyrrole Levels Cause?

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.

Free radicals or oxidative stress are substances that can damage and destroy your cells. Antioxidants are substances found in food and are produced by your body to protect cells from oxidative stress - much like the way galvanized 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 with 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 Pyrrole Disorder is associated with lower catalase levels, as is the case in schizophrenia and autism 35-37.

Heme is a substance found in your body that has an iron atom at its core. The most commonly know heme is hemoglobin, 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 hemoglobin metabolism HPL, 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 heavy metal exposure and stress 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.

Pyrrole Disorder The Statistics

Below is a table that shows neuro-behavioural disorders and the percentages of high HPL associated with those disorders 9.

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

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 that 84% of alcoholics had high levels of HPL whereas another study found only 20% of alcoholics had high levels of HPL.

Why Isn’t Pyrrole Disorder Accepted By Medicine?

Unfortunately Pyrrole Disorder falls outside the realm of 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. Unfortunately medicine mostly relies on drugs to suppress a symptom or relieve suffering and this form of treatment won't work for Pyrrole disorder. Sadly sufferers of Pyrrole Disorder fall through the cracks and are often misdiagnosed and given medication or drugs that do nothing to rectify the underlying problem. Sadly these medications can lead to further deterioration of a persons health.>

What next?

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

Testing for Pyrrole Disorder

We understand it may be difficult to come and see us at the clinic so we have made it easy to find out whether you may be suffering from Pyrrole Disorder. All you need to do is order a Pyroluria Test through our online web store. We will send you the Pyroluria test kit, a full set of instructions on how to collect your urine sample and a express post satchel to send off to pathology. Once we have your results we will analyze these and send you a detailed report including suggested nutritional supplements and dietary advice to rectify your body’s underlying imbalances. It’s that easy.

What treatment do you have if I have already tested for Pyrrole Disorder?

If you have already tested positive or borderline for Pyrrole Disorder we can offer the following services to you;

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

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

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Greg Newson
Greg Newson


Greg is a Naturopathic Doctor and Clinical Herbalist. He is passionate about educating people on all matters of health. Qualifications: B.Sc Health Science, Adv. Dip Naturopathy, Adv. Dip Herbal Medicine, Adv. Dip Nutrition, Dip Remedial Massage

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