Pyroluria, Pyrrole Disorder and the GABA Connection

by Greg Newson

Pyroluria, Pyrrole Disorder and the GABA Connection | Conquering Pyroluria

Pyroluria, Pyrrole Disorder and GABA

Many people suffering with Pyroluria or Pyrrole Disorder can also be afflicted with the debilitating effects of anxiety, panic attacks, nervousness, insomnia, a racing mind and even epilepsy, without really knowing the cause. To understand why Pyroluria and Pyrrole Disorder can provoke these health issues, we need to recognize the effects on the body of two important neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) GABA and Glutamate.

The difference between GABA and Glutamate

GABA is the body's major sedating and tranquilizing neurotransmitter, which is responsible for keeping us calm and relaxed. Whereas Glutamate is the excitatory neurotransmitter, responsible for increasing alertness, attention span and learning capabilities. As a generally rule Glutamate is more active during the day and GABA is more active at night when we sleep.

Problems occur when excessive Glutamate over stimulate receptors in the brain called N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDA). The over excitation of the NMDA receptors accelerates communication between neurons within the brain, resulting in a person feeling like things are moving at 100 miles an hour and that they have lost control. 

GABA is the brains breaking system and is in charge of down regulating excess glutamate and reducing NMDA over excitation. GABA neutralizes anxiety, panic attacks, nervousness and insomnia while calming an overactive mind and improving the quality and duration of sleep. GABA plays a crucial role in down regulating the hyper-excitability that occurs in the brains of epilepsy and seizure sufferers.

Symptoms of Low GABA

Symptoms of low GABA vary from person to person, below is a list of common GABA deficiency symptoms.

ADHD Insomnia
Alcoholism Low Digestive Enzymes
Anxiety Mood Disorders
Bi-Polar Disorder Motion Sickness
Convulsions Nervousness
Depression Panic Attacks
Digestive Disorders Racing Mind
Feeling Overwhelmed Seizures
Hypertension Tourettes Syndrome

Pyroluria, Pyrrole Disorder and GABA Deficiency

The amino acid L-Glutamine is the precursor to the neurotransmitter Glutamate, which under normal circumstances is converted to GABA when the body requires it. For this conversion process to effective take place a few criteria's need to be met;

  • The diet needs to be high in L-Glutamine rich foods namely, animal protein, seafood, dairy, eggs, nuts, legumes and beans.
  • There needs to be adequate levels of stomach acid, which removes L-Glutamine from it's food source. A deficiency in stomach acid can result in reflux, flatulence, burping and rancid breath. Vitamin B6 and Zinc are essential in the manufacture of stomach acid. 
  • For Glutamate to be effectively converted into GABA the enzyme Glutamate Decarboxylase is required. This enzyme is total dependant on Vitamin B6 for it's up regulation. Low levels of Vitamin B6 results in an inability to effectively convert Glutamate into GABA, leading to an over stimulation of the brain neurons due to the excessive amounts of Glutamate.

A deficiency in Zinc or Vitamin B6 can hinder the manufacture of GABA. Unfortunately these deficiencies are all to common in sufferers of Pyroluria and Pyrrole Disorder 

GABA and Glutamate Pathways

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How To Increase GABA Levels naturally?

There are a few options available for sufferers of Pyroluria and Pyrrole Disorder to increase GABA Levels.

  • Take a nutritional supplement like Pyrrole Support that contains the correct amounts of Zinc and Vitamin B6 required for Pyroluria and Pyrrole Disorder sufferers
  • Supplementation with GABA, may offer short term respite, but it wont fix any underlying imbalances. It is just by-passing the body’s own natural metabolic processes, which generally leads to long term supplementation. GABA requirements can vary between individuals and taking a GABA supplement can have serous repercussions on other neurotransmitters. For example too much GABA can inhibit the release of serotonin. Low serotonin leads to depression, aggressiveness, migraines, ADD and insomnia. Excessive GABA also reduces available Dopamine, which is required for learning, mood enhancement, improved memory, motivation and fluent movement.
  • A more natural approach is to supply the body the nutrients it needs manufacture GABA and modulate it as required. In our clinic we use B-Calm Capsules or Powder to supply a balanced ratio of nutrients that the body can utilize in manufacturing GABA. Along with B-Calm we also implement GabRelax a non alcoholic blend of herbs that normalize and repair the function of the GABA and Benziodiazepein receptors resulting in a more balanced uptake of GABA. 

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To gain more insight into how Pyroluria contributes to low GABA please listen to this podcast.

More Info On  Pyroluria and Pyrrole Disorder

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Thanks and have a great day

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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