I briefly touched on Pyroluria in my article on Social Anxiety Disorder and I promised I would write more about it.
The first time I ever heard about Pyroluria was almost 3 years ago. I was amazed and after looking at a list of symptoms I knew that this was something I have been affected by for most of my life and my son too.
Therefore, I thought everyone would appreciate a Pyroluria Symptoms Checklist. Who doesn’t love a good checklist right? I find it helpful to have a visual resource in that form.
But first I do want to lay out some important details about Pyroluria. I hope you find this article not only interesting but helpful.
First of All – What is Pyroluria?
Many social anxiety symptoms and other types of symptoms including physical symptoms that we will discuss here often result from a genetic condition that’s called Pyroluria also known as pyrrole disorder.
Pyroluria occurs because of the faulty synthesis of heme. Heme is a component mainly of hemoglobin in our blood, heme synthesis is the process by which heme is made. When this heme synthesis is messed up we get elevated levels of Hydroxyhemopyrrolin-2-one (HPL), more commonly referred to as pyrroles. These pyrroles attach themselves to vitamin B6 and zinc which then leave our bodies in great amounts through our urine. The elevated numbers of pyrroles are what show up in a urine test. People who do not have Pyroluria have low levels of pyrroles which serve no purpose to the body.
Summary: Elevated levels of pyrroles attach to vitamin B6 and zinc and are excreted in our urine. So people with elevated pyrroles have low levels of vitamin B6 and zinc. This condition is called Pyroluria.
The Importance of Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B6 is one of the vitamins and minerals necessary for the body to convert tryptophan to serotonin.
- Is a major factor in protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism
- A significant factor in the creation of red blood cells
- A significant factor in the creation of neurotransmitters (these affect our mood)
- Decreases levels of homocysteine; linked to depression, narrowing of arteries, and age-related macular degeneration
- Depressive symptoms are associated with low levels of B6
- May be helpful in preventing and treating anemia that is caused by low B6
- One study showed taking 75 mg of vitamin B6 daily during pregnancy improved anemia in 56 pregnant women who had not responded to treatment with iron.
- Is used to treat nausea
- May reduce the risk of certain cancers such as colorectal and breast (esp. post-menopause)
The Importance of Zinc
- Second most abundant trace mineral in our bodies
- Present in every cell
- Necessary for the activity of over 300 enzymes
- Vital for digestion, nerve function, and metabolism
- Important for the health of our largest organ – our skin (helps acne)
- Critical in developing and functioning of immune cells, deficiency = weakened immune system
- Plays an important role in cell growth and division.
- Speeds up wound healing, (needed for collagen synthesis & inflammatory response)
- Can reduce the risk of pneumonia
- May reduce the risk of macular degeneration
- Boosts T-cell activity (immune response)
- Decreases oxidative stress, chronic inflammation
Please Note: Our bodies do not produce Vitamin B6 or zinc so we have to get it from food or supplements. Individuals who do not have Pyroluria probably do not need to take supplements. Consult your doctor. Balance is essential, taking an excess of either can cause health complications so stick with the recommendations and take a week off now and then.
Now for the Checklist!
I’ve learned most of these over the last 3 years from Trudy Scott, a certified nutritionist known as the Food Mood Expert.
The first three on the list can specifically indicate a vitamin B6 deficiency
- Inability to remember dreams or having stressful dreams or nightmares
- Having strong reactions to tranquilizers, barbiturates, alcohol, or other drugs
- Don’t like to eat breakfast, may have light nausea in the mornings
These symptoms may specifically indicate a zinc deficiency.
- White spots on fingernails or paper-thin nails
- Stretch marks or wounds that take a long time to heal*
- Poor appetite, sense of smell or taste
- Bad breath, body odor, sweet, fruity odor when stressed*
- Joints always pop, crack, or ache.
- Cartilage problems
- Crowded upper front teeth, a lot of cavities, inflamed gums*
The following symptoms may indicate low B6 and low zinc:
- Frequent fatigue
- Poor anger control
- Low tolerance for stress
- Allergies or adrenal issues
- Low ferritin levels, iron-deficient anemia
- Depression, nervous exhaustion
- Anxious, shy, fearful, inner tension
- Low serotonin or other neurotransmitters
- Gluten sensitivity
- Problems metabolizing sugar
- Abnormal fat distribution
- Dislike protein, have been vegan or vegetarian
- Cold hands/feet
- Sensitive to light
- Sensitive to noise
- Tactile sensitivities, IE: don’t like how your socks feel etc…
- Pale, fare or translucent skin, sunburn easily, inability to tan
- Stitch in your side when you ran, esp as a child
- Frequent colds
- Unexplained chills or fever
- Frequent infections
- Reaching puberty later than normal
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Easily upset by criticism
- Bothered if seated in the middle of the restaurant
- Feel uncomfortable with strangers
- Prefer to be around one or two close friends
- Become dependent on one person who you build your life around
- Avoid stress because it upsets your emotional balance
- Belong to an all-girl family or have look-alike sisters
- Men: Mother is from an all-girl family or look-alike sisters
- Prone to eczema or psoriasis, acne*
- Prone to herpes*
- Tingling or muscle spasms in legs or arms*
- Stressed by a change in routine*
- Morning constipation*
- Hard time remembering past events and people*
- Focused internally, on yourself rather than the external world*
- Face looks swollen when under a lot of stress*
- Cluster or blinding headaches*
- One or more of the following: Psychiatric Disorder, schizophrenia, high or low histamine, alcoholism, learning, and behavioral disorders, autism, or Down syndrome*
- Reduced hair on head, eyebrows, eyelashes*
- Prematurely gray hair*
*Symptoms marked with an asterisk are less common.
If you check off 15 or more of these, it is likely you have Pyroluria.
Individuals with the following conditions often have Pyroluria:
I think I have Pyroluria – What should I do now?
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(The links below will take you to iherb or Amazon and will open in a new page)
You can start taking daily:
- 30 mg Zinc (without copper)
- 100 mg Vit B6 OR 25 mg P5P (the active form of B6, much stronger)
- 1300 mg Evening Primrose Oil
- Multi-vitamin with Manganese
- 350 mg Magnesium
- 500 mg Vitamin C
If this helps, there is nothing wrong with taking it indefinitely. Just don’t take higher doses than this.
If you want to get a test you get a home test at DHA Laboratory by clicking here. (I do not receive any compensation for recommending this lab)
More to Come
I have been learning about Pyroluria for 3 years and this is just the tip of the iceberg as far as what may be causing it … is it genetic or epigenetic? There are other issues it can be implicated in and a lot more specifics on treatments.
I was just watching an amazing interview today about Adult-onset Pyroluria and a hypothesis behind what may cause it. It was mentioned that Pyroluria is severely under-diagnosed, many people go decades before ever finding out they have it or that it even exists! Clinicians are testing their patients and finding out that MOST of them test positive.
I’m excited about this information because I’m living proof that the simple vitamins listed above work. I started taking them and giving them to my son and pretty soon we realized our symptoms were improving.
For example, before we started the supplements we were both dreading a social engagement that should have been fun… going to the movies with friends. We were trying to think about how we could get out of it. After taking the supplements for a couple of weeks we had a backyard BBQ party to go to and neither one of us was dreading it at all. That is just one of many examples, the stitch in his side disappeared, tactile sensitivities went away, and more.
My point is that I will be writing more articles about Pyroluria in the next weeks and months to try to give you a more comprehensive understanding but for now… try the supplements and please leave me comments and questions below.
Thanks for visiting,
Disclaimer: The information on this website is for educational purposes only; it is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical or mental health conditions. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider to evaluate and treat your physical and mental symptoms.