What Is Pyrrole Disorder And What Are The Symptoms?

woman holding head on couch| pyrrole disorder symptoms | Perpetual Wellbeing

You may have heard the term Pyrrole, Pyrroluria, Pyrrole Disorder, Kryptopyrole, or even Mauve Factor: they are all referring to a condition that results in an overproduction of pyrroles or hydroxyhaemopyrrolin-2-one (HPL). But what is Pyrrole Disorder and what are the symptoms and treatment options?

This HPL molecule, is a by-product of red blood cell production which is excreted from the body via the kidney and into urine. The HPL molecule has a strong affinity for B6 and zinc which it binds to – stripping our reserves then forcing their excretion.

Can the stripping of B6 and Zinc really be such a big deal? YES it can: B6 and zinc are critical for many of our bodies major processes such as digestion, immune function, and they are the raw materials needed to make the neurotransmitters that make us feel happy and calm: GABBA & Serotonin. They are also crucial in balancing our hormones: ensuring we don’t have breast tenderness, heavy periods.

Understanding that the disorder is an increase in the excretion primarily of zinc and B6, the signs and symptoms of pyrrole disorder closely follow that of a B6 and zinc deficiency:

Common Pyrrole Disorder Symptoms

White spots on nailsMorning nausea / poor morning
Joint and/or skin complaints PMS
Heavy periodsRepeated miscarriages
FatigueShort fuse reactions
AnxietyMood swings
Digestive complaintsStretch marks
Poor dream recallBeing dramatic
Pale complexion that burns easily*Sensitivity to tags on clothes and
certain fabrics against skin
Sensitivity to noise and lights Under achievement regardless of

*although I have seen some of the highest results in tanned children with beautiful flawless complexions

Often people have a quite inner tension that no one knows about. They have learnt to deal with and hide it from an early age thinking its “just me”.

There is a correlation between HPL concentrations and mental illness however they are not specific to these patients:

Down’s syndrome
Bipolar disorderLearning disabilities

What Makes Pyrrole Disorder Worse?

Pyrrole disorder is exacerbated by stress and traumatic events. From starting school, a new job, the onset of menopause, or periods, a marriage breakdown, redundancy, new carer anything that an individual finds significantly stressful can exacerbate symptoms (when we can least afford it too!).

Food intolerances and impaired methylation are often seen with pyrrole disorder and can magnify its effect.

Zinc and copper ratios sit on opposite ends of a seesaw therefore avoiding high copper foods, copper bracelets and copper water pipes is crucial in these patients as it further exacerbates a zinc deficiency.

Is Pyrrole Disorder Genetic?

Pyroluria is genetic: a child of a parent with Pyrrole disorder has a 50% chance of it being passed onto them, if both parents are pyrrole positive there is a 75% chance of offspring inheriting the disorder; which is why I often suggest to families if one family member is effected its worth investigating the rest of family.

How Is Pyrrole Disorder Diagnosed?

The first thing I’ll do is ask you to complete a questionnaire and take a thorough case history to see if we need to consider further testing. Should you have a high likelihood of being positive I will order laboratory testing to confirm the diagnosis and understand the extent of Pyrrole Disorder.

  • Less than 10 micrograms of HPL per decilitre is normal
  • Between 10 and 20 µg/dL of HPL is considered borderline
  • Over 20 µg/dL is considered pyroluria

Pyrrole disorder testing:
The Pyrrole test is a urine sample. It is little different to most functional pathology testing in that it needs to be taken in a dark room as the HPL markers are destroyed by light. It also needs to be put onto dry ice straight away. We offer our patients two options: a QML lab can be used but you will need to confirm a dry ice courier ahead of time OR some patients choose
to go to our lab testing partner: Applied Analytical directly based in Meadowbrook, QLD. Once your sample is collected you hand it in and you’re done! I will talk you through the options and find the most appropriate collection method for you.

How Is Pyrrole Disorder Treated?

Pyrrole Disorder is corrected by supplementing individualised, therapeutic dosages of specific nutrients. Not one approach fits all patients: it is my job to skilfully find the most appropriate nutrients at the right levels for you. Pyrroles are highly oxidative so your treatment will often involve some antioxidant nutrients to combat that component of the disorder.

Nutrients include: Vitamin B6, pyridoxine-5-phosphate (the active form of Vitamin B6) zinc and magnesium. Other supportive nutrients may include: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and evening primrose oil, Vitamin D, B12, Vitamin A and Biotin and manganese.

In some cases I may suggest we compound your nutrients specifically for you to achieve optimal dosing. This is assessed on a case by case basis. We also have the ability to dose some nutrients via creams for young children or those who battle taking tablets.

How long before Pyrrole Disorder symptoms subside?
Your level of deficiency will dictate how long it takes to feel the better. Those with mild or moderate symptoms of Pyrrole Disorder may see a dramatic response very quickly in as little as a week to four weeks. Those with more severe symptoms usually require one to three months before some improvement is seen, and then gradually greater improvement over 3-12 months.

If you are concerned that you may have Pyroluria, make an appointment with me today and we can explore whether your symptoms may indeed by Pyrrole Disorder and get you started on the most appropriate treatment plan.