Pyroluria – The Missing Link in Depression

o-WOMAN-DEPRESSION-facebookEver suffered from depression but had no relief from antidepressants?

You may be suffering from Pyroluria.

If you’ve never heard of this condition, your are not alone.

Chances are your doctor hasn’t heard of it either.

Pyroluria is a genetic condition that causes anxiety, depression and mood swings which often starts in the late-teens.

It can be presented as very mild to severe and is very much affected by levels of stress.

The onset of Pyroluria usually occurs with a traumatic incident such as car accident, parental divorce or death of a loved one.

This condition is more common than you would think and it is estimated as high as 20% of all psychiatric patients and 40% of people with schizophrenia have Pyroluria.


Kryptopyrroles and Mood

Pyroluria is classified as a blood disorder. When the body produces hemoglobin (a protein that holds iron in the red blood cell) there is a byproduct called kryptopyrroles.

Kryptopyrroles don’t really serve any useful biological purpose and are normally excreted by most of us uneventfully.

In someone with Pyroluria, the kryptopyrroles multiply too rapidly and block receptor sites for B-6 (pyrodoxine) and zinc leading to a serious deficiency of these two nutrients.

Among other things, B6 and zinc directly help maintain a healthy emotional state.

Sufferers of Pyroluria cannot efficiently create serotonin (a neurotransmitter that reduces anxiety and depression) since vitamin B6 is an important factor in the last step of its synthesis.

Pyrolurics also have a greater than normal need for omega-6 fatty acids, particularly dietary arachidonic acid (AA–found readily in eggs, butter, red meat and liver) and the essential fatty acid GLA (gamma linolenic acid– found in supplements like black currant seed oil and evening primrose oil).


Medical Misdiagnosis

The sad truth is that most people with Pyroluria go undiagnosed.

Though pyroluria was identified over 40 years ago, it has only been recognised as a medical condition for about 10 years and many mental health practitioners are unaware of this condition and misdiagnose it as mental disorder.

The reason for this lack of knowledge in the medical field may be put down to one factor – there are no drugs to treat Pyroluria.



The following list includes the most common symptoms associated with the condition Pyroluria.  If you answer “yes” to 15 or more of these then further testing may be worthwhile:

1. Being anxious, shy, or fearful or experiencing inner tension since childhood, but hiding these feelings from others
2. Having bouts of depression or nervous exhaustion
3. Poor dream recall, stressful or bizarre dreams, or nightmares (low vitamin B6)

4. Excessive reactions to tranquilizers, barbiturates, alcohol, or other drugs, in which a little produces a powerful response (low vitamin B6)
5. Preferring not to eat breakfast, experiencing light nausea in the morning, or being prone to motion sickness (low vitamin B6)

6. White spots or flecks on the fingernails or opaquely white or paper-thin nails (low zinc)
7. Liquid zinc sulfate having a mild taste or tasting like water (low zinc)
8. Poor appetite or having a poor sense of smell or taste (low zinc)
9. Joints popping, cracking, or aching; pain or discomfort between the shoulder blades; or cartilage problems (low zinc)

10. Pale or fair skin or being the palest in the family, or sunburning easily, now or when younger 11. Disliking protein or having ever been a vegetarian or vegan
12. Being sensitive to bright sunlight or noise
13. Upper abdominal pain on your left side under the ribs or, as a child, having a stitch in your side as you ran

14. Frequent fatigue

15. Being prone to iron anemia or low ferritin levels

16. Tending to have cold hands or feet
17. Having frequent colds or infections, or unexplained chills or fever
18. Reaching puberty later than normal or having irregular menstruation or PMS
19. Having allergies, adrenal issues, or problems with sugar metabolism
20. Having gluten sensitivity
21. Neurotransmitter imbalances, especially low serotonin
22. For women, belonging to an all-girl family or having look-alike sisters
23. For men, having a mother from an all-girl family or a mother with look-alike sisters, or all the females in the mother’s family bearing a strong resemblance to each other
24. Avoiding stress because it upsets your emotional balance
25. Tending to become dependent on one person whom you build your life around
26. Preferring the company of one or two close friends rather than a gathering of friends; becoming more of a loner as you age
27. Feeling uncomfortable with strangers
28. Being bothered by being seated in the middle of the room in a restaurant
29. Being easily upset by criticism

A simple urine test is used to diagnose Pyroluria. Urine is tested for elevated levels of krytopyrroles.

The Emed Pyroluria Test provides an simple test kit that can be completed in the comfort of your own home.

Once your sample is collected, it is simply posted off to the pathology lab for analysis.

To find out more about this test click here.



Pyroluria is managed in part by restoring vitamin B6 and zinc.

The type of replacement therapy is very important as both nutrients must be provided in an efficiently absorbed form.

Vitamin B6 is available in several forms. The activated form of B6 is the most effective as the body does not have to convert it, making it more bioavailable. This activated B6 can be found in Thorne P-5-P (activated B6) supplement.

A zinc liquid is the most bioavailable and will be absorbed the quickest. Zinc liquid drink can be used to replenish zinc levels.

Other nutrients may assist in pyroluria include:

Manganese – This vital nutrient is depleted when zinc is taken at the high levels necessary for treating pyroluria. Manganese is necessary for the metabolism of certain proteins; it is also important to joint development and neurotransmitter production.

Magnesium – Taking B6 in large amounts can deplete magnesium levels; adding magnesium can reduce irritability and hypersensitivity to light and sound.

Niacin (Vitamin B3) – This nutrient is necessary for the production of tryptophan, which in turn is necessary for the production of serotonin. Taking niacinamide helps to speed the pyroluria recovery process.

Vitamin C and Pantothenic Acid – These nutrients help to rebuild adrenal glands that have been exhausted from coping with the ongoing tension caused by pyroluria; taking them alongside zinc and B6 allows Pyrolurics to overcome the weakness and fatigue they often feel.

Food sources and nutritional supplements containing copper should be avoided as they can decrease the absorption of zinc.


Final Word:

The symptoms of pyroluria are frequently mistaken for signs of other illnesses; all too often, doctors prescribe medications to treat the overt symptoms without taking the time to further investigate their root cause.

With the appropriate lab testing, you can determine the core problem.

Once a pyrrole disorder has been identified, you will be able to take the measures necessary to correct the problem, improving your health and your overall quality of life.

If you would like for information on Pyroluria talk to your Emed Practitioner Today.


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