Pyrrole disorder (Pyroluria)

5 Mar 2018 10:24 AMBeata Ozhylovski

Pyrrole disorder, also known as kryptopyrroles or pyroluria or Mauve disorder was originally identified in the 1950s by Dr Abram Hoffer, Dr Humphrey Osmond and Dr Carl Pfeiffer. Pyroluria is a chemical imbalance involving an abnormality in haemoglobin synthesis and metabolism. Suffers of this condition produce too much of a byproduct called hydroxyhemopyrrolin-2-one (HPL). The HPL binds to zinc and B6 preventing their absorption by the body and causing excretion in the urine, eventually the condition manifests as a serious zinc and B6 deficiency.

Symptoms of Pyroluria 

Includes a wide range of physical, emotional and cognitive symptoms such as:

  • Schizophrenia
  • ADHD
  • Autism
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety (including panic attacks)
  • Depression
  • Alcoholism
  • Poor dream recall
  • Low tolerance for stress
  • Antisocial behaviour
  • Behavioural problems (especially in children and teenagers) such as oppositional/defiant disorder
  • Emotional instability, explosive temper
  • Frequent joint pain
  • Frequent infections
  • Poor appetite, especially in the morning
  • Low tolerance for protein – tend to favor vegetarian diets
  • Pale complexion, inability to tan
  • White spots on the fingernails
  • Nausea, motion sickness
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Allergies
  • Fatigue

Causes of pyroluria

  • Hereditary – Clinical evidence suggests that if a parent has pyroluria, there is a 50:50 chance it will be passed on to a child. This rises to a 75% chance of inheriting the disorder if both parents have it.
  • Stress / childhood trauma – Is one of the main factors that worsen pyroluria symptoms for those who already have it. However, it is not clear if stress is an actual cause of the condition.
  • Alcohol / recreational drugs –  Symptoms of pyroluria tend to get worse 24 to 48 hours after a big night out drinking or recreational drug use.
  • Environmental toxicity / heavy metal poisoning – Most individuals with pyroluria tend to suffer from heavy metal imbalances including copper, mercury, lead, aluminium…..
  • Poor diet and or digestive issues –  Intestinal permeability which leads to depletion of nutrients should be considered when a patient presents with elevated HPL.

Testing for pyroluria disorder

The test that I recommend is called a Mauve Factor (Kryptopyrrole) test, it is a urine test to look for kryptopyrroles.

  • Normal range less than 10mcg/dL of KPU.
  • Persons with 10-20 mcg/dl are considered to have “borderline” pyroluria.
  • Persons with levels above 20 mcg/dl are considered to have the disorder.

Warning – The test can be a bit tricky. Pyrrole is extremely sensitive to light and heat, a urine sample must be collected in an environment with the least exposure to light as possible. A preservative agent is used to stabilise the quality of the urine, wrapped in aluminium foil and frozen upon collection. It is advised not take any B6 or zinc supplements for at least two weeks prior to collection of the sample as it will give a potential false reading. Protein powders and sport drinks also must be stopped 4 days prior to testing.

Treatment for pyroluria disorder

Individuals with Pyrrole disorder require supplementation with B6, zinc and essential fatty acids, the dosage plus the need for other nutrients must be evalutaed on an individual basis. A history of long term zinc deficiency can result in an increase in copper in the body. Zinc and copper share an antagonistic relationship, if zinc is low then it can allow copper levels to build up in the body. Symptoms of excess copper can lead to anxiety, depression, constipation, dry skin, cold hands and feet etc etc…..

**Note – It is not advisable for people to self medicate as some people can’t utilise these nutrients properly and so close observation by a practitioner is important.

Dietary recommendations

  • Include a rainbow of varied vegetables to improve antioxidant status.
  • Limit inflammatory foods that may increase gut permeability.
  • Increase zinc rich foods e.g. red meat, oysters, nuts and eggs.
  • Limit or avoid grains, the physic acid in grains is considered an anti-nutrient because of its ability to bind with minerals such as zinc and calcium and prevent their absorption.
  • Avoid food sources and nutritional supplements containing copper and red/yellow food dyes.

For more information or to book an appointment please contact Beata at beata@binspired healthy


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Discerning the Mauve factor, part 1 – retrieved from URL –