Pyrrole Disorder


What is Pyrrole Disorder and what is the link to Mental health?

“Poor stress control, nervousness, anxiety, mood swings, inner tension, anger, depression, aggressiveness, and learning problems are all hallmarks of pyrrole disorder. These symptoms are derived from a deficiency in B vitamins and zinc. You or someone you know could have pyrrole disorder.”

Pyrrole Disorder (PD) is a common metabolic condition that occurs when Hydroxyhemopyrrolin-2-one, the byproduct in the production of heme which is a key component of haemoglobin, is overproduced by the liver.

As many as 10-15% of all people suffer from Pyrrole Disorder. It is a lifelong condition, and symptoms tend to worsen with age and stress. Often people with pyroluria will suffer a variety of serious ailments and degenerative diseases for years, regardless of what therapies they try or how well they eat. It is only after diagnosis that they finally take the correct supplements and steps to manage their condition, usually with significant success. Disciplined supplementation and treatment can manage the condition to the point where there are virtually no symptoms.

Pyrrole Disorder (PD) is a metabolic condition long recognized by those who practice orthomolecular medicine and orthomolecular psychiatry. However most doctors’ medical associations do not recognise it because there are no pharmaceutical drugs to treat it, and it can be completely and effectively managed with basic supplements. Don’t be surprised if your doctor has not heard of pyroluria or disparages the condition. In Australia the AMA refuses to recognise the condition. However, an increasing number of doctors are starting to take pyroluria seriously.

With pyroluria, some of the by-products of the synthesis of haemoglobin called kryptopyrroles are produced in excess by the liver and not fully excreted in the urine. These kryptopyrroles (more specifically hydroxyhemoppyrrolin-2-one or HPL) are normally harmless. However, if the HPL in your body builds up to an excessive level, the HPL binds to zinc and vitamin B6, and also blocks the receptor sites for these two nutrients. The HPL-zinc-B6 complex is then excreted in the urine. The result is major deficiency in Vitamin B6 and Zinc, and to a lesser degree in other nutrients such as gamma linolenic acid (GLA), niacinamide, biotin, and sometimes manganese and other B-vitamins.

The deficiency in zinc and B6 is so large that it cannot be counterbalanced by foods high in these two nutrients. Zinc and B6 are critical nutrients for producing all proteins including enzymes, hormones and neurotransmitters required by all organs, muscle and connective tissue. This shortage affects the functioning of your entire body and mind, including immune system, digestion, cognitive functioning and emotions.

The onset commonly occurs during a stressful event during the late teens and it continues throughout a person’s life. PD is triggered and strongly aggravated by prolonged stress such as an injury, a debilitating illness, or severe mental stress. It occurs more frequently in women than in men.

Some useful links:

A story in the Sydney Daily Telegraph about PD

A doctor’s blog article about PD– Very good article PDF with useful information about Pyrrole Disorder and testing for it
A list of medical doctors around the world who specialise in treatment of Pyrrole Disorder and other biochemical brain disorders. Note that Pyrrole disorder and its related conditions are also well known among naturopaths and these have the advantage of being more common but also the disadvantage of not being covered by government rebates.
A book by Dr William Walsh on the biochemical causes behind most common mental disorders and their treatment using mostly nutrients. Note that this book is also available as an ebook through most large online booksellers.