Pyroluria...do you, or does your child have it?
Pyroluria is a genetic metabolic condition long recognized by the field of orthomolecular medicine and orthomolecular psychiatry. As many as 50% of those with autism, 40% of alcoholics, 70% of schizophrenics, 70% of persons with depression and 30% of persons struggling with ADD may have pyroluria underlying these conditions and make them very difficult to reach with traditional and even holistic therapies. But pyroluria isn’t limited to these populations. As much as 10% of the population may have this metabolic condition and not know it…but may have lifelong symptoms associated with it that tend to worsen with age…and stress.
The symptoms of Pyroluria are very similar to many of the symptoms associated with autism. In general, these symptoms have a mysteriously intractable quality to them, and may lead to lifelong issues with severe inner tension, ongoing anxiety, poor stress tolerance (with added stress of any kind making the symptoms worse), digestive issues and difficulty digesting protein, frequent colds and infections, joint pain or stiffness, acne, eczema or psoriasis, mood swings and reactivity, poor short term memory, and a tendency in many to lean towards being a loner…among many other potential symptoms.
Pyroluria is the result of a buildup of the waste products, called kryptopyrroles, from the production of hemoglobin. Kryptopyroles don’t really serve any useful biological purpose, and are normally excreted by most of us uneventfully. In someone with Pyroluria, however, these kryptopyrroles don’t get excreted and will tend to build up–even more so under stress of any kind. Kryptopyrroles have a tendency to bind very strongly with things like Zinc and vitamin B6, making these largely unavailable to the body…which is a very big problem. Zinc and B6 are nutrients critical for the functioning of the entire body and mind–including digestion, immune system, cognitive functioning and emotions. Over time, deficiencies can really take their toll on the way one feels and functions, and have serious consequences. Often, people will go for years suffering the effects of Pyroluria regardless of what therapies they try or how well they eat.
The following 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. Little or no dream recall
2. White spots on finger nails
3. Poor morning appetite +/- tendency to skip breakfast
4. Morning nausea
5. Pale skin +/- poor tanning +/- burn easy in sun
6. Sensitivity to bright light
7. Hypersensitive to loud noises
8. Reading difficulties (e.g. dyslexia)
9. Poor ability to cope with stress
10. Mood swings or temper outbursts
11. Histrionic (dramatic) tendency
12. Argumentative/enjoy argument
13. New situations or changes in routine (i.e., traveling) particularly stressful
14. Much higher capability and alertness in the evening, compared to mornings
15. Poor short term memory
16. Abnormal body fat distribution
17. Belong to an all-girl family with look-alike sisters
18. Dry skin
20. Reaching puberty later than normal
21. Difficulty digesting, a dislike of protein or a history of vegetarianism
22. Tendency toward being a loner and/or avoiding larger groups of people
23. Stretch marks on skin
24. Poor sense of smell or taste
25. Feel very uncomfortable with strangers
26. Frequently experience fatigue
27. A tendency to overreact to tranquilizers, barbiturates, alcohol or other drugs (in other
words, a little produces a powerful response)
28. A tendency toward anemia
29. History of mental illness or alcoholism in family
30. Easily upset by criticism
31. Sweet smell (fruity odor) to breath or sweat when ill or stressed
32. Prone to acne, eczema or psoriasis
33. A tendency toward feeling anxious, fearful and carrying lifelong inner tension
34. Difficulty recalling past events or people
35. Bouts of depression or nervous exhaustion
36. Prone to frequent colds or infections
Again, if you have answered yes to 15 or more of these then consider testing further using a urinary screening test for the presence of elevated kryptopyrroles via Riordan Clinic in Wichita, Kansas (Phone: 316-682-3100 or 1-800-447-7276). Here is their website for more information. Pyrroles 1 Collection Test Info.
If you feel that your child’s improvements have reached a plateau, or that there seems to be some hurdle they just can’t get over, it may be this common, co-existing condition called Pyroluria. You can pay for the urine screening to determine if your child has Pyroluria, OR you can save time and money by testing on your own. The treatment for Pyroluria is daily supplementation of less than 50 mg Zinc, 30 mg vitamin B6- in the form of pyridoxal 5-phosphate (p-5-p), AND eating foods high in arachidonic acid, which are eggs, butter, red meat and liver. If your child won’t eat these foods, you can buy a supplement of arachidonic acid from Molecular Nutrition called X Factor. It is available in 250 mg soft gel caps at:
Put the Zinc and p-5-p to the test. Give them in the morning, and wait at least 30 minutes for results. If you notice improvement in your child's behavior, they have Pyroluria. If you notice no changes, your child probably doesn't have Pyroluria.
Based on results, if my son forgets to take his Zinc (he doesn't take B6 as it negates his PST disc), he is argumentative beyond belief, and everything that goes wrong is everyone else's fault- he will not claim personal responsibility for ANYTHING. His attitude is sour and mean, and he will not stop talking back if his life depended on it. Within 30 minutes of Zinc, he is compliant, helpful, sweet, focused and polite. For us, Zinc brings peace and harmony. I encourage you to find out if your child can be helped with them, too! (see, also, Feedback Corner for another parent's experience with zinc)
Disregard the website advice on other supplements, as Respen-A™ is negated by the oils.
(Submitted by Kerri McCormick)