How to manage Pyroluria naturally
Pyroluria, also known as Pyrrole Disorder, Mauve Factor and Malvaria is a condition that commonly goes undetected because it’s not widely recognised by the medical profession.
In this article I’ll explain what pyroluria is and how it can be managed naturally with nutritional supplements.
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What is Pyroluria?
Pyroluria is a condition where the body makes too much of a waste product called kryptopyrroles during the production of hemoglobin.
Kryptopyrroles don’t really have any purpose in the body and are normally excreted by most people, but for people with pyroluria, these waste products build up and bind to vitamin B6 and zinc, making them unavailable to the body.
Over time this leads to deficiencies of zinc and vitamin B6, which can have a major impact on the functioning of your whole body. 
Zinc is an essential nutrient for the immune system, brain, nervous system and reproductive system.
Vitamin B6 is needed for the nervous system, energy production and healthy teeth and gums.
B6 is also involved in the production of serotonin, which helps us to feel happy and melatonin, which is needed to regulate sleep cycles.
Pyroluria is commonly undiagnosed and untreated. It has only been recognized as a medical condition for about ten years, so many doctors don’t test for it.
How common is Pyroluria?
It’s estimated that pyroluria affects about 10% of the general population but for people suffering from certain conditions, the numbers are much higher.
Pyroluria is believed to affect approximately 70% of people suffering from depression, 50% of those with autism, 40% of schizophrenics and 40% of alcoholics.
In my naturopathic clinic I saw many clients, ranging from young children to adults with pyroluria.
Many of these clients had a close family member who had been diagnosed with the condition, which encouraged them to be tested as well.
Most clients were relieved to finally have a reason for the anxiety, panic attacks, depression or other symptoms they’d been experiencing.
The good thing about pyroluria is that it can be managed naturally, without requiring prescription medications.
The signs and symptoms of pyroluria are wide ranging and can include emotional, physical and behavioural symptoms including:
- Panic attacks
- Mood swings
- Hormone imbalance
- Low tolerance of stress
- Antisocial behavior
- Sensitivity to bright lights / noise
- Behavioral problems in children
- Explosive anger
- Joint pain
- Frequent infections
- Poor appetite / nausea in the morning
- Pale complexion
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Food allergies
- Receding gums
- White flecks on the fingernails
- Sweet smelling breath or sweat
Conditions Associated with Pyroluria include:
- Bipolar disorder
Testing for pyroluria involves a simple urine analysis, which determines if kryptopyrroles are present in the urine.
Natural treatment for Pyroluria
Treatment for Pyroluria involves lifelong supplementation of Vitamin B6 and zinc, along with supporting nutrients including magnesium, manganese and omega-6 fatty acids.
Vitamin B6 – I recommend pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P5P), which is the activated form of vitamin B6.
Activated B-Complex – B vitamins work together in the body so it’s best to take a high quality B-complex supplement alongside B6 supplements to maintain the correct balance.
I recommend activated B vitamins because they’re absorbed quickly and more easily than regular B vitamins.
Zinc – Zinc Picolinate is a form of zinc that is easily absorbed.
Manganese – can be depleted when zinc is taken at high levels.
Manganese is needed for neurotransmitter production, brain function and production of thyroid and sex hormones.
Magnesium – can be depleted by taking B6 in large amounts.
Magnesium helps to reduce anxiety and muscle tension and helps with energy production.
Omega-6 Fatty Acids – pyrolurics have a greater need for omega-6 fatty acids including arachidonic acid (AA) and Gamma linolenic acid (GLA).
Arachidonic acid is found in meat and fish. 
It’s a good idea to discuss any nutritional supplements with your healthcare provider because some supplements can interact with prescription medications.
Dietary Recommendations for Pyroluria
A diet that includes lots of fresh vegetables, fruit and high quality protein is recommended for pyrolurics.
Food sources of zinc include oysters, meat, chicken, turkey, fish, pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and nuts.
Foods high in B6 include salmon, chicken, turkey, sunflower seeds, pistachios, potatoes, chickpeas and spinach.
Copper Toxicity and Pyroluria
Maintaining the correct zinc to copper ratio is important because low levels of zinc can lead to copper toxicity. This is because zinc and copper both compete for the same binding sites in the body.
Excess copper is linked to oxidative stress, inflammation, cardiovascular disease and mental health problems.
If you’d like to check your zinc or copper levels without needing to see a doctor, you can order a test online from Walk-In Lab.
Then all you need to do is visit a local lab at a time that suits you and your results will be available online within one to two days.
Common questions about Pyroluria
How long do I need to take supplements for Pyroluria?
Pyroluria requires life-long supplementation with Vitamin B6 and Zinc, along with supporting nutrients like GLA, magnesium and manganese.
Symptoms usually return within a few weeks if supplementation is stopped.
When will I start to feel better after commencing natural treatment for pyroluria?
Most people will begin to feel better within a few weeks, but it may take up to 12 months in severe cases.
What is the dosage of Vitamin B6 and Zinc for treating pyroluria?
There are a lot of factors that determine your recommended dosage including the severity of the condition, age, gender, stress level and other medical conditions, so I’d recommend working with a Naturopath or Nutritionist who can develop a supplement plan tailored to your individual circumstances.
Does stress cause Pyroluria?
Experiencing a high level of stress or a traumatic incident can make pyroluria worse but stress isn’t the cause of the condition.
If someone in my family has Pyroluria, does that mean I could have it too?
Pyroluria is genetic, which means it’s passed on through the generations.
If one of your close family members has been diagnosed with pyroluria, there’s a chance you may have it too, especially if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above.