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What is Pyroluria?

Updated on March 31, 2013

Pyroluria is a medical condition where improper hemoglobin synthesis results in excessive pyrroles in the body. This is not to be confused with polyuria, which is abnormally large urine production and frequent urination.

Pyroluria has an affect on mood. In The Mood Cure there is a questionnaire for identifying symptoms of pyroluria. It writes that pyroluria is ...

"a relatiely unusual condition in the general population (11 percent), but is more common in some groups that tend to have the most stubborn mood problems." [page 303]

Nora Gedgaudas writes on her site ...

"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"

"Mauve Factor" or Malvaria

In the book, Depression-Free, Naturally, it explains ...

"In the seventies, Carl Pfeiffer confirmed the presence of what he called the "mauve factor." Sometimes the urine of normal individuals under stress or individuals suffering from metal illness changes to a mauve color after lab tests. He named this kind of anxiety disorder "pyroluria."

Hence, pyroluria is sometimes known as Malvaria (term derived from "mauve factor").

Treatment for Pyroluria

People with pyroluria has excessive by-product production of kryptopyrrole or hemepyrrole, which are excreted in urine. These by-products bind to vitamin B6 and zinc, thereby removing these essential nutrients as well.

Hence some practitioners use vitamin B6 and Zinc to treat pyroluria. For some, very high doses may be needed to have any effect. Because of the high doses, it should only be done by qualified professionals who does lab tests measurement / monitoring that confirms indeed one does have pyroluria. For example, high doses of B6 can cause inbalance with the other B vitamins. High doses of zinc can become toxic.

Because vitamin B6 is needed to make the calming neurotransmitter serotonin. Many of the mood issue related to pyroluria can be attributed to low serotonin production. B6 is also associated with better dream recall.

Symptoms of Pyroluria

There is a genetic component to pyroluria. Some symptoms of pyroluria include high inner tension and anxiety (which tend to worsen with age). Other symptoms may include poor dream recall and poor recall of early life events.

Dr. Kaslow writes on his site ...

"The effect of pyroluria can have a mild, moderate, or severe depending on the severity of the imbalance. Most individuals show symptoms of zinc and/or B6 deficiencies, which include poor stress control, nervousness, anxiety, mood swings, severe inner tension, episodic anger (an explosive temper), poor short-term memory and depression."

Note that if you just have one or two of these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that you have pyroluria. Because these are general non-specific symptoms that can be due to many other causes.

Pyroluria has to be diagnosed properly with lab testing by an knowledgeable practitioner. This is typically a urine sample. However, the sample must be sent properly (with dry ice for example); otherwise the results may not be reliable.

Some do not believe in pyroluria

Despite the references to pyroluria found in literature, it is important to note that the condition of pyroluria is still very controversial. Most conventional doctors will not recognize it, nor may not even heard of it before.

Wikipedia writes that ...

"Studies have either failed to detect hemopyrrole and kryptopyrrole in the urine of normal controls and schizophrenics, or found no correlation between these chemicals and mental illness. Few, if any, medical experts regard the condition as genuine, and few or no articles on pyroluria are found in modern medical literature..."

The study of pyroluria falls in the category of orthomolecular psychiatry.

More information on Pyroluria

There is a YouTube video on it. Nora Gedgaudas has a podcast episode on it.

Below is another YouTube video by naturopath Greg Newson ...


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    • BlissfulWriter profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Yes, many people including doctors have not heard of pyroluria.

    • Ruchira profile image


      5 years ago from United States

      thanks for an informative hub.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      5 years ago from Massachusetts

      A very informative and interesting article on a subject i did not know before . Well done !

    • nanospeck profile image

      Akhil Anil 

      5 years ago

      Very informative article on pyroluria!


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