Let’s understand how Pyroluria may be the root cause behind mental, emotional and behavioural issues.

What is Pyroluria?

Pyroluria is an abnormality in the body’s biochemistry which results in the overproduction of pyrrole molecules. The cause is not fully understood, however, it is believed that pyroluria is a genetic condition in which the body has a higher requirement for certain nutrients. If this requirement is not met the body experiences nutrient deficiencies.

These nutrient deficiencies may lead to anxiety and/or depression as well as a number of emotional or behavioural symptoms including addiction, poor stress tolerance, inattention, pessimism, emotional lability, impulsivity and fatigue.

The condition is common in patients with autism. It is also made worse by stressful situations, or long term exposure to stress, all of which also deplete the mineral zinc and the vitamin B6.

Why does Pyroluria cause anxiety?

Pyroluria depletes the body of zinc and vitamin B6. As these nutrients function as cofactors for the production of neurotransmitters GABA and serotonin, low levels can result in anxiety, irritability, depression and short-term memory problems. It can also drive the bodies need for magnesium, the calming mineral. The body’s biochemistry is very sensitive and complex and certain deficiencies can upset other complex biochemical regulations. Pyroluria disrupts the ratio between copper and zinc, leading to significant oxidative stress.

How is Pyroluria diagnosed?

There are various ways to determine pyroluria, including pathological studies. Another way is thorough case taking of an individual’s current and previous medical history as well as a look at lifestyle, dietary and environmental factors.

The following questionnaire was developed to determine whether there is a possibility of pyroluria. If you answer yes to 20 or more of the following questions then you might be predisposed to the condition.

  1. Are you becoming more of a loner as you age? Do you avoid outside stress because it upsets your emotional balance?
  2. Have you been anxious, fearful, or felt a lot of inner tension since childhood but mostly hide these inner feelings from others?
  3. Do changes in your routine (travelling, new situations) provoke stress?
  4. Are you easily upset (internally) by criticism?
  5. Do you frequently experience fatigue?
  6. Is it hard to clearly recall past events and people in your life?
  7. Do you have bouts of depression and/or nervous exhaustion?
  8. Do you tend to focus internally (on yourself) rather than on the external world?
  9. Do you feel uncomfortable with strangers?
  10. Does it bother you to be seated in a restaurant in the middle of the room?
  11. When you were young, did you sunburn easily? Do you have fair or pale skin?
  12. Do you have a reduced amount of head hair, eyebrows, or eyelashes, or do you have prematurely gray hair?
  13. Do you have poor dream recall or nightmares?
  14. Do you have cluster headaches?
  15. Are your eyes sensitive to sunlight?
  16. Do you get frequent colds or infections, or unexplained chills or fevers?
  17. Do you dislike eating protein? Have you ever been a vegetarian?
  18. Did you reach puberty later than normal?
  19. Are there white spots/flecks on your fingernails, or do you have opaquely or paper-thin nails?
  20. Are you prone to acne, eczema, or psoriasis?
  21. Do you prefer the company of one or two close friends rather than a gathering of friends?
  22. Do you have stretch marks on your skin?
  23. Have you noticed a sweet smell (fruity odour) to your breath or sweat when ill or stressed?
  24. Do you have or did you have, before braces crowded upper front teeth?
  25. Do you prefer not to eat breakfast, or even experience light nausea in the morning?
  26. Does your face sometimes look swollen while under a lot of stress?
  27. Do you have a poor appetite, or a poor sense of smell or taste?
  28. Do you have any upper abdominal, splenic pain? As a child, did you get a “stitch” in your side when you ran?
  29. Do your knees crack or ache?
  30. Do you overreact to tranquilizers, barbiturates, alcohol, or other drugs-mat is, does a little produce a powerful response?
  31. Are you or have you ever been anaemic?
  32. Do you have cold hands and/or feet?
  33. Do you have a tendency toward morning constipation?
  34. Do you have tingling sensations or muscle spasms in your legs or arms?

What now?

If you think you may have pyroluria, reach out to one of our experienced and qualified health practitioners for support. There are many ways to mitigate the impact of this condition, reduce anxiety and/or other mental health conditions.

The following may also play an integral role: inflammation, methylation, heavy metals, genetic issues with folate (MTHFR), oestrogens, HPA axis dysfunction, and digestive issues.

If you feel as though something is not quite right, we can determine what’s going on through symptom analysis and via a number of various testing methods. Knowing the cause of any condition is integral for treatment. This is something you can talk about with a practitioner in the initial consultation.

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