Pyroluria – an underdiagnosed cause of depression

Pyroluria – an underdiagnosed cause of depression


Pyrrole disorder, also known as pyroluria, kryptopyroluria, kryptopyrole or Mauve disorder is a biochemical imbalance involving an abnormality in hemoglobin synthesis that can be purely genetic or acquired through environmental and emotional stress and especially from ‘leaky gut syndrome’ and the over use of antibiotics.

Pyrrole disorder is caused by the overproduction of hydroxyhempyrolin (HPL). The HPL binds zinc and B6 preventing their use by the body and causing excretion in the urine and hair. HPL is a biomarker for oxidative stress and is neurotoxic. Stress of any kind will increase production of pyrroles/HPL which in turn decreases zinc and Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is an important component in the production of brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine; it is involved in the production of red blood cells, the myelin sheaths that protect nerves; and in the normal functioning of the immune system just to name a few roles. Zinc is an essential mineral for human survival and is an important component in the activation of over 100 different enzyme activities; it is critical to proper immune function and wound healing; in the formation of DNA and other proteins; it is critical to proper smell and taste function. Since it is not stored within the body, it can deplete quickly and needs to be constantly maintained through the diet. However gut dysfunction can interfere with the absorption and pyroluria can cause a substantial loss from the body, resulting in deficiencies that are rarely ever tested for in a laboratory.


Low B6 and Zinc levels due to puroluria can result in a number of common conditions such as:

  • poor tolerance of physical and emotional stress
  • poor anger control
  • emotional mood swings
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • poor short term memory
  • frequent infections
  • inability to tan
  • poor dream recall
  • abnormal fat distribution
  • sensitivity to light and sound and tactile sensitivities


These symptoms can be treated.

Pyroluria can be diagnosed by the urine kryptopyrole test. The test sample is analysed and determines the levels of pyrroles the body excretes. Pyrroles have little or no function in the body and are effectively excreted in the urine. However, pyrroles have an affinity for zinc and vitamin B6 (i.e. they bind to them and prevent other molecules from using them in the body). So, when pyrroles are elevated in the urine they deplete the body of vitamin B6 and zinc and represent a marker for functional deficiencies. A high incidence of pyrrole disorder is found in individuals on the autism spectrum, individuals with anxiety disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, aspergers, and ADHD.

The treatment usually involves supplementing the diet with Vitamin B6 and Zinc, but since the dosages vary, and the form of B6 may need to be modified (i.e. both standard B6 and activated B6 are used) it is best to consult a health care practitioner to undertake a regimen of treatment and observation. Changes can be noted in as little as 2 weeks, but more commonly it will take 3-6 months for a solid treatment effect.


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