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Moody- Brooding. That is a common descriptor friends, family, co-workers would use to describe an person with untreated pyroluria.  No one really knows the “set-off” points, but it seems to build until there is some kind of confrontation or explosion. Like a time bomb, stress builds until the steam gets let off. Often after these eruptions, there is often remorse as some side of understanding the consequences becomes visible – but the cycle continues – despite great efforts to change and control it.  Individuals with pyrrole disorder  will most likely present to a clinician with coping issues.  These can be initiated by a relationship issue, a move, job change, finances  or any host of stress inducing issues. Whilst stress is familiar to most of us,  it is what the pyrrole physiology does with stress that makes them different to their non-pyloric counterparts. 

PYROLURIA or PYRROLE DISORDER is a condition caused by stress that depletes the body of certain vitamins and minerals before they can be absorbed. With Pyroluria, basically these are


This trifecta of deficiencies  can cause a debilitating range of symptoms for the individual. A B6 deficiency causes inflammation, depression and poor memory. Magnesium deficiency can cause aches, pains, cramps, restlessness, nervous tension ( hair twisting, can’t sit still), constipation and sleeplessness.  Zinc stabilizes our memory, concentration, good digestion, skin health and a sense of wellbeing.  This group commonly is responsible for sleeping well and feeling upbeat and calm.

The difficulty with this particular disorder is when people feel unwell, they eat and behave unwell. This is turn exacerbates the stress making the system worse and with poor eating and a consumption of junk foods, the gut then suffers making the situation increasing worse until the individual becomes quite sick – make take stress leave or time down and feel better and get right back up at it. And so the cycle goes……

In the 1950’s a Canadian Research Team discovered chromatographic appearance to some peoples urine. This became what was identified as Mauve Syndrome. In the 1970’s Physicist  Carl Pfeiffer isolated the enzyme and called it hydroxyhemopyrrolin-2-one (HPL) which is now referred to as a “urinary pyrrole” a haemoglobin metabolite that binds with pyridoxine (B6) and zinc.

How might we identify this disorder?

Pot Belly ( this is related to gut/digestive issues)  


Poor Dream recall                           

Lack of desire for breakfast

Poor memory                        

Pale skin – susceptible to sun-burn

White Spots on Nails                               


Explosive/Irrational brooding about issues    

Hyper sensitivity

Unfounded fears/ ruminating                                        

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Joint pains/creaky knees                


Frequent infections                                                         

Intolerance to loud noises

Craving for high sugar and high carb foods                 

High propensity for motion sickness



Self Medicate                                                                    

Insomnia/broken sleep regularly

Concentration and processing issues

Pyroluria is genetic and symptomology is seen throughout family generations. Symptoms can be mild to extreme depending on the complexity of factors. Pyrroles usually have significant food sensitivities, so  dealing with allergies and getting the gut right is very important in the overall individual health.

As Therapists we are  often the first line defenders, so it is important to speak with a Therapist who has some knowledge  of the disorder and how it manifests, or the sufferer will feel like they are constantly and unsuccessfully going around and around – which of course they are.

Dr William Walsh (Nutrient Power – Healing your Biochemistry) is a leading expert in this field. He is currently in Australia continuing his great work and supporting and training allied health practitioners interested in this area. In Australia, GP’s  and specialists skilled and versed in managing pyroluria can be found on  the Australia College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine  (Australia)  website.

If your still curious or confused – give us a ring… we can help!