What is Pyroluria? Should I be tested? What do I do then?

Pyroluria is having Kryptopyrroles in your urine. Simply, it is a ‘functional’ test of whether your body has a zinc and vitamin B6 deficiency. There is no controversy about that fact. Not all zinc and vitamin B6 deficiency is pyroluria, though.

Since zinc and B6 are needed in hundreds of metabolic processes in the body, deficiencies can contribute to many symptoms and problems. There is a controversy of whether or not pyroluria is a distinct syndrome, partly because the symptoms are many and broad. Like any good first-year medical student, you can easily talk yourself into having pyroluria. That is why testing is essential as well as having an educated physician assess your symptoms in the context of the whole person.

Some of the symptoms include:

  • Little or no dream recall
  • White spots on fingernails
  • Poor morning appetite +/- tendency to skip breakfast
  • Morning nausea
  • Pale skin +/- poor tanning +/- burn easy in the sun
  • Sensitivity to bright light
  • Hypersensitive to loud noises
  • Reading difficulties (e.g. dyslexia)
  • Poor ability to cope with stress
  • Mood swings or temper outbursts
  • Argumentative/enjoy an argument
  • Poor short term memory
  • Abnormal body fat distribution
  • Anxiousness
  • Poor sense of smell or taste
  • Frequently experience fatigue
  • Prone to acne, eczema or psoriasis
  • Tendency toward feeling anxious, fearful lifelong inner tension
  • Bouts of depression
  • Prone to frequent colds or infections

Kryptopyroles result from a genetic alteration in the synthesis of hemoglobin(red blood cells). Zinc and B6 deficiencies result because the kryptopyrroles bind zinc and B6 and then get eliminated in the urine. And there are different degrees of the severity of pyroluria, mild, moderate and severe.

In our comprehensive testing assessments, we almost always check for kryptopyrroles. When pyrroles are found we replenish zinc, B6 and some other nutrients and watch as many symptoms are decreased and eliminated. If you don’t assess for pyrroles in urine, many people are left suffering without a way to resolve their symptoms. In my professional opinion, evaluation for Pyroluria, or pyrroles in the urine, is an essential piece of mental wellness.

Here is link to a description of someone with pyroluria.

As a reminder:

Vitamin B6 plays a role in cognitive development through the biosynthesis of neurotransmitters and in maintaining normal levels of homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood. It is also involved in glucose metabolism immune function (for example, it promotes lymphocyte and interleukin-2 production), and hemoglobin formation.

Zinc is needed for immune cell function and cell signaling. Zinc decreases oxidative stress and reduces levels of some inflammatory proteins. Chronic oxidative stress will lead to inflammation. And zinc prevents cellular damage in the retina, which helps in delaying the progression of macular degeneration and vision loss. Finally, Zinc also has a crucial role in regulating how neurons communicate with one another, affecting how memories are formed and how we learn.

Dr. Goldman offers lab testing for Pyroluria. Interested? Click here.
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Dr. Laurie Goldman is a medical doctor, psychiatrist, and functional medicine practitioner who’s been in private practice since 1999. She founded Clear Path Wellness to help her patients reach their maximum state of mental and physical health using a personalized, comprehensive approach powered by the principles of functional medicine, which treats the whole person, not just symptoms.   

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