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Pyrrole disorder could be causing your stress, anxiety or depression

Susan Hunter Mental Health Leave a Comment

Pyrrole disorder has a lot to answer for. It can cause anxiety, stress or depression in adults, and kids who have it often struggle with their emotions or have behavioural difficulties.

If that rings a bell for you, Pyrrole disorder may be to blame. It is a biochemical imbalance in the body which interferes with mood regulation and the ability to produce a healthy stress response.

Pyrrole, which is also called Pyroluria or Mauve Factor, is not a commonly-known condition. It was discovered by a group of American doctors in the 1960s when treating schizophrenic patients. They were researching the biochemical causes of mental illness when they found a genetic condition which caused people to become very low in two key nutrients – zinc and vitamin B6.

insomnia curesWhy that’s a problem

Vitamin B6 and zinc are important stress and mood support nutrients, and when you lose them you can suffer from mood changes and poor stress tolerance.

To get technical for a moment, in Pyrrole disorder there is an abnormality in haemoglobin synthesis which creates hemopyrrole, or HPL, and HPL production results from a breakdown of heme which is excreted in urine.

HPL is known to reduce zinc and vitamin B6, increase nitric oxide, and increase oxidative stress. Loss of these HPL’s in the urine results in depletion of vitamin B6 and zinc because they bind to the HPL’s and are excreted in the urine too.

This creates a situation where people excrete, in large amounts, the very nutrients they need to cope with stress.

What that means

Zinc is a mineral that’s important for healthy mood, immunity and skin integrity and vitamin B6 is our number one B vitamin for stress support. In order to make adrenaline for a healthy stress response, GABA for a calm and relaxed response to everyday situations and serotonin for healthy mood and sleep, we require zinc and/or vitamin B6 as co-factors. When both of those nutrients are being lost then GABA, serotonin and also melatonin (which is critical for good sleep) are going to be low.

And the result? Sufferers are stressed out, aggressive, anxious, depressed, and can have sleep problems. Sound familiar?

The checklist

The primary signs that you may  suffer from Pyrrole are poor emotional control, anger, low tolerance for stress and poor ability to cope with conflict. But there is a long list of clues that you may have low zinc or vitamin B6, which contributes to the disorder.

  • Poor short term memory
  • Pale skin and/or trouble tanning
  • White spots on nails
  • Premature grey hair
  • Dry skin
  • Sensitivity to light, sound or smell
  • Nausea in the morning
  • Skips breakfast
  • Overcrowded teeth
  • Poor tooth enamel
  • Insomnia
  • Explosive anger
  • Hyperactivity
  • Low stress tolerance
  • Impulsive behaviour
  • Anxiety, fear or panic
  • Motion sickness
  • Social isolation
  • Mood swings
  • Poor dream recall

Having Pyrrole disorder can create a volatile home environment and can even damage relationships with the people we love the most. If you suspect that you or a loved one may have this condition, getting tested can give can open the way for treatment.


Susan Hunter
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