What is Pyrrole Disorder?
Pyrrole Disorder is a reasonably common metabolic condition that occurs when pyrrole, a key part of haemoglobin, is overproduced by the liver. It causes anxiety, depression and withdrawal. It is a genetic disorder.
Now, I’m no scientist, but from what I can get my head around, kryptopyrroles, are a by-product of the synthesis of haemoglobin in your blood and produced in your liver. Most people get rid of too many kryptopyrroles by flushing them out when they pee (technical term!). But, if they build up to an excessive level, they bind to zinc and vitamin B6, which in turn causes blockages in the receptors for these two important nutrients. This results in you ridding yourself of necessary zinc and B6 when you pee. And, this can be the cause of a major deficiency in Vitamin B6 and Zinc (and some other nutrients, too).
And, in case you’re wondering, zinc and B6 are seriously important nutrients for producing all your proteins including enzymes, hormones and neurotransmitters required by your body’s organs, muscle and connective tissue. Deficiency affects the functioning of your entire body and mind, including immune system, digestion, cognitive functioning and your emotions.
The big issue is that the deficiency in zinc and B6 is so extreme that it can’t be fixed by just eating foods high in these two nutrients.
I was tested for Pyrrole Disorder a couple of years ago, primarily because of two seemingly unrelated symptoms – I’ve been going grey since I was about 19, and I didn’t remember my dreams. Ever. I was a bit of a stress-head and I suspected an intolerance to gluten, as well.
But, as you can see from the info-graphic (above) there are many other signs and symptoms associated with Pyrrole Disorder.
How does Pyrrole Disorder manifest?
It is widely believed that the catalyst for Pyrrole Disorder is usually a particularly stressful event or time in your life. It is strongly aggravated by prolonged stress and it occurs more frequently in women than in men. Oh, joy.
It’s important to recognise that stress can mean different things to different people. Chronic infection in infancy, childhood or adolescence is a cause of stress. Environmental toxins are a form of stress. For some, a poor diet and digestive problems that cause intestinal inflammation or leaky gut syndrome are a form of stress.
Sufferers may also often have frequent unexplained infections. They can also experience a variety of serious ailments and degenerative diseases for years despite being health conscious.
The effect of Pyrrole Disorder can be anything from mild to severe. It really depends on the level of the imbalance in zinc and B6. For most people, symptoms can include poor stress control, nervousness, anxiety, mood swings, severe inner tension, episodic anger (an explosive temper), poor short-term memory and depression. In my case, I was a m a s s i v e worrier. I worried about worrying. And, I was in denial about it!
In Pyrrole Disorder sufferers, the ability to create serotonin (a neurotransmitter that reduces anxiety and depression) is compromised, since vitamin B6 is an important factor in its synthesis.
So, I have Pyrrole Disorder. What now?
It is estimated that as many as 10-15% of the population suffers from Pyrrole Disorder. And, once you have it, it is a lifelong condition. If undiagnosed, symptoms tend to worsen with age and stress.
Zinc and vitamin B6 need to be supplemented, usually for the rest of one’s life.
It also seems that, unlike the average person, Pyrrole Disorder sufferers need more quality omega-6 fatty acids than other people. Think happy poultry and nuts.
And, inadvertently it looks like my Autoimmune Protocol approach is exactly the right thing to implement to manage my Pyrrole Disorder symptoms – completely grain free and anti-inflammatory – to improve digestion and gut health. The protocol also has me moving regularly, managing stress and ensuring I get enough sleep. All important if you have a positive diagnosis for Pyrrole Disorder.
I can say – unequivocally – my general mood and attitude is significantly improved since commencing the AIP. Strange but true!
If you suspect you might have Pyrrole Disorder, it is very important to have an accurate diagnosis from a urine test before you begin any treatment. The test checks for elevated level of kryptopyrroles, which are unstable and will disappear rapidly at room temperature or if exposed to bright light. Many of the symptoms associated with the disorder can also be associated with other conditions. Self-prescribing high doses of any supplements can cause any number of other problems and it is also possible that you could mask something else by treating the symptoms but not identifying the underlying cause. Please talk to your doctor.