Pyroluria: The Hidden Cause of Anxiety and Depression?

Pyroluria: The Hidden Cause of Anxiety and Depression?

Let’s understand how this condition may be the root cause behind mental, emotional and behavioural issues.

What is Pyroluria?

When there is an abnormality in the body’s biochemistry there can be an overproduction of pyrrole molecules. The cause is not fully understood, however, it is believed that pyroluria is a genetic condition in which the body has a higher requirement for certain nutrients. If this requirement is not met the body experiences nutrient deficiencies.

These nutrient deficiencies may lead to anxiety and/or depression as well as a number of emotional or behavioural symptoms including addiction, poor stress tolerance, inattention, pessimism, emotional lability, impulsivity and fatigue.

The condition is common in patients with autism. It is also made worse by stressful situations, or long term exposure to stress, all of which also deplete the mineral zinc and the vitamin B6.

How does it cause Anxiety?

Pyroluria depletes the body of zinc and vitamin B6. As these nutrients function as cofactors for the production of neurotransmitters GABA and serotonin, low levels can result in anxiety, irritability, depression and short-term memory problems. It can also drive the bodies need for magnesium (the calming mineral). The body’s biochemistry is very sensitive and complex and certain deficiencies can upset other complex biochemical regulations. Pyroluria also disrupts the ratio between copper and zinc, leading to significant oxidative stress.

How can I find out if I have Pyroluria?

There are various ways to determine if you have pyroluria, including pathological studies. Another way is through an in-depth case taking session looking at current and previous medical history, as well as lifestyle and environmental factors.

The following questionnaire was developed to determine whether there is a possibility of pyroluria. If you answer YES to 20 or more of the following questions then you might be predisposed to the condition.

  1. Are you becoming more of a loner as you age? Do you avoid outside stress because it upsets your emotional balance?
  2. Have you been anxious, fearful, or felt a lot of inner tension since childhood but mostly hide these inner feelings from others?
  3. Do changes in your routine (travelling, new situations) provoke stress?
  4. Are you easily upset (internally) by criticism?
  5. Do you frequently experience fatigue?
  6. Is it hard to clearly recall past events and people in your life?
  7. Do you have bouts of depression and/or nervous exhaustion?
  8. Do you tend to focus internally (on yourself) rather than on the external world?
  9. Do you feel uncomfortable with strangers?
  10. Does it bother you to be seated in a restaurant in the middle of the room?
  11. When you were young, did you sunburn easily? Do you have fair or pale skin?
  12. Do you have a reduced amount of head hair, eyebrows, or eyelashes, or do you have prematurely grey hair?
  13. Do you have poor dream recall or nightmares?
  14. Do you have cluster headaches?
  15. Are your eyes sensitive to sunlight?
  16. Do you get frequent colds or infections, or unexplained chills or fevers?
  17. Do you dislike eating protein? Have you ever been a vegetarian?
  18. Did you reach puberty later than normal?
  19. Are there white spots/flecks on your fingernails, or do you have opaquely or paper-thin nails?
  20. Are you prone to acne, eczema, or psoriasis?
  21. Do you prefer the company of one or two close friends rather than a gathering of friends?
  22. Do you have stretch marks on your skin?
  23. Have you noticed a sweet smell (fruity odour) to your breath or sweat when ill or stressed?
  24. Do you have or did you have, before braces crowded upper front teeth?
  25. Do you prefer not to eat breakfast or experience nausea in the morning?
  26. Does your face sometimes look swollen while under a lot of stress?
  27. Do you have a poor appetite or a poor sense of smell or taste?
  28. Do you have any upper abdominal, splenic pain? As a child, did you get a “stitch” in your side when you ran?
  29. Do your knees crack or ache?
  30. Do you overreact to barbiturates, alcohol, or other drugs?
  31. Are you or have you ever been anaemic?
  32. Do you have cold hands and/or feet?
  33. Do you have a tendency toward morning constipation?
  34. Do you have tingling sensations or muscle spasms in your legs or arms?


If you think there is a possibility of having this condition, I can help!

There are many ways to mitigate the impact of this condition, reduce anxiety and/or other mental health conditions. It is worth noting that pyroluria is not the only cause of anxiety and depression. The following may also play an integral role: inflammation, methylation, heavy metals, genetic issues with folate (MTHFR), oestrogens, HPA axis dysfunction, and digestive issues. If you feel as though something is not quite right, we can determine what’s going on by symptom analysis and measuring certain markers through various testing methods. Knowing the cause of any condition is integral for treatment.

Looking for a good Naturopath in Perth to be on your team?
Book a FREE scoping session by clicking the ‘book appointment’ button below or call 0488 854 005

Naomi Rogan
[email protected]