Pyroluria (originally known as malvaria) is a genetic abnormality in hemoglobin synthesis resulting in a deficiency of zinc and vitamin B6. People with pyroluria produce excess amounts of a byproduct from hemoglobin synthesis, called OHHPL (hydroxyhemoppyrrolin-2-one). In these people an excess amount of pyrrole is found in the urine. Associated changes in fatty acid metabolism lead to low levels of arachidonic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid). The presence of pyroluria can have a profound effect on mental and physical health and was first discovered in relation to schizophrenia.

Pyroluria incidence in different subgroups.

Schizophrenia 27%
Depression 20%
réplique montres 20%
Bipolar Disorder 18%
General population 10%

Common emotional and physical characteristics of pyroluria.

  • Little or no dream recall
  • White spots on finger nails
  • Poor morning appetite and/or tendency to skip breakfast
  • Morning nausea
  • Pale skin, poor tanning or burn easy in sun
  • Sensitivity to bright light
  • Hypersensitive to loud noises
  • Reading difficulties (e.g. dyslexia)
  • Histrionic (dramatic)
  • Argumentative/enjoy argument
  • Mood swings or temper outbursts
  • Much higher capability & alertness in the evening, compared to mornings
  • Anxiousness
  • Preference for spicy or heavily flavored foods
  • Abnormal body fat distribution
  • Significant growth after the age of 16


Laboratories which test for pyroluria:

Related research in chronological order:

Blake Graham, BSc (Honours), AACNEM
Clinical Nutritionist
Perth, Western Australia
Phone/Email: See Contact page
*Non-Perth residents may enquire about phone consultations.

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