What is Pyroluria, and Do You Have It?

Pyroluria is estimated to be present in 10-11% of the population. However, it is rarely diagnosed. The treatment does not involve any prescribed drugs. Rather, it requires supplementation with a few specific vitamins.

Some additional symptoms of pyroluria may include:

  • Little or no dream recall
  • Pale skin, poor tanning, easily sunburned
  • Sensitivity to bright light
  • Hypersensitivity to loud noises
  • Poor ability to cope with stress
  • Abnormal body fat distribution
  • Difficulty digesting protein
  • Frequent fatigue
  • Overreaction to alcohol or prescription drugs (a little produces a powerful response)
  • Acne, eczema, or psoriasis
  • Frequent colds or infections

Pyroluria is a genetic condition (gene NBPF3), in which pyrroles – byproducts of the liver’s hemoglobin production – accumulate in the body. (Pyrroles have no known health function, and are typically excreted from the systems of healthy individuals.) Individuals with pyroluria, however, are unable to clear these chemicals from the body. These copious pyrroles then bind to B6 and zinc. Once they have attached themselves to these critical nutrients, the pyrroles are then flushed out through the urine.

Consequently, pyrolurics end up with severely low levels of vitamin B6 and zinc. These two nutrients are crucial for the production of neurotransmitters and enzymes. Many pyrolurics suffer from severe depression and anxiety (low/imbalanced neurotransmitters), or are diagnosed (sometimes inaccurately) with various mental health disorders, and frequently suffer from digestive issues and protein intolerance (due to poor enzyme production).

The onset of pyroluria is frequently triggered by a traumatic event or chronic infection. It is more common among people of Scandinavian or Irish descent, as well as those with fair features.

So how does one treat pyroluria? Happily, the solution is pretty simple, albeit a lifelong one. It involves consistent supplementation with vitamin B6 and zinc. (I’m currently using zinc gluconate, which seems to be working alright. However, ionic zinc is considered the best form for absorption throughout the body, and I am planning to switch to this once my other bottle runs out.)

UPDATE: I’m now using zinc picolinate, which is working very well. It’s helped to improve my skin and dream recall (as well as to remove fingernail white fleck(s)). See below for specs on my favorite and most trusted zinc supplement.

It is also important to supplement with magnesium, as the B6 will deplete magnesium levels. Manganese is important as well, as the heavy zinc supplementation will deplete this nutrient. I like to get my manganese from the clove spice. However, some individuals may actually need to supplement with manganese to maintain adequate levels.

If treatment is discontinued, symptoms will likely reappear within a few days to a couple weeks. (When I’ve skipped B6 and zinc for even two days, I notice a significant difference in my mood and energy levels.)

Pyrolurics also tend to have a greater need for omega-6 fatty acids than most people.

One of my favorite ways to incorporate more of these fatty acids into my diet is to make this healthy “fatty frosting” that I add to stuff.

Fatty Frosting Recipe

  • Salted Grass-Fed Ghee (replacement for normal butter)
  • Organic Arrowroot Powder (instead of powdered sugar)
  • Local, Raw, Gently Filtered Honey (sweetener)
  • Organic Vanilla Extract (I cook out the alcohol)

Consuming this seems to improve my skin.

Pyroluria: The Most Common Unknown Disorder – Dr. Jockers

Do you have pyroluria? Try taking this informal test. If you suspect you may have the condition, you can verify this with a urine test that measures your kryptopyrrole levels.

The B6, Zinc, and Magnesium I Use

Pure Encapsulations – P5P 50 – Activated Vitamin B6 to Support Metabolism of Carbohydrates, Fats, and Proteins – 180 Capsules

Pure Encapsulations – Zinc 30 – Zinc Picolinate (30 mg.) Highly Absorbable Hypoallergenic Supplement for Immune Support – 60 Capsules

Pure Encapsulations – Magnesium (Citrate/Malate) – Hypoallergenic Supplement Supports Nutrient Utilization and Physiological Functions – 180 Capsules


Disclaimer: Each individual is, well, individual. Different genetic combination. Different environmental and life factors. Consequently, appropriate treatment will, no doubt, vary from person to person. I am not a doctor, just someone who has studied genetics a lot, has some “interesting” genetics, and has experimented on herself because of that. Please do not treat this information as medical advice.


© 2017 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved


10 thoughts on “What is Pyroluria, and Do You Have It?

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      1. A Chicken

        Interesting, thanks. IIRC when I took an online diagnostic 4+ years ago, my dopamine was crazy high, and my GABA was damn near zero. I found a GABA supplement from a local vitamin store but didn’t take it long enough to get some good feeldata. B6 and zinc are soooooo gold.

        Liked by 1 person

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