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A Family Healing Center, PC

Portland Clinic

2525 NW Lovejoy St. Suite 208
Portland, Oregon 97210
PH. 503 241 5007

McMinnville Clinic

330 SE Baker Street
McMinnville, Oregon 97128
PH. 503 883 0333

Depression, Anxiety, and Pyroluria? What?

Is the answer to your anxiety, depression, or emotional issues more simple than you think?

Take a simple questionnaire to find out…click the link below at the end of the article.

You don’t have to be able to pronounce it, Pyroluria “Pie-roll-YER-ee-uh” or remember what it is called, but read the following if you or anyone you know have anxiety, depression, ADHD, autism, or any other mental emotional issues (which actually means most of us)!

Pyroluria is a blood disorder of inappropriate metabolism. It involves an abnormal metabolic process that results in the body generating more than the normal amount of a compound called Kryptopyrrole. Kryptopyrroles are a byproduct of hemoglobin metabolism, a protein found in your red blood cells.

In most individuals this byproduct, Kryptopyrrole is harmless and excreted in the urine. When people have Pyroluria levels of Kryptopyrroles are exceedingly high due to their disorder of metabolism. Kryptopyrroles are very good at binding to zinc and B6. When they are elevated in the body as in Pyroluria, the body rapidly gets rid of them through the urine, but not before they are able to bind up zinc and B6 in the body. This causes a major deficiency in Vitamin B6 and Zinc in individuals diagnosed with Pyroluria.

It is this Vitamin B6 and zinc deficiency that has been linked to a wide variety of neurobehavioral disorders including:

Down Syndrome

Acute and Chronic Schizophrenia

Manic Depression

Depression, non Schizophrenic

Criminal Behavior

  • Adults (Sudden deviance)
  • Youths (Violent Offenders)



Learning Disability/ADHD



The deficiency of B6 and zinc caused by this overproduction of Kryptopyrroles is so large, that it cannot be counterbalanced by foods high in these particular nutrients. Medical doses of Vitamin B6 and Zinc in addition to some other nutrients must be administered in order to bring levels back to normal.

The onset of Pyroluria commonly occurs during the late teens and continues throughout a person’s life if not correctly. It also can often be triggered by a traumatic incident such as death of a loved one, parental divorce, moving away to college. Another strong trigger for Pyroluria is childbirth. Many postpartum moms experiencing depression or anxiety for the first time have Pyroluria. The disorder is highly aggravated by prolonged stress, for instance, during injury, oxidative stress, or chronic or debilitating illness. It is estimated that approximately 10% of the population have Pyroluria, with estimates as high as 20% of all psychiatric patients and 40% of all schizophrenic patients, with a higher prevalence in women than men.

The good news is that it is very easy to test for and easy to treat. Two blood tests and a quick urine sample is all that is needed to diagnose Pyroluria. Better news is that proper treatment for Pyroluria can be accomplished with the professional guidance of a qualified physician.

If you are interested in filling out the questionnaire that can help you determine whether you should be tested for Pyroluria click here for a link to the questionnaire. If you come up positive and want to pursue treatment please contact our office at A Family Healing Center.


  1. *I am not a doctor, but I am almost always thinking “outside the box”. I am a certified medical assistant with chronic ulcerative colitis..Thus with disease I do not absorb many of the B vitamins. I was under the assumption that Folic acid was essential in metabolizing the other B vitamins like you had written about here…therefore isn’t it possible that being low on one could cause a”chain reaction ” resulting in some of the listed ailments? I was just curious….I also suffer from depression and such. Thank you for the article. “

    • jessica black (Author)

      Yes, I think you are right. As always low nutrients can cause other nutrient imbalanced. Additionally, folic acid can fit into the profile of having a methylation disorder – also connected to neurotransmitter and mood imbalances. Some people can have issues with Pyroluria and B Vitamins but also have methylation disorders and folic acid deficiency. Correcting all of the imbalances is important to improving mental and emotional health.

  2. Hi Dr. Black

    I love this article related to health disorders masking as depression. After having served in the mental health field for almost 3 decades, I got to see that years ago our physicians would do blood work and look very closely to first rule out medical issues. Over time, the psychiatrists didn’t have more than 15 minutes to see our clients and suddenly, clients were being given immediate diagnoses (for insurance of course), but never going back to order the tests to investigate. The huge gap between PCP’s and Psych docs is disturbing. Thanks for fighting the good fight by educating people to better understand the role of blood disorders on their health. From a fellow health warrior, I really appreciate you!

    • jessica black (Author)

      Thank you sincerely for your thoughtful comment. We always work hard to make sure our patients are educated and spend more time with them than average health care allows. I hope my educated patients continue to also share the word out there about these important subjects.

      Warmly, Dr. Black


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