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Pyroluria, A Hidden Cause of Anxiety

Summary: A deficiency in both zinc and vitamin B6 can lead to mental health issues.

Pyroluria, A Hidden Cause of Anxiety

Pyroluria occurs when there is a problem with heme synthesis (a complex biochemical pathway that involves iron contained in red blood cells, requiring a number of steps, substrates, and enzymes) resulting in high levels of certain molecules (pyrroles) in the urine. These pyrroles bind to zinc, manganese, iron and vitamin B6. This can create deficiencies in these four nutrients. Consequently, pathways for methylation become dysfunctional, your immune system becomes compromised and mental health is jeopardized.


You can inherit pyroluria genetically (about 15% of population) or it can be stress induced (epigenetic), oftentimes from childhood trauma. Birth control pills deplete zinc and vitamin B6. Parasites such as strongyloidiasis will also block absorption of zinc and B6 leading to pyroluria.

Symptoms of Pyroluria

  • Mental disorders (bipolar, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia)

  • Moodiness

  • Easily sunburns

  • Night person

  • Diffused pain between belly button and hips

  • Social phobia

  • Increase in oxalates

  • Increase in heavy metals due to compromised methylation (B6 deficiency)

  • Histamine issues

  • No dream recall

Treatment takes time to bring all of this back into balance. Working with a practitioner can help guide you through the correct steps to relieve symptoms.


Supplements such as zinc (white spots on nails good indicator of zinc deficiency), vitamin B6 (a precursor for serotonin and a deficiency may cause neuropathy and depression), lysine (improves B6 absorption) and primrose oil (pyroluria patients are often deficient in omega 6 fatty acids) can be of great help.


Healing past trauma (attachment and developmental trauma from physical/emotional/sexual neglect or abuse) as well as healing the nervous system are pivotal. Eating a highly nutritious and anti-inflammatory diet will help correct dysbiosis. Gluten may need to be eliminated and regulating your blood sugar will help you heal from the symptoms of pyroluria. Eat oysters, chicken and red meat for more zinc. Eat chicken, turkey, pork and oats for more vitamin B6.

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