Could Pyrrole Disorder be Causing Your Child’s Meltdowns?

angry kidDoes your child have frequent meltdowns and a marked inability to cope with stress? It could be the result of pyrrole disorder. Pyrrole disorder (also referred to as pyroluria, kryptopyrrole, and mauve factor) is a genetic condition that results in a dramatic trifecta of deficiencies in essential nutrients (zinc, vitamin B6, and magnesium). It can also interfere with the proper absorption of arachidonic acid – a long-chain omega-6 fat.

Children in a pyrlouric state usually experience a great deal of digestive problems and are often quite moody. They can often be sent into fits of volatile, angry hysteria and cry easily over what most children would consider mild provocation. The severity of symptoms are often exacerbated by stressful situations, food allergies, and a poor diet.

Although this condition can present with myriad symptoms, there are some symptoms that might make spotting the condition a bit easier. Chronic digestive problems, multiple white spots on the fingernails, and sweet, fruity breath and body odor are tell-tale signs. (Although the latter symptom could also indicate diabetes). Symptoms are often worse during growth spurts.

Common Symptoms of Pyrrole Disorder


  • White spots on fingernails
  • Chronic digestive problems
  • Sweet, fruit breath and body odor
  • Pale skin that burns easily
  • Tooth crowding and poor tooth enamel
  • Creaking knees/joint pain
  • Poor circulation in hands and feet
  • Cravings for high-sugar and high-carb foods


  • Quick mood swings
  • Generalized/social anxiety
  • Depression
  • Memory loss/learning difficulties
  • Fatigue
  • Hyperactivity
  • Poor dream recall
  • Insomnia
  • Sensory processing disorder

How to Test for Pyrrole Disorder

The only definitive test for pyrrole disorder is a urine screen. The urine screen tests for a specific metabolite called hydroxyhemopyrrolin-2-one (HPL).

The diagnosis for pyroluria is as follows:

  • Less than 10 micrograms of HPL per deciliter is normal
  • Between 10 and 20 µg/dL of HPL is considered borderline
  • Over 20 µg/dL is considered pyroluria

Conditions That Should be Tested for Pyrrole Disorder

If your child has the symptoms of or has been diagnosed with the following disorders, he or she should be tested for pyrrole disorder:

  • Acute Intermittent Porphyria
  • ADHD
  • Autism/Asperger’s Syndrome
  • Anxiety Disorder/Phobias
  • Depression
  • Down’s Syndrome
  • Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Learning Impairment
  • Tourette’s Syndrome

Effective Natural Treatments for Pyrrole Disorder

Testing for and Addressing Food Allergies

When a child has digestive disorders, he or she may have one or more food allergies. Allergies or intolerance to gluten, lactose, corn, and soy are the most common as are peanut and fish allergies. Accurate blood testing or elimination-diet testing are critical to healing the gut, reducing inflammation, and ensuring prescribed supplements are completely absorbed.

Professional-Grade Nutritional Supplements

Once a diagnoses of pyrrole disorder has been made, your child will be placed on prescription-grade zinc, vitamin B6, and magnesium. In addition, a high-quality probiotic and digestive enzyme can further support digestion and absorption of essential nutrients.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy can help manage meltdowns and behavioral problems associated with pyrrole and co-morbid disorders. In addition to the supplements, this therapy helps the struggling child reintegrate with his senses while offering constructive ways to cope.

If your child is having meltdowns and experiencing extreme behavioral problems, clinical nutritional deficiencies could be the cause. Talk with your clinician about testing for pyrrole disorder. If this is the cause, prescription supplementation could make a positive difference overnight!

[About the Author: Dr. Craig A. Maxwell is a board-certified osteopathic physician based in Ohio. He has been successfully treating patients with difficult-to-treat disorders and chronic illness for the past 30 years. He is available for personalized telephone consultations wherever you are in the world. For more information, visit Image: Niklas Hellerstedt]

One thought on “Could Pyrrole Disorder be Causing Your Child’s Meltdowns?

  • December 22, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    I am currently being treated for pyroles and hashimitos thyroiditis, by a biomed Dr trained by Dr Walsh, my neighbor is a natropath who regularly treats kids with pyroles. When I asked The biomed dr about my 2 year old with behavioral problems, about testing he said he waits till the age of 5, yet my natropath neighbor had her 3 year old tested and is being treated for it. Should I wait, cause I can’t handle stress at all, and I’m hoping the medication comes into effect very soon, because my son is extreme, he clings 80% of the day, cries constantly, everything causes him to cry, he’s so very sensitive, it’s a struggle to remain upbeat. To make matters worse my husband is a veteran with ptsd and also can’t handle the stress he creates with the crying. Should I wait till he’s 5 or just take him to my natropath neighbor for testing?


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