ASD and Pyrroles

Our wee can tell us allot about our state of health. Commonly known that a dark yellow urine will depict that perhaps we are dehydrated, if its clear, meaning that we have had enough fluids. Pink to reddish urine may indicate that you have blood in your urine, kidney failure, a tumor or chronic infection.

But did you know that our wee can give us early warning signs into a possible future of Autism, ADHD, depression, oxidative stress, schizophrenia, and poor mental health? Yes its amazing what ‘wee’ signs our body shows if you know how and where to look.

With suicide being the number 1 cause of death in Australia for young adults between the age of 14 and 44, this article may very well be the early intervention education that could change the course of mental health particularly if it plagues your family. Let this be an article you keep in your memory banks, simply because of how commonly occurring the symptoms are and how under diagnosed the condition is.

A high pyrrole event  in the urine has long been tested and identified for early signs of mental health issues identified in behaviour disorders, autism, asperges, ADHD, ADD, depression, bipolar disorders, violent behaviour, schizophrenia and other mental and emotional conditions.

Before you take any action based on anything you read further on, please consult a trained, qualified, experienced doctor, naturopath or other practitioner experienced in Pyrrole Disorder.

What is Pyrrole Disorder?

Pyroluria (also known as kryptopyrroluria) is a chemical imbalance involving an abnormality in hemoglobin synthesis that produces too much of a molecule called hydroxyhemoppyrrolin-2-one (HPL) and is produced in the liver.

Pyrrolia can be purely genetic or acquired through environmental and emotional stressors.

Statistics say that 10% -15% of us have Pyrroles disorder but only 1% are sufficiently tested and diagnosed because most doctors’ medical associations do not recognise it because there are no pharmaceutical drugs to treat it.

Treatment with nutrients–particularly vitamin B6 and zinc–reduces urinary excretion of HPL and improves diverse neurobehavioral symptoms in patients with elevated urinary HPL.

There is a very definite genetic pattern to pyrrole disorder, a child who is tested positive will have at least one parent that will also test positive and notice a significant improvement in symptoms when taking supplements.

Although there is no known beneficial function of HPL, it is claimed that all humans excrete small quantities in urine. Elevated levels of HPL binds to pyroxidine (vitamin B6) and zinc, blocking the receptor sites causing these vital nutrients to be excreted in large amounts often causing deficiencies and oxidative stress. To a lesser degree other nutrients such as gamma linolenic acid (GLA), niacinamide, biotin, and sometimes manganese and other B-vitamins are also excreted with the HPL – zinc – B6 complex.

Zinc is essential for 100’s of processes in the body and is particularly important for healing, immune function, digestion, neurotransmitter activation, physical growth, memory, insulin sensitivity, and control of blood sugars, DNA replication and more.

Zinc and B6 are together essential for production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin (our happy hormone), melatonin (our sleep hormone), GABA (our relaxation hormone), and acetyl choline which is important for memory. They are also involved in production of our steroid hormones such as cortisol (our anti-inflammatory, anti-allergy hormone and stress hormone) and the conversion of oils in the body (fat metabolism, liver and gall bladder issues and weight control).

We’re seeing more rapid prevalence of Pyrrolia in children who have an ASD and ADHD. That’s not to say it’s a condition specific to Autism and nor does it cause autism, it’s just thought to contribute to the retention of toxins and heavy metals seen in autistic children.

Signs and symptoms of Pyrrolia

White spots on fingernails (zinc deficiency) is a strong sign of this problem. As a feeding therapist, I’m often helping parents to spot common signs of vitamin and mineral deficiencies and this is a very common sign. Zinc deficiency is also commonly associated with poor hunger and loss of senses taste and smell. Other zinc deficiency symptoms also include:

  • Behavioural and sleep disturbances
  • Diarrhoea
  • different kinds of skin lesions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne
  • Slow growth
  • Hyperactivity
  • Increased food and environmental allergic symptoms
  • Post-natal depression (in mother)

Signs of B6 deficiency

  • Skin rashes
  • Dry, cracked or sore lips
  • Poor stress control, mood swings, highly irritable, depression, anxiety and strong and violent tempers.
  • Weakened Immune Function
  • Tiredness and low energy

Other physical signs and more serious longer-term symptoms of Pyrrolia include

  • Cold hands and feet
  • Overcrowded teeth
  • Poor tooth enamel
  • Signs of ASD, ADHD & ADD
  • Increased sensitivity to sound, light, smells and touch.
  • Often gets a stitch when running
  • Irritable bowel syndrome, food sensitivities and fussy eating.
  • Motion sickness
  • Confusion, memory, slow auditory processing, and brain fog
  • History of underachievement, Poor learning ability reading difficulty.

How to be diagnosed for Pyrrolia

Unfortunately as stated above, finding a General Practitioner in Australia who has heard of pyrrolia is not common and even more so rare is a GP who can test sufficiently and this is because GP’s are generally trained in medicine. Its important to state that you should never diagnose and supplement based on a list of symptoms. Zinc can be toxic in high doses so testing first is essential.

There are various public help groups within Australia on Facebook that you should join first to enquire as to what health professionals exists in your area for diagnosis and a suitable management plan. A naturopath or integrated GP will be able to also assist with solving problems of poor vitamin and mineral absorption which is also common place with this disorder.

It is important to have a Urinary Pyrroles Test to diagnose Pyrrole Disorder. A positive UP test is diagnostic for Pyrrole Disorder. It’s vital that the collection and transport of the urine sample be done according to the correct protocol so home tests are not recommended as a simple temperature change can impact the HPL result. Stop taking any supplements that include any Zinc and/or Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate or Pyridoxine Hydrochloride) for at least three days, preferably a full week, before this initial, diagnostic test, otherwise they will affect the result.

Treatment of Pyrrolia

If diagnosed, its not simply a condition that can be managed by diet and eating zinc and Vitamin B6 rich foods. Treatment for pyrrolia requires a careful management plan of zinc and vitamin B6 supplement, usually for the remainder of one’s life. Symptoms may take 3-5 months to abate and may return within a couple of days or weeks if treatment stops.

Treat the Pyrrole Disorder with supplements of Zinc (the Zinc Picolinate is more bio-available but difficult to find in a liquid), and Vitamin B6. For young children who have difficulty swallowing capsules, there are transdermal creams available.

The statistics say that 10% of us have Pyrroles disorder. What’s alarming is that so many children could be getting misdiagnosed with ADHD or autism and improperly medicated. So why aren’t more doctors sending our kids for testing? Why?! This means that in an average classroom of 30 children, at least three children will be affected and will not be learning and behaving at their potential in any area in life.

Beth Bonfiglio of Little Fusspot helps people from all over the world with mealtimes that are less than peaceful. She is known as the ‘supernanny of mealtimes’! Beth brings the core fundamentals of many different professions together to make a one stop shop for all types of fussy eaters, from the extreme to the simply reluctant. If you have a child who appears to be a picky or problem feeder, please get in touch with Beth.

Did you know that Little Fusspot Feeding Therapy services are now available for those who have NDIS assistance? Book an appointment now to assess your eligibility.


‘Causes of Death’, 26 Sep 2018, Australian Bureau of Statistics,