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The normal HPL range is now higher

27 August 2017

 Breaking news: the ‘normal’ HPL range is now higher

If you, or someone you know, has a HPL score between 20 to 40, then this information is important.

New extensive research studies have established that there is need for a significant change in the ‘normal’ HPL score for adults. These results were formulated, based on improvements to assay sensitivities, and from consultation with practitioners regarding their clinical observations.

Previously a HPL (pyrrole) adult score of less than 15 or 20 (depending on the lab) was considered normal. The new adult reference level is now a HPL reading of less than or equal to 40ug/dl. Thus, the new HPL adult scores are:

  • Normal adult: 40 or less
  • Mild elevation: above 40 and less than 150
  • Moderate elevation: above 150 to 400
  • Severe elevation: above 400 & further haematology (blood tests) advised

The current values for paediatric levels remain the same, which is: HPL]<20ug/dL being normal for children i.e. less than 20ug/dl is normal for kids.

At this stage, I’m not certain what age criteria is used for a child, but in normal naturopathic circumstances, such as for doses of herbals etc, it’s usually less than 12, unless they are big for their age, in which case it could be 8-10 years. Let’s say less than 40kg as a guide, but if I find it’s different I’ll get back to you.

Here is how the new table will look for new reports for adults, along with your specific HPL score.


[HPL]≤40µg/dL Normal adult
40µg/dL<[HPL]<150µg/dL Mild elevation
150µg/dL<[HPL]<400µg/dL Moderate elevation
400µg≤[HPL] Severe elevation (further haematology advised)

You will notice in any future tests that the reports have some small changes, such as the term ‘Critical Values’ replaced by ‘Reference Ranges’ to make it easier to understand.

So what does this mean for all who thought that they had pyrrole disorder with scores between 20 and 40, the ‘new’ extended normal range?

It simply means that just when you thought that all your symptoms were related to pyrrole disorder, something else might be going on. I can almost hear some of you sighing with relief, while others sigh with despair, particularly when it was so good to know what caused all those horrible feelings and symptoms.

For some, it means, back to the drawing board. But before you throw your expensive supplements into the bin, assess how you have responded to treatment so far.

Do you feel better or worse for the treatment?

The reason I ask this is because there are other biochemical/metabolic disorders and imbalances, many that don’t even have names yet, that just might respond to the same treatment you are using for pyroluria. Vitamins and minerals such as B6, B12, zinc, magnesium etc are central to many different biological processes that go on in the body. If you are deficient in these nutrients, then supplementation may be able to manage your disorder more efficiently.

However, if supplementation treatment makes you feel worse, which does happen a lot, then it may be worthwhile to be reassessed by your practitioner. I have seen many clients who felt worse on supplements due to genetic variants that don’t allow methylation processes to work properly. In these cases, even though there were nutrient deficiencies, their bodies could not process high doses (and sometimes low doses) of certain supplements.

In this situation, food is your best medicine – but not just any food. You need food that is rich in the nutrients required to make methylation processes work more efficiently. These include folate rich foods such as leafy greens, zinc rich foods like seafood, meat and pumpkin seeds etc, B6 rich foods like bananas, meats etc and the list goes on. I have more information on this from a previous post, but you can also find it here at

While this article is about foods to support pyrrole disorder, be aware that these same foods can help many other metabolic disorders (particularly if this new information suggests you might not have pyrrole disorder).

In a few months, after more than five years of development, we will be launching an amazing program that will provide an array of specific, simple to follow recipes to support pyrrole, as well as another 65 or so other health conditions, plus many other features to make food and recipe selections much easier. We’ll let you know when it’s ready.

What if you feel that you still have pyrrole disorder, even though your score was say 35, yet all your symptoms ‘fit the classic picture’ of pyrrole disorder?

It is still possible that you have pyrrole disorder for various reasons. For example, your test results were inaccurate because:

  • the sample was affected by daylight
  • poor transportation if the sample was sent in the post
  • urine was too watered down from drinking lots of water to be able to ‘pee on command’ (usually the watery pee would be noted and you should have been asked for a retest)
  • you just came back from a restful, stress-free holiday and you ate really healthy food

See your practitioner

If you find that you are now within the ‘normal’ reference range, you may not have pyrrole disorder, but rather a condition that has many of the same symptoms such as methylation defects, leaky gut syndrome, heavy metal toxicity etc. In my previous post on the Pyrrole Australia Facebook page, we discussed the potential root causes of pyroluria, which is quite relevant to this article.

Or, as mentioned, you may still have pyrrole disorder, but need to be retested. In either case, it’s best to reassess your situation with your health practitioner. Much of this reassessment will depend on that question above, “Do you feel better or worse for the treatment?”

How will, or how does, this new information about the changes to the reference range affect you? I’d appreciate your feedback.

All the best, love Sue xx

Understanding Methylation, under/over methylation

Introduction to understanding methylation

The process of methylation if working properly is what keeps us healthy. Without methylation we cannot survive and methylation defects are biochemically what contribute greatly to who we are, what we look like, how we act but is also central to our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

Methylation regulates the switching on and off of our genes and silences viruses. When functioning optimally, methylation keep the less desirable genes switched off, such as those that cause birth defects, cancers and auto-immune disease for example, whilst allowing the switching on of genes that help our body systems run effectively. We call this gene expression.

We may go about our day to day lives never being aware of these processes and meanwhile this process is making, maintaining and repairing our DNA, which is our genetic coding. We can get an ‘epigenetic’ effect whereby how we chose to live our lives can have an effect on our gene expression and it is these events, stressors and loving care that help either support or hinder the natural process of building and repairing our body.

In this article I will be covering the following topics:

  • Introduction to methylation
  • What is methylation
  • Testing for methylation
  • Biochemistry of UNDERMETHYLATION
  • Biochemistry of OVERMETHYLATION
  • Things that can affect methylation
  • Methylation impairments
  • What is homocysteine?
  • Causes of Elevated Homocysteine
  • Risks Associated With Elevated Homocysteine Levels
  • What is the hereditary predisposition MTHFR?
  • Symptoms of MTHFR gene copying errors
  • Anemia, DNA, and Folate
  • Methylmalonic Acid (MMA)
  • Folates, folic acid and unmethylated folic acid (UMFA)
  • Dangers of UMFA
  • Supplementation to support under or overmethylation

What is methylation

Methylation begins with a what is termed a ‘methyl group’ which is basically a carbon and three hydrogen atoms joined together and this group is then transformed to another compound. So if we use a situation to compare it to it would be like at a work place where one person passes an envelope containing a group of objects to another person at work who then has the job of making those bits into another component that is then passed onto someone else to finish the job to have a completed job order.

There are certain points within the methylation cycle where each have a certain job to do for beginning, carrying out and finishing the job. In other words each part has its role and ‘job description’ to do to get the job done.

Our nerve functions is highly dependent on proper methylation as each nerve requires the proper nerve insulation just like the wires in our house or car otherwise it will be like exposed wires and this can lead to symptoms of physical, emotional or behavioural changes. Methylation switching on and off of genes also control the production and breakdown of neurotransmitters which are our chemical messengers in the brain and nervous system as well as in the gut and many other places of importance.

The nervous system communicates with immune cells, so a faulty methylation process can lead to immune imbalances, which can turn a simple cold or flu into pneumonia or and auto-immune disease. An efficient methylation system will create an efficient communication system to sound the alarm bells of immune invaders. Methylation also immobilise fats and cholesterol so they can be removed by the body without clogging up arteries and organs, so improving methylation cycles can help the body to naturally clear cholesterol and fats that would otherwise lead to heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes and fatty liver disease.

There are so many other things that methylation supports such as hormones, regulating oestrogen and testosterone as examples, but also thyroid hormones, adrenal hormones and the list goes on.

Methylation regulates histamine levels which is why someone who gets allergies we call an under-methylator, because the body is unable to break down the histamine. Histamine is hormone that is often over expressed in cases of allergies, eczema, asthma and even anaphylactic reactions.

To summarise, methylation is involved in many of our most vital bodily functions, by offering support and/or managing, such processes as:
1) Detoxification
2) Controlling inflammation
3) Maintaining DNA
4) Immune function
5) Energy production
6) Mood balancing

Some of the conditions linked to poor methylation include but not limited to; cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, neurological conditions, autistic spectrum disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, miscarriages, fertility, and problems in pregnancy, allergies, immune system, digestive problems, mood and psychiatric disorders as well as the aging process.

Tests for methylation (under and over)

Whole blood histamine (an important protein involved in many allergic reactions), Basophil count (a type of white blood cell), zinc and copper levels, homocysteine, and heavy metal and mineral balances.

The common biochemistry of UNDERMETHYLATION is:
1. High blood histamine
2. High basophil count
3. Low plasma zinc
4. Elevated serum copper
5. Low homocysteine
6. High heavy metals
7. Low levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norrpinephrine.

As proper methylation is a major factor in the production of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the body, undermethylation can lead to a depletion of these three essential neurotransmitters and can also result in some of the following characteristics – phobias, delusional behaviour, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), frequent headaches, denial of illness and non compliance, difficultly with transitions, seasonal allergies, high achiever, a strong will, highly motivated, addictive behaviour, calm demeanour with high inner tension, social isolation and sparse hair growth.

The common biochemistry of an OVERMETHYLATION is:
1. Low blood histamine
2. Low basophil count
3. Low plasma zinc
4. Elevated copper
5. Elevated levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

Overmethylation can cause some of the following characteristics – high anxiety/panic, poor achiever and low motivation, artistic/musical ability, low libido and overweight, easily frustrated, sleep disorder and paranoia, depression and self isolation, self mutilation and nervousness, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), food/chemical sensitivities, high pain threshold, past history of ADHD, hyperactive psychosis, grandiosity, nil family history, hirsutism and eczema/dry skin.

Things that can affect methylation

Lack of the necessary precursors such as:

  • methionine
  • choline
  • betaine
  • homocysteine

Lack of co-factors:

  • B12
  • Folate
  • Zinc
  • B2, B3 and B6

Enzyme polymorphisms (genes)


Methylation impairments

Impairment of methylation reactions could result in a condition of high levels of homocysteine known as hyperhomocysteinemia which can also be a marker of low levels of B12 and folate.

What is homocysteine?

Homocysteine is a chemical in the blood that is produced when an amino acid called methionine is broken down in the body. We all have some homocysteine in our blood, but high homocysteine levels, also called hyperhomocysteinemia, may cause irritation of the blood vessels which can increase the risk for hardening of the arteries which could eventually result in a heart attack and/or stroke, and blood clots in the veins, referred to as venous thrombosis.

Causes of Elevated Homocysteine

  • Deficiency of folate or B6 and B12
  • Kidney disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Medications such as methotrexate
  • Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) genetic fault
  • Psoriasis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosis

Risks Associated With Elevated Homocysteine Levels

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Peripheral arterial disease
  • Venous thrombosis
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Dementia
  • Neural tube defects in children

Let’s have a look at the main causes of elevated Homocysteine

If one of the causes of elevated homocysteine is MTHFR gene mutation, what does this mean?

What is the hereditary predisposition MTHFR?

Some people develop an elevated homocysteine level because of a genetic predisposition which then creates the methylation defect that affects the ability of the body to convert folate and thereby creating problems with regulating homocysteine levels in the body. We all have 2 MTHFR genes, one inherited from each parent for each of the two genes. Some people have a genetic mutation in one or both of their MTHFR genes. People with mutations in one MTHFR gene are called “heterozygous” for the MTHFR mutation, but if mutations are present in both genes, the person is said to be “homozygous” for the mutation.

The most common MTHFR mutation is called the MTHFR C677T mutation, or the “thermolabile” MTHFR mutation. Another common mutation is called MTHFR A1298C. To have any detrimental effect, mutations would usually be present in both copies of a person’s MTHFR genes. Even when 2 MTHFR mutations are present (eg, 2 C677T mutations, or one C677T mutation and one A1298C mutation), not all people will develop high homocysteine levels. Although these mutations do impair the regulation of homocysteine, adequate folate levels essentially “cancel out” this defect, especially if the folate is consumed from foods or the more active form of folate such as calcium folinate or better still is the 5MTHF.

Regardless of whether someone has an MTHFR mutation in both genes or not, the treatment for elevated homocysteine is the same—dietary intervention and supplementation with folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12. If supplementing, then the amount of each of these supplements should be adjusted on the basis of the degree of homocysteine elevation, not genetic status.

Symptoms of MTHFR gene copying errors

These can include fatigue, depression, cardiovascular disease, and other more vague complaints such as aches and pains and other symptoms.

A closer look into the world of B12 and folate:

There are two different co-enzyme forms of vitamin B12:

  1. Methylcobalamin
  • Used by the enzyme methionine synthase to turn homocysteine (HCY) into methionine (a methylation process).
  • Methionine is further converted to the important methyl donor, S-adenosylmethionine  also known as SAM or SAMe
  1. 5′-deoxyadenosylcobalamin
  • Used by the enzyme methylmalonyl-CoA mutase to convert methylmalonyl-CoA to succinyl-CoA.
  • Used by the enzyme leucine aminomutase to convert B-leucine into L-leucine and vice-versa.

Anemia and Folate

Traditionally, B12 deficiency, normally resulting from the poor ability to absorb B12, but also from poor methylation, was diagnosed by finding abnormally large red blood cells. This sort of anemia has two names:

  • Macrocytic anemia – when the average volume of the red blood cells, known as the Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV), is larger than normal
  • Megaloblastic anemia – when abnormally large red blood cells are observed under a microscope

The vitamin folate (aka folic acid) affects the anemia symptoms of B12 deficiency. Folate is needed to turn uracil into thymidine, an essential building block of DNA. DNA is needed for new red blood cell production and division. B12 is involved in this process because in creating methylcobalamin (used in the HCY to methionine reaction), B12 produces a form of folate needed to make DNA. If there is no B12 available, this form of folate can become depleted. Lack of Anemia Does Not Mean B12 Status Is Healthy. Traditionally, the existence of macrocytic anemia was relied on to indicate a B12 deficiency. However, neurological disorders due to B12 deficiency commonly occur in the absence of a macrocytic anemia.

Methylmalonic Acid (MMA)

The second coenzyme form of B12, adenosylcobalamin, takes part in the conversion of methylmalonyl-CoA to succinyl-CoA. When B12 is not available, methylmalonyl-CoA levels increase. Methylmalonyl-CoA is then converted to methylmalonic acid (MMA) which then accumulates in the blood and urine. Since B12 is the only coenzyme required in this pathway, MMA levels are the best pathology test indicators of a B12 deficiency.

High MMA levels can also (but rarely) be caused by genetic defects, kidney failure, low blood volume, gut bacteria changes, pregnancy, and thyroid disease

Folic Acid

FOLATES, FOLIC ACID, AND UNMETHYLATED FOLIC ACID are the different forms of folate. Found in leafy green vegetables, natural folates are the group name for related members of this B-vitamin family. The synthetic form, folic acid (FA), is used in fortified foods and most dietary supplements.

  1. Folate. This form of the vitamin is found in our green vegetables. If you eat about 1.5 cups of cooked greens three or more times weekly you will obtain enough natural folate to overcome almost any genetic copying defect.  Folate is also found in meats, eggs and other foods, but not as much.  Some folate can also be made in the intestinal tract.
  1. Folic acid. This is a synthetic form of folic acid that is widely used in B vitamin supplements. This form is not converted as well to the active form of the vitamin in people with the copying weakness (MTHFR gene defects) and so creates point 5 below.

  This is a supplemental form of folate that is well utilised by most with the copying defect mentioned above.

  1. Folinic acid. This is a supplemental form of folate that is well utilised by most with the copying defect mentioned above.

  This is also a supplemental form of folate that is well-utilised by those with the copying defect.

  1. Methyl folate. This is also a supplemental form of folate that is well-utilised by those with the copying defect.
  1. Unmethylated or unmetaboilised folic acid (UMFA).

With increased consumption of folate fortified grains and the popularity of vitamin supplements, many people are getting too much synthetic folic acid. Unlike natural folate, synthetic folic acid is processed very slowly in the body even at the Australian Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) intake of 400 mcg per day (for adults), UMFA can be found in the blood stream for extended periods of time. UMFA should be monitored for anyone who takes vitamins and/or consumes products with fortified enriched grains and cereals. Monitoring is also strongly recommended for women who are pregnant or who are trying to become pregnant. It has been known to increase the feelings of ‘morning sickness’, so nutritional supplements with folic acid are not advisable with those who have the MTHFR gene defects and preferably should use the more active forms.

What is the danger of too much UMFA?

  • Depressed immune function
  • Enhanced development and progression of certain cancers
  • Anaemia, poor cognition, and impaired memory especially with low B12 status

When folate is properly processed it can support the body with:

  • Making red blood cells
  • Proper nerve function
  • Bone health
  • Healthy brain and memory
  • Proper immune system function
  • Cell production, especially in skin and the digestive tract
  • Prevention of neural-tube defects (cleft lip and palate, spina bifida) in a developing foetus
  • Preventing miscarriage

Supplementation to support under or over methylation


Those with undermethylation often respond well to methionine, SAMe, 5HTP, calcium, magnesium, omega-6 essential oils such as borage and evening primrose oil, B-6, inositol, and vitamins A, C, and E, plus zinc, TMG or DMG. They should avoid supplements containing folic acid, but can tolerate the more active forms where there is MTHFR defect, especially if Homozygous for the defect.


This condition is the biochemical opposite of undermethylation. Those with overmethylation usually respond well to folic acid, B-12 (active forms), niacinamide (B3), DMAE, choline, manganese, zinc, omega-3 essential oils (DHA and EPA) and vitamins C and E, but should avoid supplements of methionine, SAMe, inositol, TMG and DMG.

In conclusion we have seen how methylation supports the body to detoxify as well as adjusts and rebuilds components needed for all bodily processes so also helps to control inflammation, maintaining good DNA transcription, support our immune and cardiovascular systems and provide us with the energy needed for our daily tasks and importantly also gives us a healthy brain and mood.

Foods for pyrrole disorder

Best foods to eat or avoid with pyrrole disorder and foods rich in B6 and Zinc

I’m often asked, what are the best foods to eat if you have pyrrole disorder, what foods to avoid for supporting the body, and what foods are rich in b6 and zinc to help balance pyrrole naturally. Whilst for many the best way to treat pyrrole disorder is with the use of supplementation, there are many that find that they are just too reactive to these supplements, can’t find the right dose, or simply just can’t afford treatment on-going.

Please note that the following cannot replace a treatment program that needs high doses, but it can help those that have only low levels of pyrrole, or are managing their stress well and have addressed other health imbalances such as gut issues e.g. leaky gut. These suggestions are also good for little ones whose parents find it difficult to supplement in the usual way, but most importantly the following can be good adjunctive therapy for all with pyrrole disorder, hormonal imbalances, digestion problems, neurotransmitter imbalances e.g. mental health problems and general good health.

Foods and drinks to avoid:

Pyrrole disorder is a condition associated with the liver (see pyrrole disorder article) so therefore anything that can affect the liver has a potential to undermine the good efforts done elsewhere to support the liver and pyrrole disorder. More often than not people with pyrrole disorder find that they are having increasing sensitivity to these substances anyway so it makes good sense to avoid them wherever possible.

These are alcohol, caffeine in coffee, black tea, caffeinated drinks, colas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and caffeinated pre gym workout mixes. Any drug, medication or pain killer can put extra stress and workload on the liver, but having said that, if you are on prescription medication you can’t just stop these without the recommendation from your health care practitioner.

Some are worse than others, for example, codeine and paracetamol strongly affect the liver and can also rob the liver of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant amino acid that the liver uses to detoxify. So other options for pain relief can be the ibuprofen class of drugs or anti-inflammatory herbs, spices and oils (as prescribed by your health care provider).  Some of these will still affect the liver but not rob the body of as much glutathione.

The foods that seem to affect those with pyrrole are those that are more difficult to digest, or foods that you are intolerant or allergic to. Most common foods and food substances that are best avoided include foods containing gluten or dairy, foods that are heavily processed, or have artificial ingredients, food coloring and preservatives, nitrates from hams, bacons, smoked foods and small goods. The more natural and unprocessed a food is the better for the liver, pyrrole disorder and good health in general.

Then we can look at what foods are rich in the vital nutrients needed for pyrrole disorder. These being B6 and Zinc. Of course there are also other important nutrients such as magnesium, Vit e, selenium, boron etc, but we will focus on the main ones here today.

Foods rich in B6 and Zinc

B6 rich foods: (20mg per day is a good minimum)

Rice Bran – Rice bran contains the most vitamin B6 with 4.07mg per 100g serving and can make a nice breakfast cereal topped with one of the new blended coconut rice milks or almonds milks if no nut allergies.

Dried Herbs and Spices – Although dried herbs and spices are rarely used in large portions, adding in a few extra pinches to all your sauces, soups, and stews is a great way to get more vitamin B6 into your diet. Chilli powder contains the most vitamin B6 with 3.67mg of vitamin B6 per 100g. Paprika has 0.28mg per tablespoon, garlic powder 0.22 per tablespoon, dried tarragon, ground sage, dried spearmint, basil, chives, turmeric, bay leaves, rosemary, dill, onion powder, oregano, and marjoram (all around 0.1-0.2mg per tablespoon).

Pistachios – are a delicious snack and a great addition to salads. 100 grams of raw pistachios will provide 1.7mg of vitamin B6. Roasted pistachios will provide 1.27mg per 100 gram

Garlic provides a host of health benefits and is also a great source of vitamin B6. Raw garlic is a great base to salad dressings, and also makes a good condiment. 100 grams of raw garlic provides 1.235mg of vitamin B6, 0.04mg per clove or teaspoon.

Liver– is a vitamin rich food that is most commonly found in the form of pâtés and sausages. Most any kind of liver provides a lot of vitamin B6, but turkey liver provides the most with 1.04mg in a 100 gram serving, or 0.86mg in an average turkey liver. Beef liver provides 1.03mg of vitamin B6 per 100 gram serving. All organ meats are rich in B6.

Fish (Tuna, Salmon, and Cod) Fish is a heart healthy food and a good source of protein. Yellow-fin Tuna provides the most vitamin B6 with 1.04mg per 100g serving. Atlantic salmon provides 0.94mg per 100 gram serving, 1.45mg in half a fillet.

Sunflower and Sesame Seeds (e.g. as Tahini) Sunflower and Sesame seeds are great as an addition to salads, as well as a snack on their own. Sunflower seeds provide 0.81mg of vitamin B6 per 100 gram serving, or 1.1mg per cup. Whole roasted sesame seeds provide 0.8mg per 100 gram serving, 1.1mg per cup. Sesame butter, or tahini, will provide 0.15mg of vitamin B6 per 100 gram serving, 0.04mg.

Pork Tenderloin (Lean) Lean Pork Tenderloin, also a zinc rich food, provides the most vitamin B6 when cooked roasted. Pork tenderloin contains 0.74mg of vitamin B6 per 100 gram serving. Other grass fed meat is also rich in B6

Hazelnuts – Dry roasted hazelnuts provide 0.62mg of vitamin B6 per 100 gram serving.

Egg yolk – especially raw is a good source of B6 providing 0.05mg per egg

Zinc rich foods (15mg per day is a good minimum)

Seafood Zinc in 6 cooked Oysters 76.4mg Other Seafood High in Zinc – Crab and Lobster 2.5mg per 100g.

Beef and Lamb Zinc in 100g meat 5mg

Spinach – 0.8mg Zinc in 100g Cooked or Raw

Other Green Leafy Vegetables High in Zinc – Amaranth Leaves, Endive, Radiccio, Rocket 0.2per 100g

Pumpkin and Squash Seeds Zinc in 100g -10.3mg Other Seeds High in Zinc – Sunflower, Chia and Flaxseeds. Sesame seeds or tahini 7mg per 100g

Nuts – Cashews Zinc in 100g – 5g Other Nuts High in Zinc – Pine nuts , Pecans, Almonds, Walnut, Peanuts, and Hazelnuts av 1gm per 100g .

Pork & Chicken Zinc in 100g pork Steak 1.5mg. Chicken is also High in zincT 2mg per 100g

Beans – Mung Beans, Baked Beans, Adzuki, Chickpeas, and Kidney Beans. 0.5mg Zinc in 100g

Mushrooms Zinc Per 14g Mushroom 1mg



Common adjunctive testing to pyrrole

Common adjunctive testing done alongside pyroluria

Your health care provider may request other tests when pyrrole disorder has been picked up. These may include some or all of the following:

  1. Caeruloplasmin – copper binding capacity (blood)
  2. Copper (via serum, plasma, red cell or hair analysis)
  3. Zinc (via serum, plasma, red cell or hair analysis)
  4. Zinc to Copper ratio -ideal is 10:1 – (blood or hair)
  5. Vit D (blood)
  6. Histamine levels (blood)
  7. Homocysteine (blood)
  8. B12 and folate levels  (blood)
  9. MMA (Methyl Malonic acid – more accurate indication of B12 – blood)
  10. MTHFR gene SNP defects (blood or oral swab)
  11. Other genetic testing (oral swab)
  12. Neurotransmitter testing (urine)
  13. Amino Acid testing (urine or blood)
  14. Thyroid and other hormone testing such as adrenal

Understanding Caeruloplasmin, copper and zinc

Caeruloplasmin is a protein made by your liver and its role is to carry copper via your blood plasma around your body to the tissues that need it. As well as being a major copper-carrying protein, Caeruloplasmin is also essential in effective iron metabolism. A deficiency of Caeruloplasmin is known as Aceruloplasminemia, and this issue crops up quite a bit with copper toxicity-related conditions.

A deficiency of Caeruloplasmin is strongly associated with copper toxicity and if left free and unbound, copper becomes a powerful free radical, resulting in oxidative stress, cell and tissue destruction, neurological degeneration, and a list of health-related issues. Some of these issues include:

  • Pyrrole disorder
  • Oestrogen dominance
  • Schizophrenia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Migraines
  • Liver toxicity
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Chronic candidiasis
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cancer
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Parkinson’s
  • OCD
  • ADD & ADHD
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Perhaps one of the primary mechanisms through which copper toxicity can damage tissues is through oxidative stress and free radical formation. Free copper ions that are not bound to copper proteins such as Caeruloplasmin, are pro-oxidants, and are highly damaging.

While copper toxicity is a major cause for concern, it is something that can be effectively dealt with by powerful nutritional therapies and we need to also remember that Copper is a very important trace element that has many important roles in the body. These include:

  • Connective tissue formation
  • Nerve conduction
  • ATP synthesis
  • Iron metabolism
  • Brain health via neurotransmitter synthesis
  • Gene transcription
  • Synthesis of the antioxidant superoxide dismutase
  • Skin pigmentation
  • Nerve tissue: myelin sheath formation
  • Blood vessel formation

In a rare inherent disorder called Wilson disease, copper is not put into Caeruloplasmin and also keeps your liver from sending extra copper to be eliminated via your bowel movements so that copper then builds up in your liver until it overflows into the bloodstream which can then build up in your brain, corneas, kidneys, liver, bones, and small glands near the thyroid. If not treated, the liver and brain damage from copper poisoning can be fatal.

Whilst Wilson’s disease is a rare condition, there can be other situations where the copper is not fully bound to Caeruloplasmin and therefore toxically high levels of copper can be in the blood plasma with a concurrent copper deficiency at a cellular level. This can be balanced by addressing mineral and metal imbalances, adrenal fatigue, hormone imbalances and healing any gut issues.

Lower-than-normal Caeruloplasmin levels may indicate:

  • Wilson disease – excess storage of copper (genetic)
  • Menkes disease (kinky hair syndrome- genetic)
  • Overdose of Vitamin C
  • Copper deficiency at a cellular level, but may have high plasma levels (check the difference between plasma and hair results)
  • Aceruloplasminemia – lack of Caeruloplasmin

Greater-than-normal Caeruloplasmin levels may indicate or be noticed in:

  • copper toxicity with zinc deficiency, common with over methylation
  • pregnancy, oral contraceptive pill use and hormonal imbalances incl adrenal
  • lymphomas
  • acute and chronic inflammation such as Rheumatoid arthritis, Angina
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Schizophrenia & Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Disturbances of copper metabolism are very common, but a true copper deficiency is relatively uncommon, perhaps affecting 5-10% of the population, but could potentially become an issue with the over use of zinc supplementation when treating pyroluria. The treatment for high copper is both molybdenum and zinc. Caeruloplasmin levels a usually comparable to hair copper levels, but it is good to test both hair and blood to see the relationship to each other.

The roles of Zinc in the body

Zinc and copper are antagonists, meaning that increasing one can lower the other. While zinc toxicity is possible, far more common is zinc deficiency and copper toxicity. Zinc is an essential trace element that activates several hundred enzymatic reactions that are fundamental to a healthy life. Some of the activities that zinc are involved in are:

  • DNA & RNA synthesis
  • Gene expression
  • Nervous system function
  • Immune function & immune signalling such as cell apoptosis
  • Neuronal transmission
  • Brain function
  • Zinc possesses powerful anabolic activities in the cells
  • Formation of zinc proteins known as “zinc fingers”
  • Zinc is essential for blood clotting and platelet formation
  • Zinc is involved in Vitamin A synthesis
  • Folate is made available through zinc enzyme reactions
  • Along with copper, Zinc makes up the antioxidant enzyme system, ZnCu superoxide dismutase
  • Steroidal hormone synthesis
  • Growth & development of children
  • Testosterone and semen formation
  • The highest concentration of zinc is found in the male prostate gland

Some Causes of Copper Toxicity

  • Genetic Mutations that negatively alter copper-transport proteins such as Caeruloplasmin (CP gene). Genetic mutations that influence or cause the development of Huntington’s (HTT gene) and Wilson’s (ATP7B copper transport gene)
  • Environmental Copper Toxicity. Sources include: Copper pipes, dental fillings, copper-contaminated foods, contaminated municipal drinking water containing copper sulphate as an anti-fungal, copper IUD’s, copper fungicides, copper cookware and jewellery. (Note: copper pipes combined with water softening or heating will increase the leaching of copper and other toxic metals by making water acidic).
  • Nutrient Deficiencies: vegetarian and vegan diets (tend to be high in copper and low in zinc), zinc deficiency, pyrrole disorder
  • Increased Oxidative Stress: Deficiencies in the expression of cellular antioxidants such as metallothionein and glutathione, both of which bind to free copper ions

Nutritional Solutions for Copper Toxicity

High doses of any one nutrient, has the capability of altering other important nutrients in the body due to their relationship to each other. It is important to understand that if you have copper toxicity, taking too many copper antagonists can actually result in a copper deficiency. Therefore it is important to be consulting with an experienced practitioner to support you in choosing the right supplement regime and monitor your levels.

The following nutrients are primarily used to antagonize copper:

  • Zinc
  • Molybdenum
  • Manganese
  • Arachadonic acid (omega 6)
  • Sulfur (sulfur amino acid cysteine is essential for the formation of glutathione and metallothionein, both of which bind to free copper)
  • Vitamin B-6

The following nutrients have been shown to protect against copper-induced oxidative damage:

  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin C
  • Glutathione
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid
  • Beta Carotene
  • Polyphenols

In summary, copper toxicity is a major cause of concern, and is likely a key player in many of today’s major health imbalances and diseases. Zinc, copper and Caeruloplasmin screening tests are an inexpensive yet powerful way to monitor your levels, and from these, individualised nutritional therapies can be offered.

NutriPath Lab offer a ‘Pfeiffer Profile’ test code – 3415 which includes; Plasma Zinc, serum Copper, Caeruloplasmin, whole blood Histamine, Homocysteine, Vitamin D3, Zn:Cu ratio all for only $185.00 plus lab initiation fee of $20 if you have never used the lab before, plus the pathology blood collection fee which varies depending on the collection centre. For a kit to be organised for you, please contact the clinic via the contact page and I can organise to send you the kit needed (plus any other kits)

Hair analysis of heavy metals, minerals and ratios (HMMT) can be done via hair kit which is available on the True Vitality Shop. You will need the pass-code ‘vitality’ to gain access. Please note that you are NOT able to purchase supplements until you have register as a client after a consultation, so please don’t use the code to buy products or your order will be blocked. Thank you.

More info to come on the other tests….

The many faces/causes of Anxiety

The Many Faces of Anxiety

by Sue Kira N.D, PTC, DRM, PGD. Clin Nutri.

Anxiety is a multidimensional problem that faces far too many people today, but what causes anxiety? Below is a brief summary of some of the possible biochemical causes and support. Stress, psychological and emotional causes are not addressed here but are extremely important factors that must never be overlooked.


Nutritional deficiencies

Nutritional deficiencies such as B vitamins, magnesium, calcium, potassium and vitamin C deficiency can all contribute to or exacerbate anxiety symptoms. These deficiencies can be caused by low intake, poor absorption or metabolic disorders and/or stress so the body then requires higher amounts of these nutrients. It is best to not self prescribe otherwise other imbalances can be created. Specific ratios of vitamins and minerals are required for balanced mental, emotional and physical health and wellbeing. For more information on Heavy Metal and Mineral testing please click here.


Allergies and intolerances

There are many common food and substance allergies that influence anxiety, such as food colors, preservatives, gluten or dairy intolerance or allergies. Many people who have been tested for allergies can have intolerances that may have been missed which can aggravate symptoms of anxiety. Food sensitivities that are not allergies can also be a problem, such as being sensitive to sugar caffeine or salicylates for example. For more information on allergies and intolerances please visit this article


Hormone imbalances

Hormone imbalances, especially thyroid levels, can give rise to anxiety symptoms. If a person has an under or overactive thyroid, then anxiety can be one of the many symptoms. Testing for thyroid levels in Australia can leave out many subclinical cases that could otherwise be helped by natural hormone support. PMS can be accompanied by increased anxiety, so balancing hormones in general can be a helpful support.


Blood sugar imbalances

If a person’s blood sugar is not stable, is too high or especially if too low, this will surface any underlying anxiety that may not be otherwise noted. Blood sugar levels are dependent on the types of foods eaten (especially protein and carbohydrates) or how well they are digested as well as proper probiotic (friendly gut bacteria) levels. Another factor is dependent on if the pancreas is functioning properly or not.


Metabolic disorders

Metabolic disorders such as pyrrole (aka pyroluria) are known to lead to an imbalance in specific vitamins and minerals. One of the more common symptoms of pyroluria is anxiety. Pyrrole disorder can be easily tested with a specific urine test and treatment is with activated B6 and specific Zinc, but also balanced as needed with other nutrients. For more information on pyrrole disorder please visit:

Or Pyrrole Australia Face Book page


Heavy metal toxicity

Toxicity from heavy metals/minerals can also create imbalances that exacerbate anxiety. Sometimes a basic imbalance in the ratios of non toxic minerals can aggravate symptoms. Testing is best done by hair analysis. See Metal and Mineral testing article by clicking here.


Amino acid imbalances

Amino acids are the building blocks or individual parts of proteins. These are the needed co-factors for the production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, adrenaline (epinephrine) and nor-adrenaline (nor epinephrine). Amino acids and neurotransmitters can now be tested by urine to see if there are any crucial imbalances contributing to anxiety.


Other factors

Other factors that could add to anxiety are: leaky gut syndrome, high copper levels, high histamine levels, other health problems/diseases, previous or current substance abuse leading to metabolic imbalances, reactions to medications, stress, caffeine, alcohol and much more.

For more articles on health and wellbeing please visit

The above is a brief summary of conditions and imbalances that can add to anxiety. For more specific testing and assessments please visit your experienced local health care provider or Sue Kira at True Vitality. Appointments are available in clinic, via skype or phone sessions. For more information please email Sue via the contact page or phone 07 5522 6528.Comments section below is for public viewing of your comments on the above article. Thank you, with love, Sue

Treating Insulin Resistance with good choices of Proteins & Carbs

Understanding Insulin Resistance and how to treat it with good food choices

Despite major changes in food production and technology, the eating habits of Western Society over the last few decades have resulted in record levels of chronic degenerative disease as well as a myriad of ‘minor disorders’ of digestive, respiratory and other systems.

Over 2000 years ago, Hippocrates advised his students to “let food be your medicine.” Every day experience tells us that our diet intimately affects our health and well being (remember the feeling of “I shouldn’t have eaten that!”)

Post war Western Society, indulged itself in an excess of refined carbohydrates and saturated fats, a trend that is now, even in orthodox medical circles, regarded as unhealthy.

The dietary advice of the last 20 years – initially from ‘alternative’ practitioners and later by mainstream medicos – has been to increase complex carbohydrates and fiber, and reduce fat and protein.  Current clinical experience, however, tells us this is still wrong.  The standard high complex carbohydrate, low fat, low protein diet has resulted in: raised serum insulin levels causing insulin resistance, reduction in basal metabolic rate, increased fat tissue growth and reduction in lean muscle mass, and accelerated biological ageing, common allergies to grains and dairy foods, immune system over activation and failure, and record amounts of heart disease, obesity and cancer.

The first point – insulin resistance

Insulin resistance is affecting the health of many people today.  The cell has only two ways to absorb the glucose it needs to make energy; insulin – mediated facilitated diffusion, and exercise – induced trans-membrane transport.  With the current trend towards an increasingly sedentary life style, insulin sensitivity becomes the controlling factor in cellular energy production.  If this is impaired, then every cell in the body is short of energy – and no matter what the cells function is, it needs energy to do it.

The obvious consequence of insulin resistance is fatigue, which I would have to say is the most common complaint I see in my clinic everyday.  But it goes a lot further than that; without cellular energy, muscle cells can’t contract or relax efficiently – this affects not only skeletal muscle, but also cardiac muscle, leading to cardiovascular disease; without cellular energy, endocrine cells can’t excrete hormones efficiently, resulting in hormonal imbalances; Immune cells don’t function properly resulting in infections, auto-immune diseases, cancer etc; bone cells cannot maintain bone density resulting in osteoporosis. Digestion is the most energy consuming function in the body – with insulin resistance, digestion is not effective.

So what causes insulin resistance?

Resistance to insulin can be caused by nutritional deficiencies like chromium, magnesium, selenium, taurine and/or essential fatty acids which can be assessed with Live Blood Screening, but is primarily a result of hyperinsulinaemia – which is too much insulin in the blood.

There are four main causes of hyperinsulinaemia?

1. lack of exercise, 2.stress, 3.toxin induced immune over activity and the – wrong balance of carbohydrates to proteins and nutrient deficiencies.

The first two – exercise and stress require life style counseling and appropriate supportive supplementation and management.

With toxin-induced immune over activity – assessment of this would be done with consultation, Live Blood Screening and/or urine and saliva analysis, and correction requires integrated detoxification techniques utilizing detoxification diet, herbals and nutritionals to reduce the toxic burden on the body and cells.

Four key dietary programs may be involved in the reversal of insulin resistance:

1. The Insulin Zone System

2. The Ketogenic Fat Loss System

3. The A/B/O Blood Type Diet.

4. A fourth way which is even more profound but a total commitment to honesty with eating is vital, and that is to feel what foods best suit the body at any given time. This can only be done if first you have removed certain foods that inhibit you from truly feeling the right foods to eat. These foods are namely gluten, dairy and most starch foods, plus caffeine and alcohol as without removing these the body can be fooled by the interplay with foods and what they do to the body. More on this in another article.

The Insulin Zone System is an excellent program for educating anyone * towards the healthier eating patterns necessary to control blood glucose and insulin levels, thereby avoiding insulin resistance and the myriad of problems it brings.  Everyone will also benefit from the A/B/O diet.  You can use a combination of these two diets to get the best out of both.

Briefly the Zone Diet is about having 40 % of the diet ‘good’ carbohydrates, 30 % protein and 30 % ‘good’ fats.  The Insulin Zone System is great for everyone, * but especially those experiencing chronic tiredness, depression, poor circulation, hormonal imbalances including PMS, anxiety, hypertension, increased cholesterol, asthma and of course diabetes. * Obese people are unable to benefit from the Insulin Zone System because their body fat maintains circulating levels of fatty acids that perpetuate insulin resistance.

The adipose tissue must be reduced below critical percentages before the Insulin Zone System can take effect.  This loss of fat is achieved most effectively with the Ketogenic Fat Loss System.  Employing the A/B/O Blood Type Diet principles with the Ketogenic Fat Loss System will greatly improve results.

So how do you work out how much protein and carbs to eat to get a good ‘Insulin Zone’ balance?  The answer is in the palm of your hand.  The thickness and size of your palm is about the same volume as the amount of protein food that you need at each meal.  For snacks, use 1/3 of a palm of protein food.  Examples of protein may include – nuts, seeds, tofu, chicken, fish, eggs, lean beef/lamb, turkey etc.  For carbohydrates you can use the same method, except that you can have two palms of ‘good’ carbohydrate foods or one palm of ‘poor’ carbohydrates.

The ‘good’ carbs are all vegetables with the exclusion of the starchy veggies such as potato, sweet potato and corn have more nutrients and they won’t increase blood sugar/insulin levels as much as the ‘poor’ carbs such as bread, pastas, rice, potatoes, and sugar.

A more detailed listing of “good” and “poor’ carbohydrates as well as ‘good’ and ‘poor’ choices of fats and proteins are available from the clinic – Free with any session (please ask), as well as more information on the A/B/O Blood Type Diet, Ketogenic Fat Loss Diet and Detox Diet.

If you feel great and everything is in good working order and your diet works for you then stick with it.  These diets are choices available to assist people to make changes – remembering that no one diet suits all.

The A/B/O Blood Type Diet incorporates using ‘blood friendly’ foods specific to your blood type and avoiding those foods designated as having reactive ‘lectins’ – proteins that bind red blood cells – making them sticky often seen in Live Blood Screening. If you don’t know your blood type – this can be quickly determined with just a drop of blood from your finger in clinic.

Urinary Pyrrole Analysis Overview – by AAL

Overview of Urinary Pyrrole/Mauve Factor Analysis

For an overview on Urinary Pyrrole analysis written by Brett Lambert of Applied Analytical Laboratories Brisbane, please see below. Here Brett goes over the important questions often asked about how a sample should be collected properly, what pyroluria is, some important references and also a brief history of himself… Brett Lambert (M.AppSc, B.AppSc(Chemistry)), Director, Applied Analytical Laboratories, Pty Ltd. 8/26 Nestor Dr, Meadowbrook Qld 4131 Ph 07 3133 1615, email: .

Urinary pyrrole (hydroxyhemopyrroline-2-one or HPL, Mwt; 123gmol-1) is a labile intermediate lactam generated during the oxidative degradation of heme and its derives (biliverdin, biliruben and urobilinogen) in situ1,2. . Increased excretion of HPL can result from a range of factors including (but not limited to) a genetic disorder affecting haemoglobin synthesis, the accelerated oxidative degradation of heme and its derivatives (a form of oxidative stress), or from the disruption of this endogenous cycle and has been described as a common feature of many behavioural disorders (also referred to as Pyrroluria)3,4,5. HPL is detectable in human urine, faeces, blood, and cerebrospinal fluid and can be eliminated by dialysis6.

A practical and reliable blood test for HPL is not possible due to the myriad of interfering substances12, thus urine remains the preferred testing substrate. In fact, the most common (and very high) false positive results arise from the presence of blood in the specimen. . HPL is commonly mis-represented as kryptopyrrole (Figure 1), a chemically similar compound used as the standard for colorimetric HPL assay7. This distinction has been confirmed by synthesis8,9,10, Gas-Liquid chromatography (GC)10 and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS)12.

These methods compared favourably (linear r=0.98) with the colorimetric method used in this laboratory12 (urinary HPL levels are measured quantitatively by solvent extraction, reaction with a developing reagent, and spectrophotometric measurement at 540nm)4,7.

Second morning void (or random – providing it’s not the first) specimens are collected into vials containing preservative, and snap frozen (-30oC). Samples are transported on dry ice (-30oC) to ensure the temperature remains constant and they remain frozen and protected from light until analysis. .

Figure 1 – HPL and kryptopyrrole chemical structures. HPL and kryptopyrrole chemical structures HPL is very reactive and decomposes as soon as it leaves the body. It has a half-life of 10-12 hours11 (which means that if not frozen, after the first 24 hours, the level of HPL in the sample will be approximately 20% of the original value and 5% of the original value after 48 hours – which is also dependent on ambient temperature and other factors).

In terms of results, this property results in enormous variability (which is not desirable for a reliable diagnostic test). In early development work on the urinary pyrrole test in Australia by this author, it was also found that exposure of samples to direct sun-light (or collection in a room illuminated by direct sunlight) resulted in almost instantaneous elimination of all HPL activity.

In almost all cases in this laboratory, no detectable HPL has been found in samples that have thawed during transit (or arrived unfrozen). As a laboratory providing a national diagnostic service, it is imperative to provide the most reliable, accurate, precise, and consistent results as possible and as a result we have developed a uniform collection and transport protocol for all samples.

The freezing of samples (and for them to remain frozen until analysis) is crucial to the successful and accurate analysis of urinary HPL at this time. In the future, Applied Analytical Laboratories will be introducing a technique (currently under development) for room temperature stabilization of the analyte using a novel process. This technique has shown promise, however more validation is required before roll-out. .

The working ranges for urinary HPL levels using the method employed at Applied Analytical Laboratories are as follows: . [HPL] < 10μg/dL: Normal 10 μg/dL <[HPL] > 20μg/dL: Borderline [HPL] > 20μg/dL: Elevated These ranges have been validated by clinical trial where mental health in-patients (150) and controls (50) were tested. .


1.Stryer, Lupert, Biochemistry, 2nd edition, 1981 P.507-508, Freeman Press 2. 19/08/2012 3. McGinnis, W: Pyroluria: Hidden Cause of Schizophrenia,Bipolar, Depression, and Anxiety Symptoms. International Guide to the World of Alternative Mental Health. Orlando 21May 2004. 4. Hoffer, A.H. “The Discovery of Kryptopyrrole and its importance in diagnosis of Biochemical Imbalances inSchizophrenia and in Criminal Behaviour”, Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, Vol 10, No.1, 1995. 5. William J Walsh, Laura B. Glab, Mary Haakenson; Reduced violent behaviour following biochemical therapy, Physiology & Behaviour 82, 2004 835 -839. 6.Durko I, Englehardt J, Szilard J., et al; The Effect of haemodialysis on the excretion of the mauve factor in schizophrenia. J. Orthomolec Psychiatry. 1984; 13:222-232.3 7. Sohler A, Holsztynska MS, Pfeiffer CC. A Rapid Screening Test for Pyroluria; useful in distinguishing a schizophrenic Population. J. Orthomolec Psychiatr. 1974; 26:21-28. 8. Wooldrige TA, Lightner DA. Synthesis of “oxidized” hemopyrrole and kryptopyrrole: porphyric monopyrroles. J Heterocyclic Chem. 1977; 14:1283-1284. 9. Irvine DG. Pyrroles in neuropsychiatric and porphyric disorders: confirmation of a metabolite structure by synthesis. Life Sci. 1978;23:983-990. 10. Irvine DG. Hydroxy-hemopyrrolenone, not kryptopyrrole, in the urine of schizophrenics and porphyrics. Clinical Chem. 1978;2069-2070. 11. Graham DJM. Quantitativedetermination of 3-ethyl-5-hydroxy-4,5-dimethyl-[delta 3]-pyrrolin-2-one in urine using gas liquid chromatography. Clin Chim Acta. 1978; 85:205-210. 12. McGinnis WR, Audhya T, Walsh WJ, Jackson JA, McLaren-Howard J, Lewis A, Lauda P, Bibus DM, Jurnak F, Lietha R, Hoffer A . Discerning The Mauve Factor, Alternative Therapies, Vol 14 No.2 – 3; 2008. .

Author’s Brief History. Brett Lambert is a highly qualified scientist with over 25 years’ experience in research & development (pharmacology, pharmaceutical lead discovery, separation science and structural elucidation), as well as commercial laboratory management. Brett was approached in 2003 by the Bio-balance Health Group to determine the feasibility of urinary pyrrole analysis in Australia.

Following adaptation and development, the test was introduced to and used by medical practitioners undergoing specific training in the field of treating mental health. Since its introduction, Brett has performed approximately 30,000 urinary pyrrole tests and is the most experienced scientist in Australia performing this work. In 2013, Brett was acknowledged by the Bio-Balance Health group for his support and contribution to medical practitioner training in Australia. Applied Analytical

Laboratories provides a urinary pyrrole analysis service for medical practitioners through national pathology collection agencies and its analysis method has been developed to provide a reliable and consistent testing service to all regardless of geographic location.

Alcohol & Cigs- the Body's cry for stillness

Alcohol and cigarettes: the body’s cry for moments of stillness

When I am with clients who are suffering from fatigue, we discuss the things that may have been draining their energy.

Some share with me how they like to have a glass of wine or two at the end of each day to wind down. It can make the difference between them saying to their kids, “Ok it’s bath time darlings”, rather than angrily blurting out “get in the bath you little monsters or I’ll…!”

All they want is some peace and quiet at the end of the day. How often have we used a glass of wine, a cigarette or even a cup of tea or coffee to sit quietly and unwind? That moment when you have a sip of the drink, or drag on the cigarette and you are totally focused on the moment; think about it…the long drag in and then exhale with relief, or the sip, swallow and the ‘ahhhh’ as you breathe out with ‘relief’ and relaxation.

I realised that what people often miss when they give up these things is the time to simply relax and just ‘be’, because our bodies really crave moments of stillness.

I remembered how I did the same thing. These moments are our search for stillness, but the substances we choose to use actually take us away from true stillness. The caffeine in tea and coffee, the sugar in alcohol, and the nicotine in cigarettes, all make us racy, running faster inside than our natural rhythm.

At other times I would stop on my way home from work and just sit by the river to relax before going home to the family. It was a moment just for me; a moment of stillness to reflect and just ‘be’.

I chat with my clients about how easy it is to create moments of stillness that don’t have to be harmful to the body. By creating a space for ourselves of only a few minutes to sit, close our eyes, breathe very gently and feel our body, feet and eyes relaxing and our hands resting on our thighs, we can feel an absolute presence with ourselves. And then, by gently opening our eyes, we can hold that feeling of gentleness and presence and continue to be with ourselves.

When we share a few minutes of doing this together in the clinic, they are often amazed at how lovely they can feel in a very short time without substances, tapes or any cost and how they can do this at any time, even with their eyes open.

We may also discuss how being calm and present with children can bring them to gentleness and calmness. Some have noticed that when they are ‘actively present’ with their kids by maintaining eye contact and really connecting ‘with’ them, they are lovely and calm and less aggressive. They have also noticed that when they are stressed and cranky, the kids are harder to be with, which makes things worse for all.

If you would like to have this experience for yourself just ask when you come in for a consultation, and I will be very happy to share how easy this can be done.

Pyrrole Disorder

What is Pyroluria, pyrrole disorder, mauve factor?

Pyrrole disorder, also known as pyroluria, kryptopyroluria, kryptopyrole or Mauve disorder is a biochemical imbalance involving an abnormality in haemoglobin synthesis that can be purely genetic or acquired through environmental and emotional stress and especially from ‘leaky gut syndrome’ and the over use of antibiotics.

Pyrrole disorder is caused by the overproduction of hydroxyhempyrolin (HPL). The HPL binds zinc and B6 preventing their use by the body and causing excretion in the urine and hair. HPL is a biomarker for oxidative stress and is neurotoxic. Stress of any kind will increases production of pyrroles/HPL which in turn decreases zinc and B6

The main biochemical features are of severe zinc and B6 deficiency. 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 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). The oils EPA/DHA but mostly GLA are found to be low in those with pyrrole disorder and are damaged by oxidative stress/free radicals/toxins created by pyrrole.

Signs and symptoms suggestive of someone having pyroluria.

White spots on fingernails (zinc deficiency) is a strong sign of this problem. Hypoglycemia/sugar intolerance is common, as are food and environmental allergies.
Other common symptoms are joint pains (especially knee pain), fatigue, headaches (especially migraine headaches), bowel dysfunction such as irritable bowel syndrome, easy bruising, dizziness, insomnia, poor memory and difficulty concentrating. Poor stress control, nervousness, anxiety, mood swings, severe inner tension, episodic anger, poor short-term memory and depression are other common symptoms

Obviously, such symptoms are common, and not everyone who has them will have pyroluria and not everyone with this disorder will have all of the symptoms and may even have only two, but have difficulty treating these symptoms with the usual methods.

The treatment to correct the imbalance seems surprisingly simple. It involves taking zinc, vitamin B6 and/or pyridoxal 5-phosphate (activated B6), GLA, an essential omega 6 fatty acid found in evening primrose, borage and black currant oil, Vit E and magnesium.

However, just because the treatment seems relatively simple to describe does not mean that it is easy to do. As people start to take these needed nutrients they may feel terrible as heavy metals and other toxins are released into circulation and their immune system is activated, causing microbial toxins to also be released.

These nutrients should be introduced gradually with the supervision of a qualified practitioner and often need further support on an individual basis. It is not advisable for people to self medicate as B6 & zinc toxicity can also be an issue for some people if their body still can’t utilise these nutrients properly and so close observation by an experienced practitioner is important.
Adding the nutrients that will correct the pyroluria will not make all of the patients problems go away, as those who have this tend to have chronic microbial infections, a sea of accumulated toxins and a history of emotional wounds to still deal with. Correcting the pyroluria, however, will allow them to respond appropriately to other treatments that would have been previously ineffective and help them to finally move down the road towards true healing.

Unfortunately pyroluria is not a recognized condition by many health practitioners. It is wide-spread and mental health experts estimate as high as 20% of all psychiatric patients and 40% of people with schizophrenia and 5% of ‘normal’ people have pyroluria. I personally am seeing this statistic a lot higher in my clinic in ‘normal’ clients. It seems to affect women more than men but unfortunately most people with pyroluria go undiagnosed.

Diagnosis of pyroluria / pyrrole disorder

Pyroluria is diagnosed by a simple urine test which detects KPU in urine. Most persons have less than 10mcg/dL of KPU. Persons with 10-20 mcg/dl are considered to have “borderline” pyroluria and may still benefit from treatment. Persons with levels above 20 mcg/dl are considered to have pyroluria. Some have levels in the hundreds.

Treatment of pyroluria / pyrrole disorder

Pyroluria is managed in part by restoring vitamin B6 and zinc.  The type of replacement therapy is very important as zinc must be provided in an efficiently absorbed form. Vitamin B6 is also available in several forms. Other nutrients may assist include niacinamide (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), methylcobalamin (B12), manganese, vitamins C, E and magnesium. Food sources and nutritional supplements containing copper and red/yellow food dyes should be avoided. Copper is commonly high in people with pyroluria and needs to be detoxified. It is advisable to have mineral and metal levels, ratios and balnces performed by a Hair mineral analysis to get the treatment correct. I prefer to use a lab in the United Sates as they have an excellent reporting system that is usually around 38 pages long. The cost is only $155 plus postage of kit and postage of sample to the lab (minimal). Kits can be obtained from the True Vitality Clinic. see Heavy metal and Mineral testing for more info.

People with mild-moderate pyroluria usually have a fairly rapid response to treatment if no other chemical imbalances are present. People with severe pyroluria usually require several weeks before progress is seen and improvement may be gradual over 3 – 12 months. Features of pyroluria usually recur within 2 – 4 weeks if the nutritional program is stopped.  Thus, the need for treatment is thought to be indefinite, but with good management and healthy lifestyle and emotional balance I feel that it is possible to need no supplementation once the correct balance is created and a fairly stress-free life is sustained.

The history of pyrrole discovery

Pyroluria, was first noted by Abram Hoffer MD, PhD and Humphrey Osmond, MRCS, DPM in the early 1960’s in their research on metabolic imbalances in people with schizophrenia This condition has been found to be relatively common in people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (manic depressive disease) by orthomolecular psychiatrists (psychiatrists who focus on nutritional therapies); they have found approximately 20% of schizophrenics have this condition, and they tend to respond well to treating it. But Dr. Klinghardt and others have found that not everyone with this condition suffers from such extreme psychiatric problems (though many may have some tendency towards anxiety and/or depression). Indeed, the breakthrough Dr. Klinghardt has made is in recognizing how common this condition may be in other people with chronic illness.

In the early 1970’s Carl Pfieffer MD PhD found evidence of kryptopyroluria in 5 % of normal people he tested (people without serious psychiatric illness). This may represent the percentage of the population with a strong genetic tendency to kryptopyroluria, but it is possible the number of people with this problem has increased due to our increasing exposure to environmental stressors (microbes and toxins) as well as increasing emotional unrest (stress increases pyrroles) and the higher use of electronic devises (positive ions) which also leads to less ‘natural living’ and less exercise and fresh air.

Testing for pyrrole disorder

Pyrrole is extremely sensitive to light and heat and so a urine sample must be collected in an environment with the least exposure to light as possible, in a container with a preserving agent such as vitamin C, wrapped in alfoil upon sample collection, snap frozen and then sent to the testing laboratory on dry ice, so for this reason it is not advisable to send your urine sample in the post even if frozen first. Many a person has been misdiagnosed this way and then missed out on appropriate treatment, not to mention the loss of cost of the test.

Testing laboratory – Applied Analytical Laboratories – Brisbane

There are a few testing laboratories in Australia, but the most accurate and reliable one I have used is a lab that is dedicated to only testing for pyrroles and nothing else, so they are specialists in this field and dedicate all of their time to this testing, research into pyroluria as well as research and development of better collection systems. They are AAL. For a list of places around Australia that a collection can be done and for your practitioner request sheet, please email me via my ‘contact’ page, not the ‘comments’ section below, so that I can then speak to you directly and give you the right details and sheets. Note please give me your area that you live in so I can give you the place closet to you.  Brett from AAL has written a post to answer questions on why correct collection procedures are important and the science behind it all. Very well worth a read. You can find this post by clicking here.

Important notes to read before getting tested for pyrrole disorder

Please note, that it is super important how the collection of the urine sample is taken and even more important that it is handled correctly to get to the lab without the pyrroles in the sample deteriorating. The sample must be collected in a dimmly lit room if possible, in a special container that has a preservative. The urine must not be pre-collected, but done directly into the specimen container and then immediately wrapped in aluminum foil, as pyrrole levels are affected by light and heat. Then the sample must be snap frozen and delivered to the lab with dry-ice, not just frozen and posted as some labs do, or there will be a false negative or low reading. see above link.

The best time of day to do the test is from the second morning urine sample of the day onwards, so when booking your time with the collection center please take this into account when booking your time. You do not have to be fasting, only off B6 and zinc, unless retesting to check if your dose is working.

It is best to not have taken any B6 or zinc for at least two weeks prior to collection as this too will give a potential false  reading. If you have been taking B6 supplements for longer than 6 months already, then you will need to get your B6 levels tested first after a few days ‘clean out’ of no products, to see if you have elevated B6 which will block the test from working. If you have elevated B6 levels then don’t do the testing till your B6 is back into reference range or again the test will potentially have a false negative reading or a lower reading. However, for follow-up pyrrole testing, you must stay on your B6 and zinc regime to show that the dose that you are on is correct for your level of pyroluria.

It is also important to note that even though B6 and zinc are used as part of the treatment of pyroluria, taking these products doesn’t always work if they are the wrong types, but can still accumulate to toxic levels in the body and be causing more harm than good. Many people with pyrrole find that because their body doesn’t utilise minerals well, they can still have toxic levels showing up in the blood.

Important also is to not just be on the treatment without monitoring of your B6, zinc and copper levels or you could risk getting toxic levels or further imbalancing other things. In short, pyroluria needs continued observation with a good practitioner.

Please know that I can offer any tests needed (via pathology request sheet), but there is no medicare rebate with Naturopaths pathology requests.  If you would like the rebate then you will need to find a good GP that tests for nutritionals. Medicare generally does not cover vitamin testing (except iron), but it is not expensive to do. Please note that pyrrole screening is not covered by Medicare even if requested by a GP. The pyrrole screening also needs  a request sheet which I can also offer and then we can have an in clinic, phone or skype consultation. To organise this please contact me via my ‘contact’ page and NOT on the comments below. Comments below are for sharing of experiences of pyrrole with others or you can visit the Pyrrole Australia Face Book page and have discussion and comments with others with pyrrole disorder by clicking here.

Important Note: I am very often asked if I know of a practitioner or G.P that I could recommend for treatment. I do not keep a list of practitioners, but I do however have a list of places to get your sample taken, but you will need to contact me via the ‘contact page’ not the comments below and let me know here you live, so that I can direct you to the correct collection center. Thank you.


I had a question asked of me below in the comments but I felt it was important to share this up here where everyone can see as it was a good question…here’s my response

A question was recently emailed to me that I will abbreviate to the following: If B6 and zinc bind to pyrroles to help get pyrroles out of the body then why do we need to stop taking B6 and zinc before testing…shouldn’t this help to show pyrrole excretion and not actually interfere with the test results. And also, if you have a deficiency of B6 and zinc would this in turn increase pyrroles in the body.

Yes it is true that pyrroles bind to B6 and zinc in the body and so thereby creating a deficiency of these nutrients in the body and that the use of B6 and zinc can help to both replete the deficiency and also help to reduce the pyrroles, but it is how it reduces the pyrroles that is important.

Just having a deficiency in these nutrients doesn’t in itself cause an increase in pyrroles but rather a faulty enzyme pathway in the liver causes them to increase.

Every single person makes pyrroles as a by-product of the conversion of iron into haemoglobin (in less technical words), but if the livers P450 enzyme pathway is faulty then there is a higher amount of these toxic metabolites/by-products produced.

These toxic metabolites then bind to B6 and Zinc, or rather, the liver binds B6 and zinc to the pyrroles to make them safe to leave the body. It is the livers job to bind (conjugate) toxins of all sorts to help them safely out of the body. Toxic metabolites are often bound to particular amino acids but for this toxin the liver uses B6 and zinc. In the bound state this substance is no longer detectable as pyrrole because it is a different substance altogether than it was before and so therefore is undetected.

If a person has been taking B6 and zinc then the test can show a negative reading or lower reading than if not taking the supplements as the pyrroles will be bound and in a non-detectable form.

The higher the pyrrole level, the higher the need to take B6 and zinc to bind and clear it safely from the body as well as replete the deficiency state that can cause many symptoms.

Doses needs to be monitored and adjusted for the individual as some cannot tolerate high levels of B6 or zinc as there is still the underlying issue of poor conversion of vitamins and minerals in the first place (remember the P450 pathway is faulty). Having a faulty P450 pathway means that there are other vitamins and minerals that the liver cannot convert to the active form properly but because this doesn’t form toxic by-products (that we are aware of) then that is not looked at, but in general there is commonly other vitamins and minerals and fatty acids that can and are deficient or improperly utilised by the body effectively.

When the blood is tested for nutrient levels it will often show adequate levels but if the liver is not converting them properly or they are not being utilised properly then it is as though the body is still deficient. This is something that has many practitioners scratching their head as they think “I was sure that person was B12 (eg) deficient but their levels show to be fine: But this is another story….to be continue…

For a link to the Pyrrole Australia Face book page click here

Important Note: I am very often asked if I know of a practitioner or G.P that I could recommend for pyrrole treatment. I do not keep a list of practitioners, but am happy to help you any way I can personally either via in clinic consultation or via Skype or phone consultation. I do however have a list of places to get your sample taken, but you will need to contact me via the ‘contact page’ (see links above) NOT the comments below (please) and let me know where you live, so that I can direct you to the correct collection centre. Please note that collection centres are not laboratories, just places to collect the sample. Thank you.

For information on Common adjunctive testing done alongside Pyrrole screening click here.

For information on the food that best suit someone with pyrrole disorder and foods rich in B6 and zinc click here.


In this article I thought I would talk about juices. We have all had such a long hot summer and many people have been feeling overly tired from the effects of the heat. I have had practically every person who has come in for a Live Blood Analysis complain of being excessively tired. Lots of people have been dehydrated, even though they seem to be drinking more water than usual, and most are mineral deficient, especially in Magnesium, a water soluble mineral.

A lot have been suffering the effects of toxicity, due also to dehydration. We’ve probably all had a toxic headache  from not drinking enough water at some time in our lives), as toxins are concentrated when we are dehydrated. It is very difficult to drink enough when it is so hot.

This is where the Ionised, alkaline water can help, as the smaller molecular structure helps the water to enter the cells of the body more easily, so it’s easier to stay hydrated (ring for more info if required).

Also fresh juices can help act as a “wetting” agent in the body. The best juices for this is apple juice, with it’s high pectin concentrations, also anything with chlorophyll in it, such as liquid chlorophyll, or anything green, such as wheat grass, barley grass, alfalfa, spinach, bock choy etc. and these also contain a rich source of magnesium. Fresh juice provides us with minerals, vitamins, essential fatty acids, carbohydrates, proteins and much more.

All these factors are vital to maintaining good health.  Although eating fruits and vegetables in their natural state provides us with adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals, we only obtain the maximum benefits from them when they are juiced, as much of their goodness is locked in the fibres which the body eventually expels.  However, when they are juiced, their goodness is released from the fibres and we are able to drink their highly concentrated nutrients which is then able to enter our bloodstream.

Very few people in today’s society eat enough raw fruit and vegetables.  The easiest way to start accommodating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet is through juicing.  Juicing provides a quick and easy way to increase your consumption of these foods which would otherwise be hard to eat.  You will find when making your own fresh juices and including them in your daily diet, that you will have increased energy levels, a glowing complexion,  strengthened immune system, stronger bones and a reduced risk of disease.

Juices can also flush toxins from your body, are good for your weight, heart and circulation and general well being.  Juices contain no saturated fats or added sodium and can be helpful with lowering cholesterol.  Enzymes are also found in raw foods.  They are the life principle in atoms and molecules that make fresh “living foods” so easy to digest.   The quicker “living food” is eaten after juicing the more enzymes and nutrients are present.

There are many bottled juices available on the market today.  One of the problems with these bottled juices is that many of the valuable nutrients contained in fresh juices are lost during the bottling process.  Making your own juices and drinking them whilst still fresh ensures the control over the quality of the fruits and vegetables you are consuming as well as saving you money. Another way to utilise juices is in fasting programs.  

Juice Fasting is the most effective way to restore health and rejuvenate the body.  Although the old, classic form of fasting was a pure water fast, all the leading fasting authorities today agree that juice fasting is far superior to a water fast.  Fasting on fresh raw juices of fruit and vegetables, plus vegetable broths and herb teas, result in more effective cleansing and rejuvenation of the tissues than does the traditional water fast.

During the juice fast, the process of elimination of the dead and dying cells is speeded up, and the new-building of cells is accelerated and stimulated.  At the same time, the toxic waste products that interfere with the nourishment of cells are effectively eliminated and the normal metabolic rate and cell oxygenation are restored.

Vitamins, minerals, enzymes, trace elements and natural colorings of fresh, raw vegetable and fruit juices are extremely beneficial in normalising all the body processes, supplying needed elements for the body’s own healing activity and cell regeneration.  These juices require no digestion and are easily assimilated directly into the bloodstream. 

Mineral imbalance in the tissues is one of the main causes of diminished oxygenation, and consequent disease and premature aging.  Generous amounts of minerals in the juices help to restore the biochemical and mineral balance in the tissues and cells.  Also, raw juices contain an as yet unidentified factor which stimulates a micro-electric tension in the body and is responsible for the cells ability to absorb nutrients from the blood stream and effectively excrete metabolic wastes.

Here & Now Magazine March 2004