Appropriate tests reveal the underlying problem
by Sue Kira, Naturopath & Clinical Nutritionist
Client name and identifying information changed
Sarah’s HPL (Pyrrole) score was 350, so clearly there was something really going on for her pyrrole wise. Symptoms included extreme fatigue, constipation, bloating, weight gain, anxiety, dry eyes, insomnia sometimes but she could sleep 20 out of 24hrs if allowed to. To top this off she had been unsuccessfully trying to fall pregnant for the previous three years.
When preparing for conception three years earlier, she visited a naturopath and her doctor to try to remedy her fatigue and was tested for pyrrole disorder. Because her score was extreme, she was placed on very high levels of B6 and zinc along with magnesium, vitamin C and some other supplements. She was tested for thyroid which did show underactive and she also had high levels of antibodies present.
Sarah was placed onto thyroid medication along with her nutrients and after several months her energy, weight and sleep improved, but her anxiety and digestive system was still bad.
The digestive distress was put down to her anxiety and her anxiety was put down to her thyroid, and thus she was told that she needed antidepressants. Really???
Anyway, she was still not conceiving and found me on an online search. After a thorough consultation and some extra tests, we found she had a double mutation (homozygous) for the MTHFR gene, and her thyroid antibodies were elevated even though her other thyroid parameters were normal.
This was because her immune system had never been treated, only the thyroid hormones. Consequently, this created severe oxidation, making her pyrrole score elevated and her bloating and constipation added to the picture.
In many cases, people with elevated levels of pyrrole are also deemed to be an under-methylator or an over-methylator (see my article What is Methylation).
Sarah had been diagnosed as an under-methylator due to some of her symptoms and some ambiguous blood tests. I say ambiguous because often these markers are not so clear cut or accurate, so the practitioner often decides from symptoms, which can work…sometimes.
The problem with being an under-methylator is that they are often told to avoid things like B12, folate and B3. But I realised these were the very things Sarah needed to help her anxiety, which we organised and in turn settled her gut (flight and flight switch).
This also helped her to successfully fall pregnant and have two children (one at a time). Folate in the active form is really needed (sometimes in high doses) for those with MTHFR to have a successful pregnancy and healthy child free of things like ADD, ADHD, Autism, Neural tube defects etc.
In fact, Sarah was neither an under nor over methylator but simply needed her MTHFR enzyme pathway to work properly. The B6, zinc, Vit C, magnesium etc all helped considerably but without the addition of Folate as 5MTHF, methylcobalamin B12, and in her case vitamin D for her immune system, along with a special auto-immune diet, Sarah was on a pathway to having no children.
Now she has restored health and two very healthy children.
For more information about Pyrrole Disorder please click here