by Sue Kira, Naturopath & Clinical Nutritionist
Warning: beware of reactions to SSRI’s if you have pyrrole disorder
Dear friends, recently a colleague was distraught because his close relative committed suicide after being on an SSRI antidepressant for only three days.
It was brought to my notice that the relative suffered from depression and was also an over-methylating pyrrole (high copper, low histamine). Seeking help from a new GP he was prescribed an SSRI antidepressant and three days later took his life.
Although I didn’t know this person, it had a profound effect on me and I felt strongly that this needs to be known by as many people as possible (please share). Admittedly he was already in a bad space but this situation has happened time and time again where an anti-depressant has made someone feel worse to the point of suicide.
I have seen and heard of situations in the treatment of pyroluria where methylation support products, such as SAMe or Methionine, significantly aggravated symptoms such as anxiety, panic disorders and paranoia.
This happens because patients were treated inappropriately as under-methylators when in fact they were over-methylators. Or it can occur when an under-methylator has high levels of copper.
Reactions can also arise if the dosages of products are too high. For some it can lead to ‘serotonin syndrome’, a very serious reaction where symptoms are exacerbated. (Normally this happens with antidepressants or when antidepressants are mixed with ‘natural’ serotonin support).
To assess under or over-methylation, tests can be arranged such as histamine and Caeruloplasmin, plus copper and zinc levels and their ratios. Copper and zinc should be tested via blood and hair as both are necessary to show if the copper is unbound or bio-unavailable.
In other words the blood may show low copper and hair may show high copper. It is also important to assess B12 levels and look at genetic variations on the CBS pathways and COMT as well as MTHFR.
If you haven’t been tested and uncertain if you have over or under-methylation as an adjunctive issue to pyrrole disorder, be aware that if you have hay-fever or sinus or respiratory allergies then your histamine will normally be high and you will then be classified an under-methylator.
Having said that, if you don’t get respiratory allergies this doesn’t automatically mean you are an over-methylator; you could be neither as you can have pyrrole without being an over or under-methylator.
Either way it is still important to get copper, zinc and B12/Folate levels checked with both blood and hair (B12 and folate cannot be tested with hair only blood).
Elevated copper to zinc ratios can be especially serious for persons with low blood histamine (over-methylation). If you know you have high copper levels then use caution with prescriptions and over the counter products that increase serotonin levels or support methylation pathways.