According to the Mayo Clinic, alcoholism or alcohol dependency is a chronic disease characterized by uncontrolled drinking and a preoccupation with alcohol. Alcoholism is the inability to control drinking due to both a physical and emotional dependence on it.
Sadly, chemical dependency related deaths are rising, especially among white middle-aged Americans, and the problem is contributing to the alarming trend of Americans dying younger than they used to. The rise was driven by drug overdoses and suicides, but also by alcohol poisoning, chronic liver disease, and cirrhosis.
According to Wiki, the American Medical Association (AMA) declared that alcoholism was an illness in 1956. In 1991, the AMA further endorsed the dual classification of alcoholism by the International Classification of Diseases under both psychiatric and medical sections. “The risk of developing alcoholism depends on many factors, such as environment. Those with a family history of alcoholism are more likely to develop it themselves (Enoch & Goldman, 2001); however, many individuals have developed alcoholism without a family history of the disease… Current evidence indicates that in both men and women, alcoholism is 50–60% genetically determined, leaving 40-50% for environmental influences.” Though the genetic link has been established, the AMA has yet to recognize the disorder associated with chronic alcoholism, a disorder known as Pyrrole disorder.
What is Pyrrole disorder?
Pyrrole disorder, also known as Pyroluria, Kryptopyrroles, and Mauve factor, is a biochemical abnormality that occurs when the body creates and excretes too many pyrrole molecules. Pyrrole molecules are constantly excreted in urine and for the typical person, this is not a big deal. However, for someone with Pyrrole disorder, nutrient deficiencies occur because these molecules have an affinity for zinc and vitamin B6 and latch onto and excrete them in urine before the body is able to absorb them.
Zinc and B6 are crucial for mental well-being and healing from alcoholism
Many people misunderstand the role zinc and vitamin B6 play in mental well-being. Both are needed to make neurotransmitters. Zinc is an essential trace mineral that aids in cell development and gene expression. It is responsible for several different functions in the human body and helps stimulate the activity of over 300 different enzymes.
Neurotransmitter imbalances can cause a wide variety of symptoms, especially anger, rage, anxiety and depression. Triggered by nutrient deficiencies, especially zinc and vitamin B6, the term “mean drunk” and an inability to stay away from alcohol stem from these imbalances. Every individual needs to have the proper balance of serotonin, norepinephrine, GABA, and dopamine.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects mood, appetite, digestion, sleep, memory and libido. Norepinephrine is a stress hormone. It is released from the sympathetic nervous system in response to stress. GABA, also called Gamma-aminobutyric acid, is a neurotransmitter that inhibits or reduces the activities of neurons or nerve cells. Low levels of GABA are linked to anxiety. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that affects emotions, movements, and sensations of pleasure and pain.
A mood and stress disorder with a strong heritable component, Pyroluria can be seen in anyone of any age, and I always see it in families with a history of alcoholism. The genetic form of Pyroluria is seen in northern Europeans, specifically the Scandinavian, Irish, Welsh, and Engish that have fair coloring and sun sensitivity. In fact, what often makes redheads so fiery and blonde, blue-eyed toddlers prone to explosive outbursts, is actually Pyrrole disorder. This explains why alcoholism is so common among these people groups, and why alcohol-related deaths have risen among white Americans. The acquired form of Pyrrole disorder can occur in any people group with a high-stress lifestyle.
In my young patients, they often exhibit criminal behavior, learning challenges, high anxiety, and depression.
Common mood instability symptoms of Pyrrole disorder and Alcoholism
- High irritability and temper
- Poor stress control
- Severe mood swings
- Tendency to withdraw socially
- Explosive anger and rage
- Anxiety and depression
Physical symptoms of Pyrrole disorder
- White spots on fingernails
- Sweet or “fruity” breath
- Poor wound healing and frequent infections
- Poor short term memory
- Sensitivity to light, smell, sound, and textures
- Lack of dream recall
- Abdominal pain
- Lack of hair on head, eyebrows, and eyelashes
- Blood sugar dysregulation
- Lack of regular menstrual cycles and delayed puberty
- Abnormal body fat distribution
- Loss of appetite (especially in the morning)
- Night owl
- Low libido
- Morning nausea
- Pale, thin skin and poor tanning ability
- More energy in the evening (after the sun goes down)
- Skin rashes
- Joint pain
- Spleen pain (side stitches when running)
- Upper jaw overcrowding
- Criminal behavior
Disorders associated with Pyrrole disorder
- Bipolar disorder (especially rapid cycling)
- Obsessive Compulsive disorder (OCD) and Attention Deficit disorders (ADD/ADHD)
- Tourette syndrome
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Asperger syndrome
- Down syndrome
How to test for Pyrrole disorder
Sadly, the medical community does not recognize this disorder, so your doctor probably doesn’t even know what it is or how to test for it. Testing is simple using a kryptopyrrole test designed to find elevated kryptopyrroles in urine that carefully determines the level of pyrroles the body excretes. The kryptopyrrole test and pyroluria have also been historically referred to as KPU, Kryptopyroluria, KP, HPL, Mauve factor, and Hydroxyhemopyrrolin-2-one (HPL) in medical literature.
Most individuals that suffer from alcoholism (and any of the other disorders listed) also exhibit more than just one biochemical imbalance. In other words, I almost always see additional epigenetic disorders such as copper toxicity and methylation abonormalities accompany Pyrrole disorder. Treatment for Pyrrole disorder requires therapeutic dosages of key nutrients that also take into account other biochemical imbalances, as well as the uniqueness of the individual including factors such as age and weight. Please do not assume you have Pyrrole disorder based on symptoms alone, you could do a lot of damage trying to figure this out on your own. Proper testing and evaluation is essential.
If you know of someone who struggles with alcohol, please share this post. If you struggle with alcohol, please share your experience in the comments below. It is through sharing your story that we create community, eliminate guilt and shame, and bring about healing.
Mensah, Albert The Biochemistry of Stress Disorders: Understanding Pyroluria. Webinar Presentation.
Walsh, William J. Discerning the Mauve Factor Part I. Alternative Therapies, Mar/Apr 2008, Vol. 14, No. 2.
Walsh, William J. Discerning the Mauve Factor Part II. Alternative Therapies, May/Jun 2008, Vol. 14, No. 3.
Pfeiffer, Carl C. (1975). Mental And Elemental Nutrients. New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing.
Pfeiffer Carl C., Iliev V. Pyroluria, Urinary Mauve Factor, Cases Double deficiency of B6 and zinc in schizophrenics. Fed Am Soc Exp Biol. 1973, 32:276.
Pfeiffer Carl C., Sholer A, Jenny EH, et al. Treatment of Pyroluric Schizophrenia (Malvaria) With Large Doses of Pyridoxine and a Dietary Supplement of Zinc. J Appl Nut. 1974, 26:21-28.