Pyroluria (or malvaria from the term mauve factor) is a controversial diagnosis in the branch of orthomolecular medicine, a branch of alternative medicine and is alleged to be caused by the presence of excessive levels of a pyrrole in the body.cite journal |author=Heleniak E, Lamola S |title=A new prostaglandin disturbance syndrome in schizophrenia: delta-6-pyroluria |journal=Med Hypotheses |volume=19 |issue=4 |pages=333–8 |year=1986 |pmid=3520252 |doi=10.1016/0306-9877(86)90106-4]

Pyroluria was initially described by Abram Hoffer, a pioneer in alternative medicine such as orthomolecular medicine and orthomolecular psychiatry.cite journal |author=LaPerchia P |title=Behavioral disorders, learning disabilities and megavitamin therapy |journal=Adolescence |volume=22 |issue=87 |pages=729–38 |year=1987 Fall |pmid=2963502] Proponents claim that pyroluria is relatively common, but few, if any, mainstream medical experts regard the condition as genuine, with few or no articles on pyroluria found in modern medical literature, [cite web | last = National Library for Health | title =What is pyroluria, is it an accepted clinical entity and what are the treatment? | date = 2005-10-05 | url = | accessdate = 2008-02-17] and the approach is described as "snake oil" by critics, such as the pediatrician and author Julian Haber.


According to proponents, one of the pyrroles ("kryptopyrrole" or "mauve factor") is a by-product of improper hemoglobin synthesis. [cite journal |author=Irvine DG, Bayne W, Miyashita H, Majer JR |title=Identification of kryptopyrrole in human urine and its relation to psychosis |journal=Nature |volume=224 |issue=5221 |pages=811–3 |year=1969 |pmid=5361661 |doi=10.1038/224811a0] [>cite journal |author=Irvine DG, Bayne W, Miyashita H, Majer JR |title=Identification of kryptopyrrole in human urine and its relation to psychosis |doi = 10.1038/224811a0 |journal=Nature |volume=224 |issue=5221 |pages=811–3 |year=1969 |accessdate=2008-02-17] However, other pyrroles have been implicated, and what literature exists on this topic is unclear. [cite journal |author=Irvine DG |title=Hydroxy-hemopyrrolenone, not kryptopyrrole, in the urine of schizophrenics and porphyrics |journal=Clin. Chem. |volume=24 |issue=11 |pages=2069–70 |year=1978 |pmid=709853 |url=] These pyrroles are then said to bind to vitamin B6, and zinc and are eliminated through urine, potentially causing deficiencies of these compounds. Pyrolurics are also said to become deficient in omega-6 fatty acids (specifically arachidonic acid). However, other studies have either failed to detect hemopyrrole and kryptopyrrole in the urine of either normal controls or schizophrenics, [cite journal |author=Gendler PL, Duhan HA, Rapoport H |title=Hemopyrrole and kryptopyrrole are absent from the urine of schizophrenics and normal persons |url= |journal=Clin. Chem. |volume=24 |issue=2 |pages=230–3 |year=1978 |pmid=627053] [cite journal |author=Jacobson SJ, Rapoport H, Ellman GL |title=The nonoccurrence of hemo- and kryptopyrrole in urine of schizophrenics |journal=Biol. Psychiatry |volume=10 |issue=1 |pages=91–3 |year=1975 |pmid=1120177] or found no correlation between these chemicals and mental illness. [cite journal |author=Gorchein A |title=Urine concentration of 3-ethyl-5-hydroxy-4,5-dimethyl-delta 3-pyrrolin-2-one ('mauve factor') is not causally related to schizophrenia or to acute intermittent porphyria |journal=Clin. Sci. |volume=58 |issue=6 |pages=469–76 |year=1980 |pmid=7428279]

The pyroluria hypothesis was advocated by Carl Pfeiffer of Emory University, the "Princeton Brain-Bio Center", a precursor of the Pfeiffer Treatment Center.cite web | last =Saul | first =A.W. | coauthors =Jolliffe M, Hoffer A | title = Bibliography of the Publications of Carl Pfeiffer, MD, PhD | url = | publisher = | accessdate = 2007-04-19] According to Pfeiffer, pyroluria is a form of schizophrenic porphyria, similar to acute intermittent porphyria where both pyrroles and porphyrins are excreted in the human urine to an excessive degree.cite web | title = Pyroluria | publisher | url = | accessdate = 2008-02-17] Pfeiffer described the histories of patients of his who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, whose urine contained extraordinarily high levels of kryptopyroles, who returned to health within a week after he prescribed the appropriate amounts of vitamin B6 and zinc.cite book |author=Pfeiffer, Carl C. |title=Nutrition and Mental Illness: An Orthomolecular Approach to Balancing Body Chemistry |publisher=Healing Art Press |location= |year= |pages= |isbn=0-89281-226-5]

The Center claims an 85% success rate for treating ADHD, autism, and schizophrenia, but other scientists say their methods have not been rigorously tested.cite news | first = Mark | last = Skertic | title = For some, a question of balancing nutrients | publisher = | date = April 21 2002 Available at [ the internet archive.] Retrieved on 2008-02-17]

Pyroluria is sometimes claimed to affect people with ADHD, alcoholism, autism, depression, down syndrome, manic-depression, and schizophrenia.cite journal | author =James A. Jackson, M.T., (ASCP), Ph.D., BCLD; Hugh D. Riordan, M.D.; Sharon Neathery, M.T.; Neil H. Riordan, PA-C. | url =| title = Urinary Pyrrole in Health and Disease | format = PDF | journal = The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine | volume = 12 | issue = 2nd Quarter | date = 1997 | pages = 96–8 | accessdate = 2008-02-17] However, pyroluria is not considered related to schizophrenia in conventional medicine. [cite journal | author = Holman, Paul | url = | title = Pyroxidine - Vitamin B-6 | format = PDF | journal = Journal of Australian College of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine | volume = 14 | issue = 1 | date = July 1995 | pages = 5–16 | accessdate = 2007-04-19] [cite journal |author=Cruz R, Vogel W |title=Pyroluria: a poor marker in chronic schizophrenia |journal=Am J Psychiatry |volume=135 |issue=10 |pages=1239–40 |year=1978 |pmid=696910]

Individuals who are assessed as having pyroluria may be diagnosed with coeliac disease, epilepsy, or psychosis; proponents say these may be mis-diagnoses, actually representing symptoms of the underlying pyroluria. [cite web | title =Pyroluria and Elevated Kryptopyrrole | publisher = Direct Healthcare Access II Laboratory Inc | url = | accessdate = 2008-02-17 ] Pyroluria is sometimes claimed to have a genetic origin, with proponents saying the condition runs in families.cite book |last =Edelman |first =Eva |title=Natural Healing for Schizophrenia and Other Common Mental Disorders |publisher=Borage Books |edition=3rd |date=2001 |isbn=0965097676 ] cocite journal | author =James A. Jackson, M.T., (ASCP), Ph.D., BCLD; Hugh D. Riordan, M.D.; Sharon Neathery, M.T.; Neil H. Riordan, PA-C. | url =| title = Urinary Pyrrole in Health and Disease | format = PDF | journal = The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine | volume = 12 | issue = 2nd Quarter | date = 1997 | pages = 96-8 | accessdate = 2008-02-17] The elevated kryptopyrroles that are said to be found in pyrolurics are claimed to increase dramatically when these people experience stress. [cite journal |author=Walsh WJ, Glab LB, Haakenson ML |title=Reduced violent behavior following biochemical therapy |journal=Physiol. Behav. |volume=82 |issue=5 |pages=835–9 |year=2004 |pmid=15451647 |doi=10.1016/j.physbeh.2004.06.023]




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