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Understanding Pyroluria: Linking Fatty Acids to Mental Health

Pyroluria was Written by Dr. Diane Mueller


In this article, we will talk about how some kinds of fats in our diet can affect our mental health, specifically in a condition called pyroluria. Omega-3 and omega-6 are types of fats that can be good for our brain, and they are usually found in fish like salmon, sardines, and anchovies. These fats can help reduce inflammation and improve our mood, especially if we feel depressed or anxious.

However, not everyone with mental health issues should take these fats. Some people with pyroluria, a condition where their bodies make too much of a certain chemical called HPL, may actually feel worse if they take omega-3s. This is because pyroluria has a specific cause that is different from other mental health problems.

Fat Matters: The Impact of Fats on Pyroluria


There are two kinds of fats called omega-3 and omega-6, which can be very good for our brain. These fats are usually found in fish like salmon, sardines, and anchovies. They can help reduce inflammation and improve our mood, especially if we feel sad or anxious.

But not everyone with mental health problems should take these fats. In fact, some people with pyroluria may actually feel worse if they consume omega-3s.

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One man in a case study reported feeling anxious and having trouble sleeping after taking fish oil. He found that his symptoms went away when he stopped taking the supplement and came back when he started taking it again. This is really interesting and important information for people who have anxiety.

It’s not entirely clear why fish oil can worsen anxiety, but it might have something to do with a chemical called HPL or “high mauve.” This chemical can affect the way our body produces omega-6 fats, which are important for our mental health. When HPL is high, it can block the production of a certain kind of omega-6 fat called arachidonic acid, which can make anxiety worse. This is different from other problems that can cause low levels of vitamins B6 and zinc, which are also related to HPL.

Other Powerful Nutrients To Fight Pyroluria

Let’s talk about the nutrients zinc and vitamin B6, which are important for our body’s function. When we have too much HPL in our body, it can cause a deficiency of these nutrients, which can lead to reduced activity of delta-6-desaturase. This can result in a deficiency of important omega-6 fatty acids like arachidonic acid and GLA.

It’s interesting to know that EPA, which is found in fish oil, can actually inhibit the conversion of arachidonic acid into certain omega-6 fatty acids. This can affect the synthesis of prostaglandins and leukotrienes, which are important for our body’s inflammation response. This can have different effects than the deficiency of zinc and B6, which affect prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) specifically.


Other Critical Factors You Need to Know About Pyroluria

Let’s talk about some things that can inhibit the omega-6

pathway and prostaglandin synthesis. Alcohol consumption, trans fatty acids,
fructose, chronic viral infections, diabetes, and magnesium deficiency can all
affect the function of delta-6-desaturase and the synthesis of important
omega-6 fatty acids like arachidonic acid and GLA.

Prostaglandins are important hormones found in almost all
cells in our body, except for red blood cells. They have many roles in our
body, including regulating inflammation, immune response, platelet function,
and gut health. Prostaglandin E1 in particular is implicated in schizophrenia,
mood disorders, and gut health.

It’s important to know that people with high HPL or
pyroluria may have inhibited production of omega-6 fatty acids, which can lead
to lower levels of important prostaglandins like PGE1. This can contribute to
symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as secondary symptoms related to
gut health.



Path to Healing Pyroluria - Treatment and Testing

When it comes to treating high HPL or pyroluria, it’s important to question patients about their omega-3 intake from fish oil, cod liver oil, and food sources like cold-water fish, grass-fed beef, flaxseed, and walnuts. Patients should weigh the benefits against potential issues, especially for anxiety symptoms. It’s also important to ask patients about their fish oil intake and whether there is a correlation between their anxiety symptoms and the amount of fish oil they take.

Supplement recommendations for high HPL or pyroluria include GLA in the form of evening primrose oil or borage oil. Patients can also switch to a combination product that includes both omega-3 and GLA fatty acids. However, it’s important to make sure patients are taking adequate levels of zinc and B6, as both are required for proper delta-6-desaturase activity.

Testing options include a urinary pyrrole test to evaluate the presence of HPL in the urine and conclusively diagnose high mauve. The Essential & Metabolic Fatty Acid Analysis by Genova can reveal levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the blood and help identify any imbalances. The Vibrant Wellness Micronutrient Test can also be helpful in assessing zinc and B6 levels, as well as the ratio of zinc to copper.

Lyme Disease Can Also Be the Root Cause of Mental Health Problems.

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