What Is Kryptopyrroluria?
Kryptopyrroluria (KPU) is a condition in which zinc and pyridoxine (vitamin B6) are excreted in high amounts into the urine.
Elevated kryptopyrroles (HPL) are found in the urine due to abnormality in the synthesis of heme (hemoglobin) in the body.
Hemoglobin is a protein in the red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body.
Pyrroles are chemicals that are made up of a five-membered aromatic ring and are the byproducts of the hemoglobin synthesis which have no known function, so they are usually just excreted into the urine.
Pyrroles have also been found to have an affinity to zinc and pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and may excrete these nutritional molecules into the urine in high amounts.
The excretion of zinc and pyridoxine (vitamin B6) can result in a severe deficiency of these two important nutrients in the body.
HPL may also bind to biotin, manganese, chromium, magnesium, omega 6s (arachidonic acid) and other important nutrients, excreting them from the body via the kidneys causing further nutrient deficiencies.
This condition can lead to a severe deficiency of nutrients throughout the body and may also result in poorly functioning enzymes.
A deficiency of these nutrients may contribute to symptoms associated with:
- Neurological issues including:
- Psychiatric symptoms
- Reduced energy production
- Mitochondrial dysfunction
- Detoxification issues
- Thyroid imbalances
- Immune disorders
- Musculoskeletal issues
- Food intolerances and sensitivities
- Gynecological issues
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Blood sugar imbalances
- Methylation issues
Pyrrole disorder can affect children and teenagers as well as adults.
Kryptopyrroluria has a variety of spellings and names that can be used interchangeably:
- Pyrole disease (pyrrole disease)
- Pyrole disorder (pyrrole disorder and pyrolle disorder)
- Pyrroles or hydroxyhemophrrolin-2-one (HPL)
- Kryptopyroluria (Kryptopyrroluria) (KPU)
- Mauve factor
- Hemopyrrollactamuria (HPU)
- Hemepyrole (hemepyrrole, hemopyrrole, hemopyrole)
Negative effects of high pyrroles (HPL)
High pyrrole levels can:
- Damage nerve cells
- Decrease hemoglobin levels
- Increase free radical damage because three major antioxidants (glutathione, catalase and superoxide dismutase) require zinc or vitamin B6 in their production process.
- Reduce liver detoxification
- Cause stress which increases HPL levels
- Cause neuronal (nerve) cell death due to low levels of hemoglobin
- Potentially cause cell mitochondrial death
- Reduce hemoglobin levels due to deficiencies of vitamins B6, B7 (biotin) and zinc, which are required for hemoglobin production. Low levels of hemoglobin can result in an increased production of nitric oxide, a toxic free radical that can cause serious damage to brain tissue. This may play a role in schizophrenia, autism and Down syndrome.
Common Conditions and Disorders Associated with Kryptopyrroluria
- Schizophrenia (40% to 70%)
- Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (30%)
- Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) (50%)
- Acute intermittent porphyria
- Learning Disorders (LD)
- Temper Dysregulation Disorder (TDD)
- Tourette syndrome
- Down syndrome
- Type II diabetes
- Bipolar disorder
- Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
- Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS)
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
- Alcoholism/substance abuse (40% to 80%)
- Criminal behavior/violent offenses
- Lyme disease
- Macular degeneration
- Manic depression
- Lung cancer
- Behavioral disorder
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Postnatal depression
- Anti-social personality disorder
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
- Short-term memory impairment
- Chronic infections
- Anxiety disorder
- Mood swings
- Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
Common Laboratory Symptoms of Kryptopyrroluria
- Elevated kryptopyrroles in urine
- Dark or mauve-colored urine
- Elevated eosinophils
- Abnormal EEG
- Severe oxidative stress
- Low ceruloplasmin
- Copper/zinc imbalance
- Hormonal imbalances
- Fungal infections, yeast, Candida
- Leaky Gut Syndrome/gut dysbiosis
- Small Intestinal Bacterial Organism (SIBO)
- Adrenal fatigue
- Heavy metal toxicity
- Allergies, food sensitivities and food intolerances
- Frequent infections
- High cortisol levels (excessive stress)
- Low vitamin D
- High homocysteine
- Elevated histamine levels
- Low white blood cells (WBC)
- High LDL/Low HDL cholesterol
- Low alkaline phosphatase
- Low omega-6 fatty acids in red cell membrane test
- Low taurine in amino acid profile
- High MCV (mean corpuscular volume) in red blood cells
- Low glutathione
- Low ATP
- WBC and RBC, zinc and manganese levels may be normal while biopsies from bone and CNS are completely deficient
- Bone biopsies – a reliable predictor of KPU
- Severe deficiencies of zinc, manganese, lithium, calcium, magnesium and molybdenum
- Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP) – a zinc and magnesium dependent enzyme. Low ALP may be low zinc if consuming adequate magnesium.
Common Body Signs of Kryptopyrroluria
- Abnormal fat distribution
- Acne, eczema or psoriasis
- Cold hands and feet
- Creaking in joints
- Delayed puberty
- Dry skin
- Early greying of hair
- Fluid retention
- Hypo pigmentation of skin
- Inability of skin to tan
- Knee ache or joint pain
- Lack of hair on head
- Lack of hair on head, eyebrows or eyelashes
- Malformed cartilage or tendons
- Overcrowding of teeth
- Pale skin
- Poor muscle development
- Poor tooth enamel
- Poor wound healing
- Poor sense of smell and taste
- Prone to “stitches” as a child and teenager
- Significant growth after age of 16
- Skin appears paper thin
- Skin burns easily in sun
- Skin disorders or rashes
- Hyperpigmentation of the skin
- Sneezes in sunlight
- Stretch marks / striae (may be misinterpreted as Bartonella in Lyme patients)
- Stunted growth
- Sweet, fruity or acetone body odor and breath
- Tingling in arms and legs
- Tremors, shaking, spasms
- Teeth prone to cavities
- Unexplained chills and fevers
- White spots on fingernails
- Delicate facial features
- Retracted gums
- Amenorrhea, irregular periods
- Abdominal tenderness/spleen area pain
Common Symptoms and Traits of Kryptopyrroluria in Children
- Poor ability to cope with stress
- Volatile, angry and cries easily
- Calm one minute and angry the next
- Inner tension and impulsivity
- High irritability, temper tantrums, outbursts
- Raging and inconsolable to calm down
- Poor short-term memory
- Sensory issues (doesn’t like clothing tags and certain clothes)
- Hypersensitive to loud noises
- Hypersensitive to light
- Prefers to be isolated
- Poor muscle development
- Poor wound healing
- Frequent infections
- Digestion difficulties
- Increased behaviors during growth spurts
- Child hallucinations
- Multiple white spots on fingernails
Common Symptoms and Traits of Kryptopyrroluria in Teenagers and Adults
- Migraines and headaches
- Always sick
- Feelings of being overwhelmed
- Fear of airplane travel, tornadoes etc.
- Social withdrawal/antisocial behavior
- Emotional lability
- Perceptual disorganization
- Severe mood swings
- Glucose intolerance
- Crime and delinquency
- Pessimism (obsession of negative thoughts)
- Histrionic behavior (emotion-seeking)
- Emotional instability, mood swings, nervousness
- Dramatic tendencies
- Nervous exhaustion
- New situations stressful
- Severe inner tension
- More energy in the evening than the morning
- Insomnia and abnormal sleep cycle (late nights)
- Poor appetite, especially in the morning
- Low tolerance for protein – favors vegetarian diets
- Preference for spicy and heavily flavored food
- Food sensitivities
- Poor dream recall
- Poor recall of past events
- Name recall difficulty
- Severe anxiety including panic attacks
- Uncomfortableness with strangers
- Poor wound healing
- Nausea, motion sickness especially in the morning
- Amnesia spells
- Crying spells
- Light, sound, odor intolerance
- All-girl family with look-alike sisters
- Delayed puberty
- Drug and alcohol intolerance
- History of reading disorder
- History of underachievement
- Low self esteem
- Frequent fatigue from anemia and low iron
- History of mental illness or alcoholism in the family
- Prone to frequent colds and infections
- Ear infections
Individuals affected by KPU usually carry about 50% of all these symptoms.
The History of Kryptopyrroluria
In 1958, Abram Hoffer MD PhD, the father of orthomolecular psychiatry, led a psychiatric research program in Saskatchewan, Canada in search of any possible biochemical etiology for schizophrenia or biomarkers (lab markers) he might find in the urine of these individuals.
The urine of his schizophrenia patients was found to be purple or mauve on the testing paper of the analysis; hence the name the “mauve factor.”
Dr. Hoffer’s research identified excessive kryptopyrroles in the urine.
By the 1970s, these kryptopyrroles were renamed hydroxyhemophrrolin-2-one (HPL) by Carl C. Pfeiffer MD PhD, who was the first to identify KPU as pyroluria.
Dr. Pfeiffer found KPU to be an underlying factor in a range of medical conditions.
He was also able to show clinical improvement in positive patients with high doses of zinc and vitamin B6 (between 400 mg and 3,000 mg of vitamin B6).
Many studies in the 1970s discredited the Hoffer hypothesis: “Hoffer decided that he was not the victim of a failed hypothesis, but rather the victim of a conspiracy of mainstream psychiatry that was simply closed to his revolutionary ideas.”
Understandably today, this disorder is not commonly known among pediatricians and other medical physicians because many of the symptoms are emotional and psychiatric, and the physiological symptoms are often identified with other medical conditions.
Consequently, this disorder is very poorly understood, rarely treated and not even considered as a medical condition since emotional and psychiatric symptoms are traditionally psychiatric and not seen as having any connection to the physiological symptoms.
Further discredit also arises because the treatment protocol involves nutritional supplementation and not pharmaceutical drugs.
However, for countless integrative doctors and naturopaths, kryptopyrroluria is widely considered an underlying factor in many medical conditions and disorders, and the strong body/mind connection is revealed in the many symptoms associated with this disorder.
The magnitude of potential health problems and negative health implications that could arise from this one condition due to the number of nutritional deficiencies, is overwhelming and devastating.
It is no wonder that KPU is often described as the “elephant in the room.”
What Causes Kryptopyrroluria?
Kryptopyrroluria (KPU) disorder can be a genetically acquired inherited abnormality (fault in the genes passed down through the generations) in the biochemistry.
Most people have very few pyrroles at any given time in their system.
However, about 65% of individuals who have high levels of pyrroles in their bodies are believed to have a lifestyle-generated pyrrole disorder (KPU).
KPU may be triggered by:
- Psychological trauma
- Conditions with chronic infections such as:
- Lyme disease
- Epstein-Barr virus
- Other bacterial and viral pathogens
- Epigenetic factors such as:
- Use of intrauterine device
- Childbirth, childhood or transgenerational trauma passed down through families
- Excessive stress from events such as:
- Car accident
- Emotional trauma
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Lifestyle factors such as:
- Drug use
- Alcohol use
- Unhealthy lifestyle
- Food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities
- Insufficient liver detoxification
- Oxidative stress
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Poor dietary choices
- Poor digestive health
- Toxic exposure such as:
- Heavy metals
- Chemical exposures
Children with parents or grandparents or siblings with any of the above disorders or associating conditions are at greater risk of getting KPU.
The role of the gut:
A leaky gut can increase pyrroles in individuals who suffer from KPU.
Stress damages the intestinal wall and can trigger intestinal inflammation which can lead to LGS.
Stress can cause bad bacteria in the intestines to migrate to the brain via the vagus nerve and cross the blood-brain barrier, triggering aggressive behaviors, depression, anxiety, mood swings and other neurological symptoms.
Poor coping abilities and an inability to handle stress are major symptoms of KPU.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and digestive disorders such as gut dysbiosis and Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) in the intestinal tract may also increase HPL levels and can be major contributors to a leaky gut.
The role of toxins:
Heavy metal and chemical exposures dramatically increase HPL in blood levels.
The enzymes needed to detoxify heavy metals are enzymes that are dependent on the heme synthesis.
Heavy metals will accumulate if heme synthesis is abnormal and if KPU causes the heme synthesis to be abnormal.
The role of dietary choices:
Phytate-containing foods in the diet such as unsoaked and unsprouted grains, legumes and soy can also contribute to KPU.
Phytic acids in these foods bind to major minerals like zinc, vitamin B6 and other nutrients, causing them to be depleted in the body.
Testing for KPU
There are varied types of tests that can determine KPU:
- Laboratory analysis of the urine for kryptopyrroles
- Metabolic testing for elevated pyrroles
- The Pfeiffer Protocol (Mensah Medical)
- Nutrient and mineral testing for deficiencies
Because symptomology is just not accurate enough, proper testing for identification of KPU is very important and necessary for an appropriate treatment protocol and to resolve the underlying factors involved.
For example: Too much vitamin B6 can cause nerve damage.
In addition, too much zinc can suppress immune functioning and then be in competition with copper, manganese and iron, resulting in deficiencies.
Many health conditions such as SIBO, gut dysbiosis, Leaky Gut Syndrome, adrenal fatigue and excessive stress can all resemble symptoms of KPU/pyrrole disorder.
Therefore, see the recommended laboratories below and seek out and consult with a good integrative practitioner or naturopath who can help you with proper testing.
In some cases, individuals will test negative even when KPU is suspected; retesting two to three times may show results.
Dietrich Klinghart’s KPU Treatment Protocol
Dietrich Klinghardt MD PhD recommends a questionnaire used by many doctors worldwide to help determine KPU.
If the score is 10-14, Klinghardt often will proceed with treatment; if the score is 0-9, then he may suggest additional lab testing.
Klinghardt found that 80% or higher of his chronic Lyme disease patients had KPU, 75% of patients with heavy metal toxicity such as lead, mercury, aluminum, cadmium and others had KPU, and 80% or more of children with autism also had this condition.
Once KPU has been identified, supplementation of vitamin B6 or the metabolic form of B6, known as P5P, or both, and zinc (in the form of picolinate, gluconate, sulfate, or zinc l-carnosine) are crucial.
In addition, an individual protocol of supplementation depending on the results of individual testing may be required.
Klinghardt recommends supplementing with CORE (made Dr. Klinghardt’s company), which also includes many of the co-factors that may also be deficient in KPU in addition to B6 and zinc.
CORE supplementation should be started at a low dose because treatment will begin to release heavy metals, and this could affect behaviors in children.
Main considerations of Klinghardt’s protocol:
Two main considerations in Klinghardt’s KPU protocol are detoxification support and protection of red blood cells.
Toxin binders such as chlorella, zeolite, activated charcoal, and chitosan support detoxification.
Silica from horsetail will bind aluminum.
Drainage and organ support remedies will help protect and avoid stressing the kidneys.
Freeze dried garlic and vitamin E protect the red blood cells especially if lead moves back into the body if zinc levels are low.
Zinc is replaced in the bones with lead if there is a zinc deficiency in the body; when zinc is supplemented, then bones expel lead.
Klinghardt’s findings have lead him to believe that the biotoxins from microbes block one or more of the eight enzymes needed for the heme synthesis.
This leads to a significant loss of key minerals in the white blood cells which dramatically reduces cellular immunity.
Biotoxin illnesses such as Lyme disease and mold as well as heavy metals are much less resistant after being treated for KPU.
Hence, children or adults with chronic infections will benefit from a KPU treatment protocol.
Many people have experienced significant improvements in immune functioning as well as finding a lower microbial load.
Klinghardt states that therapy-resistant infections are a hallmark of KPU.
Long-term infections, parasitic infestations or years of antibiotic therapy for chronic or late-stage Lyme disease or PANDAS or PANS could benefit from KPU treatment so that the microbes, heavy metals, infections and parasites become much less resistant.
Chronically low levels of zinc allow parasites to invade the mucosal lining of the gut; from there they may migrate to the liver and gallbladder, interfering with mood, energy levels and sleep.
Parasite treatment and supplementation with zinc and vitamin B6 can make a difference.
Bouts of depression (or anger in children with autism) generally correlate to times when pyrroles (HPL) are released in high numbers in the urine.
Many children and adults with KPU also have high levels of ammonia; treatment with alpha ketoglutaric acid, ornithine or zeolite can reduce and normalize the ammonia levels.
KPU and Lyme disease:
Klinghardt was the first to discover the connection between KPU and Lyme disease; he found that it was rare to have chronic symptomatic Lyme disease in adults and not to have KPU.
He has stated that microbes begin to be less resistant after implementation of his KPU protocol.
KPU and methylation:
Zinc and vitamin B6 are important cofactors in the methylation cycle.
Treating KPU first without adding a methyl group is a safer way to support and restore methylation than to directly support methylation with methyl donors such as methylcobalamin and folinic acid (folate).
KPU and heavy metal toxicity:
Zinc and vitamin B6 increase glutathione, an antioxidant that is important for the detoxification of heavy metals and environmental toxins.
Treating KPU first assists in facilitating the detoxification process by reducing the total load.
KPU and porphyrin disorders:
Dutch lab KEAC has established that elevated porphyrins decrease with KPU treatment.
Porphyrin testing shows that levels of aluminum, lead and mercury excrete more readily from the body when KPU is corrected.
KPU and histamine:
An increase in histamine levels can be particularly bad for KPU individuals, especially when they are experiencing hives or asthma.
Biochemists in Germany are beginning to link mastocytosis or mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) with KPU.
They have seen that KPU treatment repairs the heme molecule and stabilizes the mast cells and reduces histamine levels.
KPU and multiple sclerosis:
Multipe sclerosis (MS) patients appear to have KPU as a familiar co-factor.
They frequently have low histamine, so KPU treatment with histamine can improve outcomes of MS.
William Walsh’s (Pfeiffer Center) KPU Treatment Protocol
The role of copper:
A long-term history of zinc deficiency can result in high copper levels, potentially resulting in:
- Mood swings
- Postpartum depression
- Skin issues
- Hormonal imbalances
Copper is transported around the body by a protein called ceruloplasmin that delivers the copper in trace amounts to the cells.
Low ceruloplasmin may indicate “elevated free copper or unbound copper”, which can lead to a greater risked of toxic copper symptoms.
Therefore, simple copper testing does not give the whole picture; instead serum copper, zinc plasma and ceruloplasmin testing also need to be tested.
Additional tests for that can round out the KPU picture are whole-blood histamine, homocysteine and vitamin D.
High copper levels can be balanced by increasing zinc levels; however, copper levels must continue to be monitored because low copper can cause deficiency symptoms such as:
- Varicose veins
- Hair loss
- Skin problems
- Cardiovascular disease
Some individuals have displaced oxidized copper in the connective tissue which may appear as copper toxicity but is really a deficiency.
High dosages of vitamin C can reduce the negative effect of oxidized copper by transforming it into a reusable form that can be used by the body.
William Walsh MD PhD performed clinical research for the Pfeiffer Center, and he developed the Pyrrole Pak to correct the abnormality in the biochemistry caused by KPU.
Kryptopyrroluria Checklist to Start
Find a practitioner that can help your child heal the gut microbiome, rebuild and strengthen the immune system, and address nutritional deficiencies.
Heal the gut:
The first step is to heal the gut – the gastrointestinal tract and its microbiome – because it is the hub of the good microbes (probiotics) in the body.
By healing the gut, the immune system can be improved because 70% of the immune system is found in the gut.
A baby’s microbiome can be disrupted by a mother’s poor diet, antibiotics, NSAIDS and usage of birth control pills because mothers transfer their poor microbiome to their babies.
Antibiotics kill bad bacteria but also good bacteria (probiotics) as well as white blood cells, which protect the immune system, in the process.
Antibiotics don’t discriminate, causing the intestinal flora and good bacteria to be destroyed, leaving the immune system compromised and unable to protect the body from future infection.
Constant usage of NSAIDs, which are common anti-inflammatories such as Motrin, Tylenol and ibuprofen, in either the pregnant mother or child can result in leaky gut and/or SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Organism), which can lead to an inability to absorb nutrients and minerals needed for the brain and the body.
If the gastrointestinal tract and the microbiome have too many pathogenic viruses, bacteria, yeast and/or parasites, then the vagus nerve may transport these pathogens to the brain, causing the brain to have neurotransmitter imbalances and delays in the child’s development.
A compromised immune system before three years of age can cause developmental regression or delays.
Chronic infections, such as Lyme disease, viruses, pathogenic bacteria and mold, compromise the immune system, causing excessive inflammation, disrupting development and affecting the brain and a child’s development.
Make dietary changes:
It’s important to eat a diet rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods, removing all sources of inflammatory foods.
Without removing inflammatory foods, healthy and beneficial gut microbes are compromised, creating an environment for systemic chronic fungal infections, parasites to multiply, and viruses and bacteria to spread infection throughout the body.
Refined carbohydrates, sugar, trans-fatty acids and a fast-food diet feed these pathogens and provide little food for probiotic microbes.
Eliminating processed foods, and eating a whole-foods diet can improve the gut microbiome; start by
- Strictly limiting:
- Refined salt
- Refined carbohydrates
- Eating whole foods
- Buying organic foods
- Removing all GMO foods
- Removing all fast and processed foods
- Removing all foods with:
- Artificial colors
- Artificial ingredients
- With an elimination diet, remove potentially inflammatory foods such as:
Oxalates are inflammatory chemicals in the form of crystals that can form anywhere in the body.
These crystals are created when fungi-ike yeast or molds, and/or foods high in oxalate, sugar, gluten and casein produce oxalic acid.
This acid will bond to magnesium, mercury or calcium to form crystals that can accumulate to form large oxalate stones which have been found in the heart, nervous system and joints.
These crystals have sharp edges and can be painful, leading to headaches, fatigue, joint pain and kidney stones as well as symptoms of Lyme disease.
It may be beneficial to eliminate high-oxalate foods such as:
- Swiss chard
- Sweet potatoes
- Wheat germ
- Instant coffee
- Citrus peel
- Black pepper
Help with oxalate elimination:
Calcium citrate and magnesium citrate bind to oxalic acid in the digestive system and eliminate them through the stool.
Lactobacillus is a probiotic bacterium that produces enzymes to break down oxalates.
Cod liver oil and other omega-3 fatty acids prevent oxalate crystal formation.
Vitamin B6 (P5P) and the amino acid arginine reduce oxalate crystal formation as well.
Add in food sources of vitamin B6 and zinc:
Because too much copper can deplete zinc levels, food sources and nutritional supplements containing copper, and red and yellow food dyes should be avoided.
In addition, it’s best to supplement with food sources of vitamin B6 and zinc because the body can more easily assimilate these nutrients when they come from food.
Good sources of vitamin B6:
- Pinto beans
- Brussels sprouts
- Sweet potatoes
- Lima beans
- Black-eyed peas
- Red cabbage
- Brown rice
Good sources of zinc:
- Lima beans
- Ginger roots
- Black pepper
- Split peas
- Chili powder
- Whole grain oats (gluten-free)
- Green peas
Reduce phytic acid:
Soaking and sprouting legumes, grains and nuts reduces phytic acid, which can inhibit the absorption of vitamin B6 and zinc.
The Weston A. Price Foundation, a non-profit that teaches about the health benefits of traditionally prepared foods, has more information on how to reduce the amount of phytic acid in the diet.
Add in good fats:
Include plenty of good quality fats, such as:
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Wild salmon
- Pastured chicken
- Organic turkey
- Grass-fed ghee
- Pasture-raised eggs
- Grass-fed beef
- Essential fatty acids from:
- Cod liver oil
- Hemp seeds
- Flax seeds
- Evening primrose oil
- Borage oil
- Walnut oil
- Almond butter (not peanut butter – too moldy and yeasty)
Add in good protein:
Include plenty of high-quality proteins with every meal, such as:
- Pasture-raised eggs and chicken
- Grass-fed beef
- Wild-caught fish
Follow a gut-healing diet:
Heal the gut with special diets such as:
- GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet
- Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)
- Paleo diet
- GF/CF (gluten-free/casein-free) diet
- Body Ecology Diet
- Modified Atkins Diet (replaces the Ketogenic diet)
- Low Oxalate Diet (LOD)
Address nutritional deficiencies:
Always check with your child’s healthcare practitioner before supplementing with any of the following nutrients that are commonly deficient in a person with KPU.
While supplementing with zinc and vitamin B6 are obvious choices for a KPU patient, we have included other co-factor nutrients that may also be beneficial.
This important mineral is involved in over 300 chemical reactions that play a role in the immune, gastrointestinal, metabolic, nervous and hormonal systems.
Low levels of zinc can lead to oxidative stress and low levels of glutathione, the master antioxidant for detoxification.
Zinc is also key to recovering from KPU because zinc deficiency results in altered brains levels of GABA which can cause copper to overload in the brain and alter brain levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, essential to proper brain functioning.
Zinc also increases white blood cells, so it is necessary for proper immune function. Dietrich Klinghardt MD PhD says that “white blood cells without zinc are like an army without bullets.”
Zinc deficiency is associated with:
- Delayed puberty
- Behavioral problems
- Emotional disorders
- Food allergies
- Insulin resistance
- Poor immune functioning
- Delayed wound healing
- Growth retardation
- Mental lethargy
- Short stature
- Stretch marks or striae
- White spots on the fingernails
- Reduction in collagen
- Skin lesions such as acne
- Loss of appetite
- Reduced fertility and libido
- Transverse lines on the fingernails
- Defective mineralization of the bones
- Leaky Gut Syndrome
- Digestive disorders
- Hormone imbalances
- Neurodegenerative disorders
- Learning problems
A child should not receive more than 25 to 30 milligrams per day.
It’s best taken with meals to avoid nausea; if nausea persists, then stomach acid may be low.
Zinc is important for improving digestion and other gastrointestinal symptoms.
For example, zinc is needed to create hydrochloric acid in the stomach to break down and process food in the stomach.
Therefore, supplementing with betaine hydrochloric acid with pepsin may be necessary until zinc levels are in normal range.
If zinc levels are still persistently low, then heavy metal toxicity testing and KPU treatment may resolve this problem.
If zinc is deficient for long periods of time, heavy metals are more persistent and difficult to detoxify out of the brain and body.
Betaine hydrochloric acid with pepsin taken at every meal can increase stomach acid.
Vitamin B6 (P5P):
This vitamin is involved in more than 80 biochemical reactions in the body including the production of serotonin.
Individuals with KPU cannot efficiently create serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates appetite, mood, anxiety and depression; vitamin B6 is needed for the synthesis of serotonin.
Low levels of vitamin B6 can affect the level of glutathione, the master antioxidant needed for detoxification.
B6 also assists in the formation of red blood cells and improves cognitive functioning.
A deficiency of vitamin B6 is associated with:
- Muscle weakness
- Poor absorption of nutrients
- Decrease of important enzymes and cofactors involved in amino acid metabolism
- Impairment in the synthesis of neurotransmitters
- Impairment in the synthesis of hemoglobin
- Seborrheic dermatological eruptions
- Other prevalent neurological symptoms found in KPU
A typical dose is 50 to 100 milligram per day for a child.
This mineral is necessary for:
- Metabolism of certain proteins
- Normal growth
- Glucose utilization
- Lipid metabolism
- Bone and joint health
- Blood sugar regulation
- Thyroid production
- Neurotransmitter production
The importance of manganese increases when zinc is low.
A deficiency of manganese may result in and is associated with:
- Joint pain
- Change in hair pigment
- Slow hair growth
- Parkinson’s disease
It is necessary to check levels of manganese before supplementing, as high levels can be toxic when too high concentrations are present in the body.
If a deficiency is determined, a typical dose is 2 to 5 milligrams per day, although Lyme disease patients may require more.
Biotin (vitamin B7):
Biotin is a vital nutrient for skin, hair and nails.
It is an important co-factor in:
- Production of energy in the mitochondria
- Maintenance of a healthy brain and nervous system
Biotin deficiency is associated with:
- Dry skin
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Brittle nails
- Fine or brittle hair
- Hair loss
- Many aspects of the aging process in the later years
- Hearing loss
- Fungal infections
- Muscle pain
- Abnormal skin sensations such as tingling
A typical dose to counteract biotin deficiency is 3 to 5 milligrams per day.
Arachidonic acid (AA):
This fatty acid is a polyunsaturated omega 6 that is abundant in the brain, muscles and liver.
A deficiency of arachidonic acid is associated with:
- Vulnerability to infection due to the impairment of white blood cell function
- Neural and vascular complications in premature babies
- Skin eruptions
- Behavior changes
- Sterility in males
- Arthritic conditions
- Dry eyes
- Growth retardation
- Dry skin and hair
- Slow wound healing
- Hair loss
- Kidney dysfunction
- Heart beat abnormalities
There is no supplement for AA, but it can be increased with such foods as eggs, liver, butter and red meat.
The more common forms of this mineral come in the form of glycinate, bisglycinate, or malate; over 700 to 800 enzyme systems in the body require magnesium.
Benefits of magnesium can include:
- Support of the nervous system
- Reduction of irritability
- Reduction of hypersensitivity to light and sound
- Relaxing of muscles
- Reduction of muscle twitching
- Relief from constipation
- Improved sleep
- Stabilized heart function
- Stabilized blood sugar
Magnesium is taken to bowel tolerance.
Niacin (vitamin B3):
This vitamin is needed to produce tryptophan, which is necessary to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is important for appetite, mood, sleep and well-being.
Niacin is a catalyst to speed the recovery process of KPU.
A typical dose of niacin is 40 to 50 milligram per day for psychiatric symptoms.
Famed Canadian biochemist, physician, and psychiatrist Abram Hoffer used up to 3000 milligrams per day.
This powerful antioxidant helps prevent infection and is needed in the production of collagen for the skin.
A typical dose for a KPU patient is 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams per day.
Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5):
Vitamin B5 supports exhausted adrenal glands; adrenal fatigue makes coping and dealing with stress very difficult.
A typical dose for a KPU patient is 500 to 2,000 milligrams per day.
This mineral helps regulates blood sugar levels.
A typical dose for a KPU patient is 250 to 500 micrograms per day.
This mineral helps with the metabolizing of sulfur in the body; sulfur is needed for detoxification, methylation, allergies and food sensitivities and intolerances.
Many children with autism and/or Lyme disease have sulfur tolerance issues, which can be determined by genetic testing.
Supplementing with molybdenum may resolve the problem.
A typical dose for a KPU patient is 100 to 500 micrograms daily.
Benefits of this mineral include:
- Bone health
- Improved brain functioning
- Insulin metabolization
- Prevention of a vitamin D deficiency
- Protection against oxidative stress
A typical dose to counteract biotin deficiency is 1 to 3 milligrams per day.
This mineral is not the same as lithium carbonate, which is a pharmaceutical typically given to bipolar patients.
Instead, lithium orotate is a naturally occurring mineral that is a neuroprotector that stabilizes mood swings and emotional behavior.
Lithium orotate is lost in the urine in some KPU patients.
A typical dose for a KPU patient is 5 to 10 milligrams daily.
Taurine is a sulfur-based amino acid that can help with:
- Nervous-system function
- Bile production
- Absorption of fats
- Potential prevention of seizures
- Potential prevention of brain fog
- Potential prevention of memory loss
- Elimination of neurotoxins
- Glutathione production
- Normalization of brain rhythms
A typical dose to counteract taurine deficiency is 100 milligrams twice daily.
Trace minerals such as vanadium and chromium are important for:
- Skin health
- Bone health
- Brain health
- Blood sugar regulation
- White blood cell production
Trace minerals can be found in non-processed, non-white salts such as Celtic sea salt and Himalayan salt.
This vitamin aids in the absorption of zinc in the gastrointestinal tract and bolsters the immune system.
Long-term supplementation of vitamin A is not recommended unless a practitioner supervises because of toxicity concerns of hypervitaminosis.
A typical dose for a KPU patient ranges from 1,500 to 3,000 IUs daily.
GLA (Gamma Linolenic Acid):
GLA is an anti-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acid that is found in:
- Black currant seed oil
- Pumpkin seed
- Goat’s milk
- Hemp seed
- Evening primrose oil
There is a greater need than normal for individuals with KPU for omega-6 fatty acids.
Clean up your environment:
Because kryptopyrroluria can be stress-induced, it is important to remove sources of stress, which includes stress from environmental exposures.
Environmental exposures, especially before the age of 3, are a significant factor that can contribute to neurological damage.
Exposure to the following are toxic to the brain and central nervous system and should be removed or avoided:
- Heavy metals
- Organochlorine pesticides
- Round-up, a pesticide containing glyphosate, can cause elevated levels of Clostridium difficile, a microbe that has been linked to autism and that can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms, leading to inflammation. Glyphosate negatively affects the gut microbiome and mitochondria. Eating organic and non-GMO foods can reduce exposure to pesticides.
- Flame retardants: Research at the University of California, Berkeley has shown that exposure to PBDE, a type of flame retardant, is associated with:
- Neurodevelopmental delays
- Inability to stay focused
- Poor fine motor coordination
- Lower cognitive abilities in school-aged children
- Chemical preservatives
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
Have you identified and removed possible toxic exposures in the home from purchased products, such as detergents, soaps, lotions, and other cleaning and personal care products?
- Make sure your household products such as soaps, cleaning fluids and all self-care products are environmentally safe and clean
- Buy organic and green building materials, carpeting, baby items, mattresses and upholstery to reduce overall PBDE exposure
- Remove animals (both live and stuffed!)
- Remove carpets
- Use non-toxic cleaners
- Use non-toxic building materials
Increasing exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) has created environmental “electromagnetic smog” that escapes no one and that can disrupt the body’s sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
You can reduce EMF exposure by:
- Leaving your cell phone on airplane mode
- Limiting all interactive screen devices and the TV
- Turning off WiFi in your home, especially at night
- Making sure your cell phone has an electromagnetic neutralizer attached to it
- Requesting that your electrical provider change your Smart Meter to the old meter
Help your child detoxify:
Work with a healthcare practitioner to help your child’s body remove toxins; your practitioner may recommend:
- Ionic foot baths that can help detox unwanted pathogens and are easy to do with children
- Infared saunas that can detox heavy metals through the skin by sweating. However, this form of detoxification may not be suitable for young children who lack the ability to sweat.
Use digestive aids with your practitioner’s guidance:
Digestive enzymes and bile acids can help with digestion and malabsorption; use them with your pracitioner’s guidance:
- Betaine hydrochloric acid
- Digestive enzymes with DPP-IV for gluten and casein intolerances
- Proteolytic enzymes
Do not microwave food (or even water) because natural enzymes are destroyed, reducing or eliminating nutritional value.
Add fermented foods and probiotics daily:
These foods can keep the gastrointestinal system and microbiome healthy and strong, which in turn will keep the immune system strong:
- Kefir yogurts
- Fermented vegetables
- Umeboshi plums (very alkalizing)
- Miso soup, if soy is tolerated
Some good probiotics are:
- Gut Pro
- Ohirra’s Live Cultured Probiotics
- Garden of Life
- Klaire Labs
- Floramend Prime by Thorne Research – passes through stomach acid into the intestinal tract
Use the prebiotic inulin to populate the small intestine with good bacteria that can overtake bad bacteria that produce proprionic acid.
NOTE: When taking probiotics do not take at the same time as antimicrobials because antimicrobials will kill the effects of the probiotic.
Learn about retained primitive reflexes:
Many children with KPU may have retained primitive reflexes.
Find a therapist that is trained in integrating primitive reflexes, which can cause imbalances in the way your child’s brain performs.
See a chiropractic neurologist at a Brain Balance Center:
The Brain Balance program can help balance the right and left-brain hemispheres and make neural connections to extinguish primitive reflexes.
Lower stress levels:
Viruses, bacteria and other pathogens become more active when the body is in a state of stress.
By teaching your child ways to self-regulate with practices such as prayer, reiki, meditation, yoga, qi gong, tai chi and the Emotional Freedom Technique (tapping), they can become good advocates for themselves and become active participants in the recovery process.
See a neurofeedback practitioner:
Neurofeedback is helpful for anxiety commonly experienced by children with KPU.
Find a practitioner that can perform a QEEG (quantitative electroencephalograph) brain map first so you can understand how your child’s brain works.
See a sensory-integration occupational therapist (OT):
A child with KPU typically has sensory sensitivities, and these OTs address a variety of sensory issues with a child using hands-on equipment.
This type of therapy calms down the nervous system to help integrate the senses; however, primitive reflex integration is typically not achieved with this type of therapy.
Ask about using brushing therapy to calm down the nervous system.
See a chiropractor:
A chiropractor can perform spinal cord adjustments, which can improve communication in the nervous system.
See a craniosacral practitioner:
Craniosacral therapy can reestablish central nervous-system functioning.
These practitioners use approaches rich in vestibular, proprioceptive and tactile input and may also do oral motor therapy.
See a behavioral/developmental optometrist:
Many children with KPU have vision processing problems that may be causing problems with focus and concentration.
A developmental optometrist can check for convergence and tracking problems with your child’s vision.
He or she can correct these issues with vision therapy, lens and prisms.
Doing so can improve hand-eye coordination and school performance.
See an auditory therapist:
Many children with KPU have auditory processing problems that may be causing problems with focus and concentration.
An auditory therapist can devise a listening program that is specific to your child’s needs.
Auditory Integration Therapy (Berard) or Sound Stimulation (Tomatis) can retrain the brain, calm down the nervous system, reduce sound sensitivities.
Find a therapist doing Brain Gym:
A Brain Gym practitioner can have your child do exercises for sensorimotor coordination, self-calming and self-management.
See a homeopath or naturopath:
These practitioners can diagnose and treat KPU so that the child’s immune, sensory, neurological and nervous systems develop without being compromised.
See a well-trained acupuncturist:
Acpuncture can help lower stress and anxiety.
See a NAET or BioSET practitioner:
Children with KPU typically also have food allergies and/or food sensitivities and intolerances.
NAET (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique) and BioSET are two non-invasive, drug-free methods of eliminating food intolerances and environmental sensitivities.
See a family constellations therapist:
Family constellations therapy is a powerful type of energy medicine tool for healing multi-generational psychological wounds.
Family constellations facilitators believe these psychological wounds such as anger, anxiety, guilt, aloneness, alcoholism and depression can contribute to the cumulative toxic load of descending generations, causing chronic illness.
See an EMDR practitioner:
Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy technique that can have very dramatic and powerful effects on individuals suffering from traumatic and emotional problems.
See a hypnotherapist:
Hypnotherapy is a form of psychotherapy that can reach the subconscious and address many issues from the past by healing the “inner child.”
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
EFT is a combination of energy psychology healing methods and acupuncture meridians that uses tapping of specific acupuncture points to facilitate the release of physical, energetic and emotional issues.
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Sources & References
Altomura, A. Carlo, et al. Role of immunological factors in the pathophysiology and diagnosis of bipolar disorder: Comparison with schizophrenia. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2014 Jan;68(1):21-36.
Frye, Richard E., et al. A Review of Traditional and Novel Treatments for Seizures in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Findings from a Systematic Review and Expert Panel. Front Public Health. 2013 Sep 13;1:31.
Michielan, A., et al. Intestinal Permeability in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Pathogenesis, Clinical Evaluation, and Therapy of Leaky Gut. Mediators Inflamm. 2015;2015:628157.
Pompili, Maurizio, et al. The role of asenapine in the treatment of manic or mixed states associated with bipolar I disorder. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2011;7:259-65.
Walsh, W.J., et al. Reduced violent behavior following biochemical therapy. Physiol Behav. 2004 Oct 15;82(5):835-9.
Walsh, W.J. Nutrient Power: Heal Your Biochemistry and Heal Your Brain. Skyhorse Publishing, 2014.