As a practitioner specializing in anxiety and stress, a great many of my patients have pyroluria – at least, according to the Mauve Factor test. Based on my experience, I would like to offer a few observations on the test and on treating pyroluria in general:-


 - I have concerns about the value of the Mauve Factor test - particularly when results are anywhere near the borderline. Even when the results are high, I still retain considerable doubts. I know this observation will surprise and challenge many PD patients (and practitioners too) but I take into consideration the possibility that Mauve Factor maybe more of a test for certain types of stress - not just PD by itself. However, no matter what it measures, knowing the result of the Mauve Factor test does not necessarily advance treatment as I rely on more accurate copper/zinc imbalances and even free copper as measured by serum formula involving ceruloplasmin and serum copper– hence my assessment of its value.

- The magnitude of the Mauve Factor test result, irrespective of my assessment of its value, is not necessarily a guide to the intensity of the symptoms felt. On the other hand, you can expect schizophrenics, and others high in the autistic spectrum to have very high levels of Mauve Factor. But for those patients, do you really need the test?

 - The magnitude of free copper via the formula serum/ceruloplasmin does not necessarily correlate with the experience of possible pyroluria and the intensity of the mental health symptomology displayed and reported. Again, one starts to question the value of the tests and formulation by itself if there is a lack of correlation.

 - Hair copper levels by themselves do not correlate with the serum free copper calculation. By themselves they tend to indicate rather bio-available copper UNLESS heavy metal toxicity is involved OR unless there is copper toxicity itself. The practitioner needs to work out what’s going on based on presenting symptoms and a mix of the above results.

- Be wary of HTMA results where heavy metal toxicities are suspected – particularly mercury. 

- Symptoms of mercury toxicity are not too dissimilar from copper toxicity. Be aware.

- Indeed, be wary of initial HTMAs with new patients who have not had previous chelation treatment. Hidden heavy metal toxicity is always a possibility.

- High zinc levels can indicate either the use of anti-dandruff shampoo OR low bio available zinc. Compare with zinc plasma.

 - Nevertheless, low hair copper levels together with low serum levels and moderate to high free copper indicate extreme caution for the practitioner.  Low levels of bio-available copper could impact on many body functions - including mental performance and joints. Yet there is the fear that copper supplementation could raise free copper. Consideration needs to be given to differential diagnosis such as heavy metal toxicity and site displacement, diet/malnutrition//absorption and any allergies/reactions causing diet issues, performance of liver/kidneys, metallathionien supplementation and performance, methylation, parasites and pathogens etc. I should also say these factors also come into my consideration for high serum copper patients.

- Yes, copper supplementation could be considered even for pyrolurics but only when bio-available copper is very low and only ever at a very low dosage.  Simultaneously, consider why the serum copper is low and what additional treatments are necessary to make sure that copper supplementation does not make the free copper worse. And are there any other steps you can take to encourage copper before supplementation (e.g, B2 supplementation) ?

- Pyroluria is rarely the first cab of the rank in terms of treatment priority. The vast majority of my patients with pyroluria have a great many challenges including cancer, autism spectrum, major (and minor) thyroid issues, severe gut imbalances and overgrowths, methylation problems, heavy metal toxicities, adrenal and hormone problems, hyper-parathyroid dysfunction and the list goes on.  Pyroluria must not get treated in isolation from everything else that is happening in the body. A holistic individualized approach that takes into consideration the entire body is far more effective than focusing in on just the pyroluria in a formulaic manner.

- I have only ever had one pure PD patient – and because the patient did not allow me to do my preferred tests, the jury is still out on that case.

- With all the above in mind, it is easy to understand why one might think of pyroluria as being more an indicator of oxidative stress, or some other measure of the body’s response to an accumulation of stresses, rather than a separate condition in itself.

- Suspicion and a lack of patient perspective can make treating pyrolurics challenging – especially those with high copper and heavy metal toxicities combined with gut overgrowths. These patients can be particularly “flighty”.

- Self-treatment doesn't work and can make things worse. Even naturopaths with pyroluria should seek professional help from their peers even though they might understand the materials being used and treat others. A healer’s perspective is different from that of a patient.

- Pre-packaged primers do not take an individual's requirements into consideration.

- Made-to-measure primers are made for the individual BUT they do not change as the patient's requirements change – and those requirements can change quite significantly in a short space of time.

- Significant gut (aerobe) overgrowths are common in pyroluria – particularly in those with copper and heavy metal toxicities.

- Parasites are also common (Blasto, D.Frag etc)

-I believe gut repair in PD is as important as supplements such as B6 and Zinc etc in PD treatment.

- One needs to be aware of how supplementation against one deficiency impacts on other areas. Always take the holistic picture. PD is not just about boosting B6 and Zinc

- The objective of treating PD is to alleviate the symptoms – NOT to reduce free copper levels.

- Our understanding of methylation has taken great strides since Pfeiffer’s work many decades ago. Simple “under” or “over” methylation tags are uninformed and really not very useful. Indeed, over-simplification can make patient’s health worse. Just because you know certain parts of the methylation cycles (e.g. readings of Homocysteine and Histamine), doesn’t mean you can assume what’s going on at other parts of the various methylation cycles. Be careful.

- Knowledge of methylation mutations (via 23&Me/Prometheus/GeneGenie etc) can certainly help treatment of both PD and non-PD sufferers. Comparing genetic risks to presenting symptoms can help us work out a better route to support neurotransmitter performance and thus help alleviate anxiety and other symptoms typical of PD. Here too be very careful. Genetic risk factors do not necessarily mean that any morphisms have expressed. There’s also a lot of interpretive information now available that is still in its formative stages.


The above is not exhaustive but I hope that the observations give a few insights into how this practitioner thinks and works. Of course, other practitioners may have different ideas.