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Pyroluria: Hidden Cause of Schizophrenia, Bipolar, Depression, and Anxiety Symptoms
by Woody McGinnis, M.D.
Orlando 21 May 2004
In the late 1950's a team of Canadian researchers lead by Abram Ho er encountered an unusal compound in
the urine of schizophrenic patients. The compound produced a lilac-colored (mauve) spot on paper chromato-
grams developed with Ehrlich's reagent. The qualitative assay available at the time revealed the so-called
'Mauve Factor' in about 2/3 of recent-onset schizophrenics, but not in controls. 100% of the schizophrenic
subgroup which recovered on high-dose niacinamide (vitamin B3) were found to have converted from
Mauve-positive to Mauve-negative. Relapses associated with discontinuation of niacinamide were associated
with reappearance of Mauve.
Through the 1960's Ho er and others published clinical outcomes on hundreds of schizophrenics and other
high-Mauve diagnostic groups, such as "mentally retarded" and "disturbed" children and criminals. In the early
1970's an American team lead by Carl Pfei er introduced a relatively simple, quantitative colorimetric assay for
urinary Mauve utilizing kryptopyrrole, which is similar to Mauve, as standard. Pfei er demonstrated suppres-
sion of urinary Mauve and commensurate clinical improvement with high-doses of vitamin B6 and zinc, which
have become the treatment of choice.
Originally, Mauve was identi ed erroneously as kryptopyrrole. 'Kryptopyrrole' is not accurate terminology for
Mauve. Technological advances in the 1970's allowed correct identi cation of Mauve as OHHPL
(hydroxyhemoppyrrolin-2-one). By synthesis (Irvine), GLC (Graham), and HPLC/MS (Audhya), biological Mauve
is OHHPL. It is a member of the pyrrole family, and may be correctly referred to as "urinary pyrrole". Inter-
changeable use of 'Mauve' and 'OHHPL' seem logical and e cient to this writer.
This compound is detectable in urine, blood and cerebrospinal uid. It is heat- and light-sensitive, and requires
ascorbate preservative if there is any delay in processing. Graham demonstrated that adjustment to urinary
creatinine concentration is not necessary. The Mauve urine level is a useful predictor of higher vitamin B6 and
zinc requirements, and may be used to help titrate dosage levels in a wide range of behavioral and somatic
problems associated with high excretion. In Europe, especially, many clinicians use Mauve assay in the man-
agement of strictly somatic health problems.
Higher Mauve levels are found in Down syndrome 70%, schizophrenia up to 70%, autism 50%, ADHD 30%, and
alcoholism up to 80%. One mixed group of general medical patients-arthiritis, chronic fatigue, heart disease,
hypertension, irritable bowel and migraine-had mauve elevations in 43%. One-third of cancer patients-
-particularly lung cancer--are high-Mauve.
Certain signs and symptoms are more common in high-mauve patients. Pfei er reported more nail spots,
stretch marks, pale skin, knee pain, constipation, poor dream recall, morning nause, light-sound-odor intoler-
ance, migraines and upper abdominal pain. To this list Walsh adds low stress tolerance, anxiety, pessimism,
explosive anger and hyperactivity. Ja e and Kruesi found more social withdrawal, emotional lability, loss of
appetite and fatiguability. Not all patients with higher urinary Mauve have all or most of these symptoms.
In 1965, O'Reilly documented association of higher urinary Mauve with stress, and many publications have
con rmed this. An unpublished study by Tapan Audhya in 1992 demonstrated a signi cant increase in urinary
Mauve in healthy subjects after cold-water stress. Pfei er introduced the practice of giving extra vitamin B6
and zinc-'stress-doses'-to bu er physical or emotional stress in high-Mauve patients.