As winter is approaching, it is important to remember to take even more care of ourselves. The colder it gets, the harder it will be for us to connect with nature. Indeed, the further away from summer we are, the more I miss the feeling of being naturally grounded, which is so typical of summer, when you can just take off your thongs wherever and recharge.
Anyway, about a month ago, I made an appointment with an orthomolecular therapist in Lubbeek. My intention was to explain to him my situation, where I come from and what I need most help with now — but instead of making time to listen to my story, he interrupted me and took the lead of the conversation. Before I knew it, I was standing outside his door with a range of supplements and three hundred euro less.
I was disappointed in myself, that I couldn’t be more straightforward and just tell him that I only wanted to have some lab tests done.
Anyway, besides his talking over me, he also ordered a test for Pyroluria and suggested I would make another appointment in three weeks to discuss the lab results. And so I did. But this time, I prepared myself: I took a notebook with me with all the things I wanted to ask him listed in bullet points. I even highlighted words so I wouldn’t forget something. This is in fact how I often prepare difficult social situations like phone calls — I used to rather want to die than do a phone call.
Knowing that I have a piece of my mind written out somewhere in the tangible world, makes me more relaxed: if I have a black-out, I will still have some comprehensible thoughts structured on a piece of paper.
So during this second session, he looked at the lab results and they were positive for Pyroluria!
I wasn’t really waiting for another diagnosis, but in those three weeks I did a great deal of research on Pyroluria and the similarities struck me!
Pyroluria: Most Common Signs and Symptoms
✓ 1. Being anxious, shy, or fearful or experiencing inner tension since childhood, but hiding these feelings from others
✓ 2. Having bouts of depression or nervous exhaustion
✓ 3. Poor dream recall, stressful or bizarre dreams, or nightmares (low vitamin B6)
✓ 4. Excessive reactions to tranquilizers, barbiturates, alcohol, or other drugs, in which a little produces a powerful response (low vitamin B6)
✓ 5. Preferring not to eat breakfast, experiencing light nausea in the morning, or being prone to motion sickness (low vitamin B6)
✓ 6. White spots or flecks on the fingernails or opaquely white or paper-thin nails (low zinc)
7. Liquid zinc sulfate having a mild taste or tasting like water (low zinc)
8. Poor appetite or having a poor sense of smell or taste (low zinc)
✓ 9. Joints popping, cracking, or aching; pain or discomfort between the shoulder blades; or cartilage problems (low zinc)
✓ 10. Pale or fair skin or being the palest in the family, or sunburning easily, now or when younger
✓ 11. Disliking protein or having ever been a vegetarian or vegan
✓ 12. Being sensitive to bright sunlight or noise
✓ 13. Upper abdominal pain on your left side under the ribs or, as a child, having a stitch in your side as you ran
✓ 14. Frequent fatigue
15. Being prone to iron anemia or low ferritin levels
✓ 16. Tending to have cold hands or feet
✓ 17. Having frequent colds or infections, or unexplained chills or fever
✓ 18. Reaching puberty later than normal or having irregular menstruation or PMS
✓ 19. Having allergies, adrenal issues, or problems with sugar metabolism
✓ 20. Having gluten sensitivity
✓ 21. Neurotransmitter imbalances, especially low serotonin
22. For women, belonging to an all-girl family or having look-alike sisters
23. For men, having a mother from an all-girl family or a mother with look-alike sisters, or all the females in the mother’s family bearing a strong resemblance to each other
✓ 24. Avoiding stress because it upsets your emotional balance
✓ 25. Tending to become dependent on one person whom you build your life around
✓ 26. Preferring the company of one or two close friends rather than a gathering of friends; becoming more of a loner as you age
✓ 27. Feeling uncomfortable with strangers
✓ 28. Being bothered by being seated in the middle of the room in a restaurant
✓ 29. Being easily upset by criticism
Less Common Signs and Symptoms
✓ 30. Stretch marks or poor wound healing (low zinc)
31. Crowded upper front teeth, many cavities, or inflamed gums or wearing braces (low zinc)
✓ 32. Bad breath and body odor (or a sweet, fruity odor), especially when ill or stressed (low zinc)
✓ 33. Being prone to acne, eczema, herpes, or psoriasis
✓ 34. Reduced amount of hair on your head, eyebrows, or eyelashes, or prematurely gray hair
✓ 35. Difficultly recalling past events and people in your life
✓ 36. Focusing internally, on yourself, rather than on the external world
37. Tending to have morning constipation
✓ 38. Tingling sensations or muscle spasms in your legs or arms
✓ 39. Feeling stressed by changes in your routine, such as traveling or being in new situations
✓ 40. Your face looking swollen when you’re under a lot of stress
✓ 41. Cluster headaches or blinding headaches
✓ 42. One or more of the following: a psychiatric disorder, schizophrenia, high or low histamine, alcoholism, learning and behavioral disorders, autism, or Down syndrome
I took this questionnaire from Trudy Scott, who is an American food mood expert and certified nutritionist. She also wrote a book called The Antianxiety Food Solution: How the Foods You Eat Can Help You Calm Your Anxious Mind, Improve Your Mood and End Cravings (2011), in which she also published the above questionnaire. From the forty-two symptoms described, there are only seven that I don't fully recognize myself in.
Of course, I know a questionnaire isn’t the only way to a diagnosis. But having almost all of these symptoms together with the positive lab results — this disease caught my attention.
The term Pyroluria is completely new to me, but the more research I do, the more I am convinced that my body is indeed missing some zinc (deficiency causes behavioral and sleep disturbances, body odour when stressed or ill, dandruff, delay in wound healing, different kinds of skin lesions like eczema, psoriasis and acne, skin dryness and rashes, hair loss, inflammation of nail cuticles, white spots on fingernails, inflammatory bowel disease, loss of sex drive and reduced fertility), chrome (needed for blood sugar balance, healthy blood circulation, positive mood, mental clarity and stress management), magnesium (essential for a lot of things, especially related to relaxation and muscle and bone support), B6 (required for proper development of the brain, nerves and the skin, among other things) and B3 (deficiency can cause skin lesions, fatigue and insomnia).
So now I have an idea of what’s been going on beneath the surface, I wondered what I could do about it and so I found that Trudy Scott has a protocol for treating Pyroluria. She suggests starting with zinc (30 mg), vitamin B6 (100mg) or P5P (25mg) and evening primrose oil (1300mg), plus a good multi-vitamin (with manganese and no copper) and a multi-mineral and sometimes additional magnesium.
I can’t wait to start the treatment. Any of you ever heard of Pyroluria before? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences with me! Always look forward to hear from you.
Take care, guys x