HPU is an abbreviation for Hämopyrrollaktamurie, describing a metabolic disorder in the heme metabolism. In this condition, the heme molecule that is for example found in the red blood pigment hemoglobin, is not formed correctly. As a result, a toxic product called Hämopyrrollactam is produced, which needs to be detoxified and excreted, leading to an increased consumption of nutrients. Particularly, vitamin B6, zinc, and manganese are excreted in elevated amounts, potentially causing an imbalance in the body.

Health Impact of HPU

The impact of HPU on the body is diverse, as a deficiency in vitamin B6, zinc, and manganese, along with incorrectly structured heme, can affect numerous biochemical processes. Additionally, an imbalance in other micronutrients exacerbates the health impact.

The following health effects may occur with HPU:

  • Due to heme's presence in the muscles (myoglobin), insufficient oxygen supply to the muscles may result in faster fatigue.
  • Disruption in energy production (ATP) within the mitochondria, the powerhouses of our cells, can occur. Heme-containing enzymes in the respiratory chain of the mitochondria may not function properly due to the altered structure of heme, leading to reduced energy production.
  • Production disturbances of neurotransmitters can occur as synthesis depends on, among other things, vitamin B6 and heme.
  • Impairments in the body's detoxification process may occur, particularly in phase 1, where heme is a crucial component of detoxification enzymes. Slowed glutathione production also limits detoxification phase 2, resulting in an overall slower detoxification process.
  • The compromised detoxification leads to increased oxidative stress and a higher occurrence of free radicals, potentially damaging our cells. Manganese deficiency exacerbates this condition, as essential enzymes like Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) may be insufficiently synthesized.
  • Disturbances in the intestinal mucosa, irritable bowel symptoms, and food intolerances contribute to reduced absorption of essential micronutrients.
  • Many HPU patients experience difficulties in histamine breakdown, as one of the degrading enzymes (DAO) requires vitamin B6 as a cofactor.

Symptoms of HPU

The deficiency in vitamins and minerals, along with improperly structured heme in HPU, can manifest in diverse symptoms, including:

Dr. med. Karsten Ostermann M.A.

The metabolic disorder HPU involves complex interconnections that should be carefully considered in diagnosis and therapy. An individually tailored therapy plan is necessary to restore metabolic processes to balance.

Dr. Karsten Ostermann

Further information

The information listed contains relevant topics and serves to improve understanding.