What is HPU?

HPU stands for Hemopyrrollactamuria and describes a genetic metabolic disorder. In HPU, the haem metabolism is disturbed.

On „HPU and You“ you can find out which symptoms occur with HPU, how HPU is diagnosed and treated. As an HPU sufferer, you can also do a lot yourself to strengthen your health. You can read about the lifestyle that alleviates symptoms in HPU here.

  • low stress tolerance
  • anxiety / depression
  • exhaustion
  • irritable bowel syndrome / food intolerances
  • migraine
  • thyroid disorders (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis)
  • Muscle and joint pain (fibromyalgia)
  • autoimmune diseases
  • allergies
  • menstrual cycle disorders / poylcytic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)

If “haem” is damaged

Haem is one of the substances used in the human body in many places. Most people have heard of haem in connection with red blood cells – haemoglobin.

Oxygen supply of the organs via the blood

Hemoglobin transports oxygen through our body. It consists of a haem molecule in the middle surrounded by a protein structure. Haem takes over the active part in this structure, because it binds the oxygen molecules directly. A defective haem cannot properly bind oxygen. As a result, the body can absorb less oxygen.

Supplying the muscles with oxygen

Haem also occurs in the muscles of the human body (myoglobin). Here, too, it binds oxygen and supplies the muscles with it. If haem is damaged by HPU, the muscles are not sufficiently supplied with oxygen – they fatigue quickly.

Energy generation in the cells

In the mitochondria, the so-called cell power factories, haem also plays a central role. The main task of mitochondria is the production of energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) – the universal energy carrier for all cells. This happens via the respiratory chain. The respiratory chain consists of a series of haem-containing enzymes located in the inner mitochondrial membrane.


In the body’s own detoxification phase I, haem is an important component of enzymes. These detoxification enzymes are responsible for the degradation of alcohol, drugs and toxic metals. If the detoxification enzymes in the body are restricted by HPU, oxidative stress increases. As a result, free radicals can constantly attack the cells.


The body also needs haem for the metabolism of tryptophan, serotonin and melatonin.

Production of important substances

The body needs haem to produce cholesterol, steroid hormones, thyroid hormones, vitamin D and bile acids.

Disclaimer and general information on medical topics:

The contents presented here serve exclusively for neutral information and general further training.  The text does not claim to be complete nor can the timeliness, accuracy and balance of the information provided be guaranteed. The text in no way replaces the professional advice of a doctor or pharmacist and it may not be used as a basis for independent diagnosis and beginning, modification or termination of treatment of diseases. Always consult your doctor if you have health questions or complaints! I assume no liability for inconvenience or damage resulting from the use of the information presented here.

What happens with HPU?

With HPU, the enzymes that produce the haem in the body do not work properly. In most HPU patients, 3 to 4 out of 8 haem-producing enzymes are impaired in their performance. As a result, the body sometimes produces incorrectly folded haem, which cannot function properly due to its defective structure. This affects:

the oxygen supply of the organs via the blood
the oxygen supply of the muscles
the energy production of the cells

HPU patients also have correctly folded haem, otherwise they would not be viable at all. The wrongly assembled haem, however, has another effect on the body:

Loss of important vital nutrients

The wrongly folded haem is toxic to the body. The body binds it to vitamin B6, zinc and partly also manganese in order to be able to excrete it better. This makes the complex water-soluble and the misfolded haem in HPU patients can be excreted via the kidneys and urine. During this process, the body loses these important nutrients.

Since vitamin B6 and zinc are co-factors for over 300 human enzymes, it quickly becomes clear that a lack of supply with these vital substances can lead to a variety of symptoms. Manganese is also needed for an important enzyme: superoxide dismutase (SOD) in the mitochondria. It protects the mitochondria from free radicals and has a detoxifying effect.

HPU is widely distributed

According to studies by the psychiatrist Dr. Carl C. Pfeiffers, around 10% of the world’s population is affected by HPU – women significantly more frequently than men. The ratio of women to men is approximately 9:1.

HPU is detected much more frequently in chronically ill patients.

“According to our observations, almost every second patient who takes advantage of psychotherapy has a positive HPU!”

Dr. Tina Maria Ritter, Dr. Liutgard Baumeister-Jesch, Stoffwechselstörung HPU, VAK Verlags GmbH, 4th edition 2016