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Environmental Exposure and Detoxification - Urine Porphyrins

Doctors DataSKU: A2828

Abnormal levels of urinary porphyrins, oxidized metabolites of heme biosynthesis, are associated with genetic disorders, metabolic disturbances and diseases, anemias, oxidative stress, and high-level exposure to toxic chemicals or metals. Specific urine porphyrin profiles are associated with high-level exposure to mercury, arsenic, lead and some chemicals and drugs. Precoproporphyrins, associated with mercury, are reported separately and per unit of uroporphyrin...

Full Description

This test is useful for

  • Anemia
  • Autism
  • Genetic Disorders
  • Nutritional Deficiencies
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Toxic Chemical or Metal Exposure

Find out more

Environmental Exposure and Detoxification

Environmental chemical exposure has never been more pervasive with thousands of chemicals in use around the world. Many chemicals are integrated into our food supply, the air we breathe and the water we drink. Every day, we ingest small amounts of many chemicals and our bodies cannot metabolize and clear all of them. Chemicals not metabolized are stored in the fat cells throughout our bodies, where they continue to accumulate. As these chemicals build up they alter our metabolism, cause enzyme dysfunction and nutritional deficiencies, create hormonal imbalances, damage brain chemistry and can cause cancer. Because the chemicals accumulate in different parts of the body—at different rates and in different combinations—there are many different chronic illnesses that can result.

Doctor's Data offers a spectrum of tests designed to evaluate the exposure to environmental toxins, and assess the body's capacity for endogenous detoxification. Especially important for the latter category is the Plasma Methylation Profile.

Detailed Information

Urinary porphyrins are oxidized intermediate metabolites of heme biosynthesis and are readily excreted in excess when porphyrinogens accumulate as a result of inhibition of specific enzymes in the heme biosynthetic pathway. Heme is required for oxygen binding, transport and utilization, cytochromes, and electron transport in mitrochondira. The high rate of production of heme facilitates the use of urinary porphyrins as early and sensitive biomarkers of disorders in heme production, which has long been associated with genetic disorders, metabolic disturbances and diseases, nutritional status, oxidative stress and high-level exposure to toxic chemicals or metals.
Specific urinary porphyrin profiles have been associated with very high levels of toxic metals such as mercury (Hg), lead and arsenic. Mercury specifically inhibits two enzymes in porphyrinogen metabolism—uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase and coproporphyrinogen oxidase (CPOX). Inhibition of those two enzymes, particularly in the renal cortex, results in accumulation of pentacarboxyporphyrinogen and coproporphyrinogen III. Oxidation of the abnormally elevated porphyrinogens results in elevated urinary levels of total porphyrins, pentacarboxyporphyrin and coproporphyrin III. Recent research has identified an additional abnormal porphyrin in the urine of Hg-exposed dentists and also in rats fed very high levels of mercury for extended periods of time. A third Hg-associated porphyrin is most commonly referred to as "precoproporphyrin" as it elutes after pentacarboxyporphyrin and before coproporphyrin I. Precoproporphyrin has yet to be characterized with respect to molecular identity and appears to be elevated in Hg-exposed individuals who carry a variant of the CPOX gene (CPOX4 polymorphism).
Research at Doctor's Data, Inc. has identified three separate precoproporphyrin peaks. Since knowledge about the Hg-associated precoproporphyrin entities is limited, we report the levels of all three peaks separately, as well as the total, for research use. Since uroporphyrin levels are not known to be affected by Hg, we also report the total precoproporphyrins-to-uroporphyrin ratio to increase the sensitivity for detecting abnormalities in individuals with low heme biosynthesis, as may occur in children with nutritional deficiencies or autism.
In addition:

  • Arsenic exposure has been associated with elevated levels of uroporphyrins and coproporphyrin I, and an elevated ratio of coproporphyrins (I: III).
  • Lead exposure has been associated with elevated levels of coproporphyrin III.
  • Exposure to hexachlorobenzene and dioxin has been associated with elevated levels of uroporphyrins.
  • Exposure to polyvinylchloride (PVC) and polybrominated biphenyl has been associated with elevated levels of coproporphyrins.
Various drugs and other substances can suppress enzymes involved in porphyrin metabolism and affect the levels of urinary porphyrins. Such compounds include alcohol, sedatives, analgesics, antibiotics, estrogens and oral contraceptives. Anemia, pregnancy and liver disease can also affect porphyrin metabolism.
This non-invasive test requires a single first morning void (FMV) or 24-hour urine collection.
Usage Directions

Before You Start:

Please read all of the directions, and familiarize yourself with the collection procedures.

The Urine Porphryins specimen collection requires either a 24 hour urine collection or a first morning urine collection. Your physician will tell you which collection method to use. The specimen must be frozen for a minimum of 6 hours prior to shipment.

To avoid over dilution of the specimen, do not consume excessive amounts of liquids during the collection period. If you are taking antibiotic medications, please finish the course of medication, and then wait 48 hours before starting this collection. Please refrain from taking non-essential medications 48 hours prior to and during the specimen collection, unless otherwise instructed by your physician. Never discontinue prescription medications without first consulting your physician.

Female patients should not collect urine during a menstrual period.

More Instructions:

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