Porphyrins Profile

The Porphyrins Profile can help identify the severity of heavy metal toxicity or organic chemical exposure in patients. Chemical exposure and a heavy toxic burden can have physiological effects resulting in impaired metabolism and cellular function.

Porphyrin testing also helps you monitor therapy in your patients.

Porphyrin testing helps identify:

  • Levels of biochemical damage caused by toxicant exposure
  • Physiologic burden of a person's level of toxins
  • Levels of porphyrin elevation correlated with levels of toxic interference
  • Toxicity of patients before and during chelation therapy
  • Toxicity of therapeutic drugs

Why Evaluate Porphyrins?

Porphyrins are proteins involved in the formation of heme measured in urine. Heme is essential for the proper function of many proteins including oxygen transport, energy production, and detoxification. Proper porphyrin production is essential for our body's capacity to detoxify toxins.

Porphyrins are particularly well suited for assessing heavy metal toxicity. First, the heme pathway is a constantly-changing pathway that is active in almost every cell of the body. Any disturbance in the pathway tends to cause rapid and relatively large accumulations of intermediates, such as porphyrins. Second, the enzymes of the pathway are widely distributed in human tissues, and are highly sensitive to the presence of various toxins, creating the large accumulation of porphyrins in the pathway.

Porphyrins and Autism

Studies are demonstrating urinary porphyrin testing is successful in:

  • Demonstrating the role of mercury in ASD populations
  • Identifing the physiologic burden of children and adults exposed to mercury
  • Tracking mercury excretion from affected children undergoing treatment

Symptoms of toxicity:

  • Fatigue/weakness
  • Chemical sensitivity
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Memory loss
  • Insomnia
  • Numbness and tingling in hands and feet
  • Tremors
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Loss of appetite

Sources of toxicants:

  • Fish
  • Amalgams
  • Polluted air and soil
  • Fluorescent bulbs
  • Paints
  • Pottery
  • Ground water
  • Tobacco

Test name(s): 0060 - Porphyrins Profile*

Method: UPLC/Florescence detection, Colorimetry

*Not available in New York

Test Type: Urine Test

Analyte List
Copro I/Copro III
Coproporphyrin I
Coproporphyrin III
Precopro/Uro I & III
Total Porphyrins
Uroporphyrin I & III
Specimen Requirements