Thursday, May 24, 2018 by Janine Acero
A hereditary coproporphyria (HCP) is a rare metabolic disorder marked by a deficiency of the enzyme coproporphyrinogen oxidase, which is essential to the creation of heme, a part of hemoglobin and other hemoproteins. This enzyme deficiency results in abnormally high levels of porphyrin precursors in the body.
HCP is primarily inherited as an autosomal dominant trait. People who have inherited porphyria from one or both parents have deficiencies in certain enzymes which help with normal hemoglobin functions.
Other factors that may trigger the development of HCP include hormonal changes, use of certain drugs, excess alcohol consumption, infections and dietary changes such as fasting.
HCP is mostly reported from Europe and North America but is expected to occur in all ethnic groups.
HCP typically manifests after puberty in heterozygotes, and more commonly in women. The course and severity of HCP vary from person to person.
Known risk factors and symptoms of hereditary coproporphyria
HCP is an inherited condition; a family history of HCP increases the risk of a newborn developing it. Other risk factors may include:
- Taking certain drugs and medications (antibiotics, birth control pills, psychoactive drugs, hormone replacement drugs, anxiety/depression medications)
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Frequently dieting or fasting
- Smoking cigarettes and excessive drinking
- High levels of stress
- Recurring infections or other illnesses
- History of liver disease
- Hormonal imbalance
- Excessive sun exposure
- Excess iron
The following signs and symptoms of HCP are caused by the coproporphyrin buildup in the body:
- Anxiety or paranoia
- Chest pains
- Concentration problems
- Digestive problems and abdominal pains
- Heart palpitations
- High blood pressure
- Memory loss and confusion
- Muscle pains
- Swelling and fluid buildup in the stomach
- Tenderness in the legs and back
- Trouble breathing
Body systems harmed by hereditary coproporphyria
Porphyria is incurable and difficult to manage, which can lead to various complications. These include:
- Liver disease and failure
- Respiratory failure
- Skin scarring
Patients may not be diagnosed until after the damage has been done. Permanent damage may include:
- Anxiety attacks
- Breathing difficulties requiring continuous oxygen
- Walking problems
Food items or nutrients that may prevent hereditary coproporphyria
Nutrient deficiency is among the risk factors for porphyria disorders. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet full of nutritious whole foods can help manage the symptoms. A porphyria treatment diet should include:
- Healthy fats – Healthy fats help manage blood glucose levels and regulate appetite to help you maintain a healthy weight. Coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocado are good sources of healthy fats.
- High-antioxidant foods – Antioxidants help lower inflammation and protect the body from free radical damage. Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables are among the best sources of antioxidants.
- Unprocessed carbohydrates – Complex, unprocessed carbohydrates include ancient grains (Khorasan wheat, millet, barley, oats, bulgur, sorghum, farro, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, and chia), beans or legumes, and organic/locally grown fruits and vegetables.
Maintaining a healthy liver is also an important part of managing porphyria disorders. The liver helps the body detox, processing excess hormones and regulating porphyria levels. Maintain liver health by avoiding the following:
- Heavy drinking
- High sodium intake
- Long-term use of medications and hormone replacement drugs
- Low potassium intake
- Saturated fats and processed foods
- Unprotected sex
- Untreated viral infections, autoimmune diseases, and viruses
Treatments, management plans for hereditary coproporphyria
Nutrient-rich diets, as well as lifestyle changes, are important parts of treatment and management for HPC, which may include:
- Aloe vera – Aloe vera acts as an antibiotic, rather than as a topical ointment and wonderfully subside the pain and discomfort, instantly. It has an excellent healing capability.
- Bay leaf – Bay leaf is another effective herb for the treatment of porphyria. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory which effects of this herb are very effective for treating the symptoms caused due to porphyria.
- Ginger – Ginger is well-known for its anti-inflammatory activity. Take a half-inch piece of ginger in a cup of hot water. Leave it for five to 10 minutes. Add a small teaspoon of honey to make it sweet.
- Juice – Fresh juice of carrots, green apples, grapefruits, and cabbage are effective for porphyria. Drink two glasses of fresh juice daily for six months.
- Licorice root – Licorice root is one of the best adaptogenic herbs that boost the immune system and helpful for stress, infections, arthritis and depression and also performs as a good antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and helps to control hormones.
- Pineapple – Pineapple contains a digestive enzyme which is called bromelain. It helps to digest proteins and speed along the process of digestion. Eat one or two slices of pineapple per day.
- Yoga – Yoga helps to stimulate your bowel movements and also relieve stress which is a main cause of porphyria.
Where to learn more
A hereditary coproporphyria (HCP) is a rare metabolic disorder marked by a deficiency of the enzyme coproporphyrinogen oxidase, which is essential to the creation of heme, a part of hemoglobin.
People who have inherited porphyria from one or both parents have deficiencies in certain enzymes which help with normal hemoglobin functions.