What is porphyria?

Porphyria is a fairly uncommon condition. There are seven types of Porphyria. Most of these are inherited but some may be acquired.


All living things including healthy people produce prophyrins. Our bodies convert two simple substances, (ALA) and (PBG) known as porphyrin precursors, into more complicated substances called porphyrins. These are then converted from one type of porphyrin to the next, in a kind of chain reaction, or pathway, and with the help of iron form Haem. Heam is a red organic compound found in hemoglobin, the coloring matter of the red corpuscles of the blood.


A special protein known as an enzyme completes each step on the pathway to produce Haem. In each type of porphyria, a specific enzyme is deficient, and this is why prophyrins accumulate.