The Mauve Factor - A Lecture by Woody McGinnis

The following are notes taken from a lecture by Woody McGinnis in Auckland for SFNZ in 2008. They were taken by hand, so may not be as comprehensive as those of Woody McGinnis himself. You can also see his published research in our Research section. Here are my notes from Woodys lecture.

(My version of it is by no means exact, so please excuse any error.)

Woody was talking on Oxidative Stress and the Mauve Factor. His background is a Behavioural Nutritionist and also a parent of a child with a behavioral disorder - severe ADHD. He was a GP, now specialises in research.

Woody started by talking of research on ADHD that a lady had done in her neighbourhood with other parents and co-related their physical symptoms and appearances in a tabulated form. The results showed that dry skin / eczema / and other symptoms were prevalent. This suggested a deficiency in fatty acids. They discovered that evening primrose oil and zinc were beneficial for these these problems, as well as treating the ADHD symptoms.  

'The Mauve Factor' refers to a urine test that shows lilac on the paper chromatography test. It was discovered by Abram Hoffer in 1961. He found 27 out of 39 of those with early schizophrenic diagnosis showed a high mauve factor. When he treated 7 with Niacinamide the Mauve went from positve to negative. When their symptoms reappeared the Mauve reappeared also. 

Here are the levels of the Mauve factor positive test in people tested:

  • Down syndrome 71%
  • Schizophrenic 40- 80%
  • Autism 46-48%
  • ADHD 40-47%
  • ETHOH 20-84%

He explained that there was some confusion over what the Mauve factor represented - twice in research. But it now has been established that it is Hydroxyhempyrrolin-2-one (HPL). 

He said Mauve was highest in the evening before bed. Tests could also be effected by the amount of water the subject had been drinking. All the data has been taken retrospectively from other research, allowing for very low costs.

All those with elevated Mauve had borderline B6 activity i.e. were deficient in this vitamin.

Mauve deficient associations are:

  • Poor Dream recall (often signals flagging B6)
  • Poor breakfast appetite - sometimes even nausea
  • Nail spots- white flecks on the nails (indication of low zinc)
  • Stretch marks
  • Pale skin (called China doll syndrome) - poor tanning
  • Lighter hair
  • Acne / allergies / obesity
  • Coarse eyebrows
  • Knee and joint pain
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Light / sound / odour intolerance
  • Tremor / shaking / spasma
  • Hypoglycemic
  • Stress intolerance
  • Emotional lability  
  • Explosive anger
  • Anxiety / withdrwal
  • Pessimisim / depression

[I asked if the people with these signs were on medication, as often medication can cause these effects.  He said it was not noted in the data. So was not as complete as he would like.]

He said that a high Mauve factor also presented: 

  • Paranoia / hallucination
  • Perceptual disorganisation
  • Crime and delinquency.  It had shown in normal law abiding people who suddenly dipped into deviant behaviours!

Next was Zinc. They tested white blood cell zinc, and found it subnormal in those with the mauve factor. They also showed Leukodynima - white flecks on nails. Can suffer eczema / asthma / hyperactivity. Showed photos of his son, who had the light hair even though had dark blood (adopted) and said when he gave him very high levels of zinc, his hair went dark, and his behavioural problems improved substantially. [He put this down to the fact that the mauve factor is caused by free radicals using up the oxygen, and the oxygen being excreted through the skin as hydrogen pyroxide, bleaching skin and hair.]

PLASMA BIOTIN levels were low in those with mauve factor, which he said shows the oxidation - loss of electrons in the body.  He links emotional stress with oxidative stress. Many toxins can also cause oxidation in the mind and body.  Oxidation happens, and this is excreted through urine, breath, found in ADHD high oxidation levels throughout the breath.

MEDITATION lowers blood lipid peroxides, and lowers oxidative stress. (They are doing a test at the moment on people and relaxation techniques, and oxidation levels. I asked if meditation lowered the Mauve factor and he said he did not know, but he would tend to think that it would.)

Mauve Factor and Psychosocial stress go hand and hand together. He gives patients extra B6 and zinc to mute the stress symptoms.

PLASMA GSH lower levels when oxidative stress is higher.  HPL injections actively depress hepatic microsomal heme.  Heme depression lowers intracellular zinc and induces NOS and increases oxidative stress.  Poor energy is also symptom of oxidative stress.

Those with mauve factor (high HPL) show low catalase (Catalase neutrolises bleach, and reduces hydropyroxide in the body.) This could explain the lighter hair and complexions. 

Those with high HPL levels had greater nitric oxide content. Very high in autism.


He said the gut and the brain were effected by oxidative stress. Increased the permeability of the stomach lining - people became worried sick. Causing an overly porous intestine and "leaky gut syndrome". He thought there was a link between the Mauve factor and the gut. Monopyrroles may be generated by bacteria. One study showed that Tetracyclin reduced them in four subjects. Kanamyacin abolished them in 9 subjects.

He suggested giving those with these symptoms of oxidative stress and the Mauve factor Vit C, Vit B6 Zinc and Vit E.


  • Mauve levels predict proportionately lower functional B6 and zinc blood levels.
  • Strong reference to stress.
  • Mauve is a biomarker for oxidative stress.
  • Possible enteric origin for Mauve Factor.
  • Links between oxidisations / somatic health / behavioural abnormalities.

He said when giving zinc, tests were needed to monitor to ensure it was not in excess. Test the plasma zinc level and the red blood zinc level.  To make sure the copper levels do not go too low. Can use Zinc sulphate in liquid form as is easily absorbed. He suggested giving people P5P, which seemed to work well with zinc absorption. Good food sources of zinc are sesame seeds, red meat and oysters.

I asked if trauma could cause severe oxidation in the brain.  He said yes. I asked about drugs, such as methamphetamines etc, and he again said that they would have this effect. He talked about how some drugs are antioxidants, where others such as Haldol that causes tardive Dyskenisia, is Prooxidant, as is cocaine.

He said he had visited the offices of Abram Hoffer, and looked at his charts and spoken to his clients, and TWO THIRDS of them recover completely in 2 years under his nutritional guidance. It is true, he has seen the results himself.

A few notes:

  • Too much B6 can cause nightmares and sleep disturbance.
  • He gives doses of usually 200 to 400mg Vit B6 a day (usually with a compound).

Here is a link to another site with information on his research:

Adrienne Giacon  

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