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Vitamins and Urine Odor

author image M. Gideon Hoyle
M. Gideon Hoyle is a writer living outside of Houston. Previously, he produced brochures and a wide variety of other materials for a nonprofit educational foundation. He now specializes in topics related to health, exercise and nutrition, publishing for various websites.
Vitamins and Urine Odor
Vitamins Photo Credit: monticelllo/iStock/Getty Images

Urine is the combination of excess fluid and waste materials that your body produces in your kidneys and releases through your bladder and urethra. In some instances, consumption of vitamin B-6 can give your urine an unusual odor. However, prominent urine odor has a range of other causes.

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Understanding Urine Odor

Under normal circumstances, the odor of your urine is directly related to a number of different chemicals released by your kidneys. When your urine is diluted by sufficient amounts of excess fluid, it typically has little or no noticeable smell. However, if your urine contains low amounts of fluid, the relatively high concentration of chemicals it contains can give your urine a distinctly strong or ammonia-like odor. Usually, your urine only undergoes temporary odor changes, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s Medline Plus.

Vitamin B6

Apart from changes in fluid volume and chemical concentration, you can develop an unusual urine odor if you take supplements that contain vitamin B-6. The University of Maryland Medical Center lists potential uses for B-6 supplementation that include treatment of heart disease and treatment of nausea and vomiting that occur during pregnancy. In addition to products that contain only B-6, you can purchase both multivitamin formulas and B complex formulas that contain the vitamin. In addition to its common name, you may find vitamin B-6 listed as pyridoxine, pyridoxamine, pyridoxal, pyridoxal-5-phosphate or pyridoxine hydrochloride.

Avoiding Problems

Vitamin B-6 is found in a number of food sources, including turkey, beef liver, chicken, shrimp, salmon, lentils, beans, milk, cheese, whole-grain flour, carrots, bran, brown rice, wheat germ and spinach, the UMMC reports. If your daily diet contains a variety of B-6-rich foods, you typically have no need for B-6 supplementation. In these circumstances, you may be able to avoid supplements that contain B-6 and eliminate any vitamin-related urine odor problems.

Other Causes lists a number of potentially serious causes of unusual urine odor, including dehydration, urinary tract infection or liver failure. A diabetes complication called diabetic ketoacidosis and a rare metabolic condition called maple sugar urine disease are also possibilities. You can also develop unusual urine odor as a side effect of certain medications or if you eat foods such as asparagus. If you take vitamin B-6 and also have a medically significant condition that produces abnormal urine smell, you can ask your doctor to help determine the source of any unusual odor.


If you consume significant amounts of vitamin C, you can also develop a characteristic orange tint in the color of your urine, Harvard Medical School notes. The B-vitamins may turn your urine a fluorescent greenish-yellow. Like urine odor, additional factors in the development of unusual urine color include the presence of certain illnesses, your fluid intake and use of certain medications. Consult your doctor for more information on urine-related changes.

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