What you drink throughout the day can have an impact on how much urine you excrete, but what you eat can also influence its color. You might notice when you eat beets, red urine follows. Eating beets can change your urine color to pink or red, so don't be alarmed if you notice an unusual hue.
However, if you have red pee, and beets weren't on the menu, talk to your doctor. This can be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as a kidney infection, cancer or blood clotting disorders. It can also be a temporary side effect of activities such as vigorous exercise.
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Read more: Why Are Beets Good for You?
Understand Normal Urine Color
Straw-yellow is the normal color for urine, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The exact yellow hue of your urine depends on how much fluid you consume during the day; fewer fluids results in darker yellow urine.
Urine can also become a darker yellow or orange color if you consume large amounts of B complex vitamins or carotene or it can be a side effect of certain medications, such as Warfarin, according to Cleveland Clinic. Artificial colors in food can cause blue or green urine, and milky urine is usually because of a urinary tract infection or other bacteria in the urine.
Beets and Red Urine
If you consume beetroot and red urine occurs, it's referred to as a condition called beeturia, which is harmless, according to John H. McDonald writing for the University of Delaware. This can be alarming, however, because the beets can make it look like there is blood in the urine.
Not everyone will experience a change in urine color after eating beets. The exact pink or red hue of urine after eating beets can vary from person to person, as well.
The compound in beets that's responsible for changes in urine color is anthocyanin, This is a color pigment that gives beets their vivid red color and can be excreted in urine, turning it red, according to an August 2017 article published by Food & Nutrition Research.
Betalain is another color pigment in beets that can be excreted in urine, according to McGill Office for Science and Society. While beeturia itself is benign, excreting red or pink urine after eating beets can be caused by a deficiency in iron metabolism.
Read more: What Are the Side Effects of Eating Beets?
See a Doctor
If you've eaten beets recently, chances are your red urine is because of that. If, however, you haven't eaten beets, discovering red or pink urine warrants an immediate call to your doctor. The presence of red blood cells in your urine can cause it to look red and can be caused by kidney or renal system problems.
A urinary tract infection, urinary stone or other urinary disorder can also cause red or pink urine, according to Mayo Clinic. Chronic lead or mercury poisoning are additional conditions that can cause red or pink urine.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: "Urine — Abnormal Color"
- University of Delaware: "Beeturia: The Myth"
- Food & Nutrition Research: "Anthocyanidins and Anthocyanins: Colored Pigments as Food, Pharmaceutical Ingredients, and the Potential Health Benefits"
- McGill Office for Science and Society: "Beets and Urine"
- Mayo Clinic: "Blood in Urine (Hematuria)"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Warfarin, A Blood-Thinning Drug: What you Need to Know"