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Can Vitamins Change the Color of Your Urine?

author image Adam Cloe Ph.D./M.D.
Adam Cloe has been published in various scientific journals, including the "Journal of Biochemistry." He is currently a pathology resident at the University of Chicago. Cloe holds a Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry from Boston University, a M.D. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in pathology from the University of Chicago.
Can Vitamins Change the Color of Your Urine?
A large spoonful of vitamins. Photo Credit: gitusik/iStock/Getty Images

Your kidneys filter out waste products from your blood and excrete them in the form of urine. Urine often has a yellow color, due to the presence of a compound called urochrome, which is produced when your red blood cells break down. Many things can alter the color of your urine, including vitamins.

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Bright Yellow

Although urine typically has a yellow color, unusually bright or neon yellow urine may be caused by your body eliminating excess amounts of riboflavin, one of the B vitamins. Riboflavin occurs in vitamin supplements, dairy products, enriched cereals and lean meats.

Orange Urine

Vitamins can cause orange urine also. Excess amounts of vitamin C can cause the urine to turn orange, as can consuming too many carrots. But the antibiotic rifampin and the pain relievers sulfasalazine and phenacetine can also cause orange urine. Two different drugs used to treat painful urination, phenazopyridine and ethoxazene, can also make your urine orange.

Other Causes of Urine Color Changes

Eating asparagus can cause urine to develop a greenish tinge and also develop a different odor. Beets can make urine develop a red color, although this only happens to a small proportion of people. Rhubarb, aloe and fava beans can turn urine brown. Blue or green urine can be the result of taking cimetidine, a drug used to treat heartburn.

When to See a Doctor

Although some foods can cause red urine, blood may also be the cause of red or pink urine. A urinary tract infection, kidney stones or other urological problems may be the cause. If your urine turns red, see a doctor to determine if your red urine is a sign of a disease. Urine that's cloudy or has a bad smell may also be a sign of an infection and should prompt a visit to a doctor. Finally, sweet-smelling urine may be a sign of diabetes, a serious health problem.

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