Does Beets Make Your Pee Red

The regular color of urine can range from a translucent yellow to amber. This appearance of your urine can be modified by certain beverages you drink, foods you eat, and disorders that you may be afflicted by.

Your kidneys can produce 1 to 2 quarts of urine on a daily basis and during your entire lifetime, your kidneys filter around 1 million gallons of water.

According to a study, 3,079 substances can be detected in urine. 1,453 substances come from the body itself, 72 are made by bacteria, and the rest, 2,282, come from prescription drugs, diet, and environmental exposure.

Urine doesn’t usually have a strong smell, but if your urine does have a smell, it is not a direct indicator of a physical problem, but an indicator of medications you may be taking or foods you have lately eaten.

Can eating beets make your urine red (beeturia)?

Urine gets its color from a pigment called urochrome, a breakdown product of hemoglobin related to the bile pigments. Darker urine contains less fluid, whereas lighter colored urine is more diluted.

Beets can temporarily turn urine red or pink, because of red pigments – betacyanins, that can be alarming for some people, because it may be mistaken for blood.

Most people can metabolize these compounds, but some people can not (due to low stomach acid), and in that case, the betacyanins are slowly filtered out of the body via the kidneys.

Another reason may be an iron malabsorption and deficiency which lead to problems in digesting these plant pigments. Note – if you have iron deficiency don’t forget to eat your meals with foods rich in vitamin C and other organic acids for better absorption. It’s also possible that the breakdown of betacyanins could be influenced by genetic factors.

Other foods can make your urine pink or red, like blackberries and rhubarb. However, the red color from beets (also known as beeturia) lasts about 24 to 48 hours. It depends on the amount of fluids one intakes.

If you stop consuming beets, blackberries or rhubarb, your urine color should return to normal. Moreover. vitamin B supplements can cause orange or red urine.

What to do?

If you observe that your urine is pink or red and you consumed beets, you’ve likely found your cause and is not a health concern.

However, if you didn’t consume beets, blackberries and rhubarb and your urine color is red, this condition is known as hematuria (blood in urine) that shouldn’t be ignored because blood in urine can be a sign of a serious disorder.

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Hematuria causes

Causes of hematuria include:

  • kidney stones – symptoms may include pelvic pain or severe abdominal pain.
  • urinary tract infections – symptoms may include pain and a burning sensation during urination, a persistent urge to urinate, and extremely potent-smelling urine.
  • hepatitis can cause a darker urine color. Hepatitis is generally caused by alcohol consumption, viral infection, or some prescription medications and recreational drugs and is an inflammation of your liver.
  • injury (for instance, after falling off a bike and bruising a kidney) or intense physical exercise.
  • prescriptions drugs – the anti-cancer drug cyclophosphamide, penicillin, or aspirin-type medications can cause urinary bleeding. Laxatives may cause red urine because of their artificial colors content.
  • hemolytic anemia, a condition that can occur at any age, in which red blood cells are destroyed.
  • sexual activity.
  • cancer – however, only about 2% of patients with hematuria are found to have cancer.
  • enlarged prostate – it is a common problem in older men and symptoms of an enlarged prostate include an urgent or persistent need to urinate, difficulty urinating, and blood in the urine.

Blood in urine – symptoms 

Instead of its normal color, your urine may be red, pink, tea-colored, or brownish-red. In the majority of cases, patients with this condition do not have other symptoms.

There is no specific treatment for all cases of blood in urine. Rather, treatment is proposed after a specific cause is determined. Avoid smoking cigarettes and stay well hydrated to prevent hematuria.

What kind of color normal urine should have?

Depending on the color, urine can offer signs of dehydration. It usually means that the healthier you are the clearer your urine is.

normal urine color chart
Image credit – http://www.momsteam.com/nutrition/weight-loss-dark-urine-thirst-three-main-signs-athlete-is-dehydrated

Note

If you don’t think the pink or red urine color is caused by the food you’ve eaten, particularly if you notice the red urine color commonly, then go see your physician immediately.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4819932/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18435262

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10230169

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/756373_1

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