Do Beets Make Urine Red?

Many people love to eat beets. Beets contain essential minerals like potassium and manganese along with immune-boosting vitamin C and fiber. What's more, beets also have several health benefits such as preventing cancer and lowering blood pressure. However, some people may find their urine red after they consume beets. It is horrible. So is it beets that make the urine turn red?

Do Beets Make Urine Red?

Yes, beets can change urine color to red, however, not everyone experiences the color change after eating them. Only about 10 percent of the population who eat beets have their urine turning red, and this is a condition known as beeturia. But why do beets make urine red? Actually, the presence of a pigment called betacyanins which gives beetroot the deep red color is the cause. When this pigment is not broken down in the digestive system, it will make your urine become red in color. There are mainly two reasons for this condition:

1. Less Acidic Stomach Acid

When there is not enough stomach acid, the stomach will not be able to process the betacyanins in beets. Then this pigment is passed down through the digestive system, absorbed by the intestinal walls and gets into the bloodstream, and then it is filtered out through the kidneys into the urine, making the urine red in color.

2. Iron Deficiency

Those who have an iron deficiency and malabsorption condition also have problems in digesting betacyanins. Other symptoms of an iron deficiency include:

  • Constant and persistent fatigue
  • Difficulties in concentrating
  • Anemia and pale skin

What Can You Do About It?

Do beets make urine red? Yes, it does. Having red urine after eating beets is harmless, and usually stops after a few days. The time it takes for the body to get rid of the pigment will vary from person to person according to different fluid intakes. If you continue to eat beets, you may continue to have red urine. Here are two tips for you to eliminate red urine faster.

  • Increase water intake: Try increasing your water intake for 2 to 5 days in order to flush out the pigment. 
  • Take iron pills: If you have symptoms of iron deficiency, consult with your healthcare provider. They may prescribe supplemental iron pills to counter the issue. Take the iron pills for 7-10 days.

Other Causes of Red Urine

1. Blood Cells in Urine

If you have recently consumed beets, and the red urine persists for a long time, you’ll need to check whether it is beeturia or blood. Here are the differences between fresh blood and beeturia:

  • Blood will present as bright red or brownish in color.
  • Beeturia is diffuse and creates a reddish-purple color.

Do beets make urine red? Yes, it can make urine red. However, if you didn't consume any beets but have a red or pink colored urine, it may indicate blood cells in your urine. If it is blood, the cause could be anything from a urinary tract infection to problems with your kidneys. Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect blood in your urine.

2. Medications and Some Foods

  • Rifampin, used to treat or prevent tuberculosis, may cause urinary discoloration. Your urine may turn purple or red, but it isn’t harmful.
  • Phenazopyridine, used to treat the lower urinary tract, may cause your urine to turn red or orange in color. This is normal and harmless unless it presents with other symptoms.
  • Ibuprofen, an over the counter pain medication, sometimes causes gastrointestinal ulceration/bleeding that is then passed through urine.
  • Warfarin, a blood thinner, has been known to cause pinkish urine.
  • Some foods, such as blackberries and rhubarb can also turn urine red or pink.

Other Urine Color Causes

1. Orange Colored Urine

Dehydration is the most common cause of orange urine. Other causes may include an injury to the bladder or kidney. Sometimes, orange colored urine indicates that there may be a problem with the liver, or bile ducts.

2. Blue or Green Colored Urine

Brightly colored food dyes may cause green urine, and colored dyes used for medical testing for kidney and bladder function might turn urine blue. Some medications including propofol, indomethacin, and amitriptyline will produce blue or green colored urine. Children born with blue diaper syndrome, a rare inherited disorder, have blue urine. Green urine may also occur during urinary tract infections that are caused by pseudomonas bacteria.

3. Dark Brown Colored Urine

Dark brown colored urine could indicate a liver disorder, such as cirrhosis, or acute viral hepatitis that passes excess bile through urine. Consuming a lot of rhubarb, fava beans, or blackberries may also cause a dark brown colored urine. Medications, such as antimalarial drugs, antibiotics, laxatives containing senna or cascara, and certain muscle relaxants commonly cause a dark brown urine. Even extreme exercise causing muscle injury can result in dark brown urine.

4. Cloudy or Murky Urine

Cloudy or murky urine may be caused by many conditions, including dehydration, sexually transmitted diseases, vaginal discharge, certain autoimmune disorders, infection and inflammation, urinary tract infections and kidney stones.

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