Do Vitamins Change the Color of Urine?
Posted on June 20, 2022 by Uscriptives
Although we don’t often look at or think about our urine, most people know that their urine tends to have a fairly regular color range. Usually, this range goes from pale yellow to clear, depending on one’s diet and hydration levels. Sometimes, the color of our pee dramatically changes, and in those cases, it’s important to keep a record of the color of your urine to get an estimate of your overall health. If you’ve just started taking vitamins or supplements and have noticed a color change, you may wonder if vitamins change the color of urine and to what degree a change in color is safe or healthy. In this article, we explain how your urine may change in color, the cause for some of these changes, and which colors are a cause for concern versus those that are not.
What Urine Colors are Normal?
While the only normal urine color is a pale, natural yellow, there are some colors of urine that can have multiple causes, including completely normal explanations. Here are the colors of urine that may not be any cause for concern:
While it’s unusual for urine to be any bright color, bright yellow urine is a common side effect of certain vitamins, like B2 and B12.
Certain medications, antibiotics, and laxatives can make your pee turn orange. Excessive amounts of carrots and other foods you eat that contain carotene can also have this effect.
While red urine can sometimes indicate the presence of blood in your urine due to kidney stones or other serious issues, this color can also show up after you’ve eaten foods with a strong natural dye, like beetroot or blackberries.
Green or Blue
Some food dyes and certain medications used for allergies, nausea, and anesthesia can turn urine green or greenish-blue. If medication or food dye is the cause for this coloration, it should dissipate within a few hours of ingestion or use.
What Vitamins Affect Urine Color?
Typically, bright yellow pee can serve as a signal that your body is taking in excess amounts of B vitamins. The most common vitamins that can lead to this side effect are vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and vitamin B12 (cobalamin), but a number of multivitamin supplements contain these B vitamins and may also cause a bright yellow color in urine.
While the idea of excessive vitamin intake may be concerning to you, it’s important to remember that vitamins B2 and B12 are two of many vitamins that are water-soluble. Solubility refers to the ability of a substance to dissolve in water or another solvent, like fat. Because B vitamins are water-soluble, there is no real way to absorb excess amounts of them. When you take a higher amount of B vitamins than your body needs, the extra vitamins will dissolve in the water inside of your body, where they will then be flushed out by your body’s natural processes — namely, by peeing.
The reason why these excess vitamins change your pee color is not the same as our natural bodily processes. The natural yellow color of our urine comes from the daily breakdown of excess hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body, into urochrome, or urobilin. Vitamins, on the other hand, turn urine bright yellow because of the yellow-green pigments they contain. In fact, the “flavin” in riboflavin comes from the Latin flavus, which literally means “yellow”.
When Should I Stop Taking Vitamins?
You may think that bright yellow urine is a sign that you should cut down on your B vitamin intake. However, that is not the case! Because these vitamins are water-soluble, you cannot overdose on these vitamins or experience negative symptoms other than a change in urine color. B vitamins are essential to a number of bodily functions, including brain function and cell metabolism. It is much easier to take too few B vitamins than too many.
That being said, if you are concerned about your vitamin intake and intend to change your routine, talk to your doctor about what course of action is best for you.
When to Talk to Your Doctor
We discussed a number of normal and healthy urine color variations, but there are some color and property changes that are indicative of a larger issue. If you experience any of the following changes to your urine, speak with a doctor or medical professional:
Cloudy or Milky Urine
If your urine is suddenly cloudy or milky, this may be a sign of unhealthy bacteria or a urinary tract infection (UTI). This can also indicate the presence of protein in your urine, meaning that you may simply have a high-protein diet or a serious kidney issue.
While we mentioned that foods like beets and blackberries can cause a red tinge to your urine, if you notice a red or pink color in your urine without a reasonable explanation, it is likely that your urine contains blood. This may mean that you have kidney stones, a UTI, or urinary cancer.
Brown urine may also indicate the presence of blood in your urine. It can also signal extreme liver trauma or disease, such as rhabdomyolysis, which can be caused by extensive exercise or damage inflicted by direct impact to the liver.
Deep Purple Urine
While it is extremely uncommon, deep purple urine is a symptom of a rare metabolic disorder called porphyria.
Trusted Supplements and Essential Nutrients
Despite the fact that they may cause neon yellow pee, vitamins are incredibly important for wellness and nutrition. Although B vitamins have a number of benefits, there is no one-size-fits-all wellness plan for every person. Before taking any additional vitamins or supplements, speak to your doctor about what’s right for you.
Uscriptives is dedicated to taking the guesswork out of finding the right supplements for your individual needs. Reach out today to learn how our vitamin supplements can help you on your wellness journey.