Have you ever peed or pooped red after eating beetroot? For some, that is something they typically go through, which is normal. However, there are instances when beeturiar iron deficiency could be a concern.

When some people eat beets or drink beet juices, their urine turns red. Though it is harmless, people who have taken beets tend to panic if they haven’t made the relationship between the red of the beets and the color of their urine. That, however, doesn’t happen to everyone. For some, their urine remains relatively normal, taking a yellowish color.

As a medical practitioner, here are the reasons behind beeturia. I shall also highlight when it should be a concern such as the case of beeturia iron cases


causes of beeturia

Beeturia or betaninuria refers to the urine turning red or pink after ingesting beetroots, food colored with its extract or the pigment. What causes the color change is the betanin (betalain pigments) getting excreted without being metabolized. This pigment then gets broke down in the colon.  There is no general classification of people who get beeturia as there are different reasons for it.

Some people will see the color intensely red while others the pigment is invisible when passed. It is also visible in stool as well. Beeturia is known to happen in around 10 to 14 percent of people who take beets. The reason why it is harmless is that the betalains are antioxidants.

Beeturia causes

However, data shows are that the pigment depends on many factors, with there being a relationship between beeturia and stomach acid. Therefore how acid the juices are at a given time makes a difference. That could be due to underlying causes or medicine-induced hyperacidity. Overall, the factors that decolorized the pigment are hydrochloric acid, colonic bacteria, gut flora, and ferric ions. The amount of oxalic acid, found in many plants, can also determine how pigmented the urine is. Oxalate forms primarily in the colon, and large amounts can prevent the absorption of minerals and thus stops the pigment from being decolorized.

Another noticeable difference in whether a person will experience beeturia has to do with the type of beetroot they ate. Some have stronger pigments than others. In processed foods, the concentration of beetroot extract used in coloring the food can contribute to the phenomenal as well. Other variables such as how fresh the beetroot is weigh in. Those who eat pickled beetroots will have higher chances of having the condition than those who ate the boiled version.

What about a person’s state when taking the beetroot? When a person is dehydrated, the urine is usually dark yellow and its variation. After taking beets, one’s urine color will be deeply exaggerated in tone from the red pigment as compared to someone who as well hydrated. Equally, how long the dye remains in the system also makes a difference.

Beeturia iron relation

There are several explanations given to explain beeturia. The prominent one is that when a person has beeturia, it is an indication that they have an iron deficiency.

Research shows that though only a small population gets beeturia, data shows that a significantly high number of these individuals suffer from iron deficiency. It goes to further state that those not being treated for anemia the likelihood of getting beeturia is 60 to 80 percent, while those who are getting iron supplements the rate drops down to 45 percent. Dr. Zackariah Clement, Department of Surgery at the Canberra Hospital, Australia is behind the study.

Even with that, beeturia among this population should not be a concern. It is merely the pigment being passed out of the body. If you get it frequently or all the time, you can have your iron levels checked to establish what the problem might be. If there the levels are fine, you can go about your life know you’re in good health though you pee or poop red.

Final word

The beeturia iron relationship is not a cause of concern if you have the condition under control. If you lack an iron deficiency, you don’t have to go around worried that there is an issue with your digestive tract if you do experience beeturia. As mentioned, it could be a combination of things, some within and others outside of your control. Otherwise, you are free to enjoy beets in a variety of ways.

People also ask

How long do beets stay in your urine?

If you have beeturia, then you can do a beet test to find out. If you typically don’t get beeturia, then it would be hard to tell.

What foods cause the urine to turn color?

Just as with beets, some foods give your urine a different color and even an odor you are not used to. However, if the color change is persistent, you should seek medical advice as it could indeed be a symptom of an underlying problem.

How long does it take for your poop to turn red after eating beets?

Food takes a surprisingly long time to transit through the digestive system. From the stomach to one’s small intestines it can take up to eight hours. In the colon, digestion can continue for another 40 hours. It means that your stool will not turn red for about one to three days.

Is beeturia cause by a gene?

There was an initial myth that it was a gene that has two alleles, one carrying the beeturia recessive gene being responsible for the condition. That was since dispelled, with the reasons stated in the previous section showing to be the causes of beeturia.