Is Urine Discoloration by Beets Abnormal or Normal?

The odd color change in your urine after eating beets can be alarming because it looks like blood. However, it’s important to know is urine discoloration by beets abnormal or not.

A frightened mother booked an appointment in my clinic to seek medical advice about her child. After listening to her describe the symptoms all she said was her child peed red after eating beets for dinner. I explained to her that beets can at times cause someone to have red urine or poop which most of the time isn’t a harmful thing.


Beets are great root veggies that have many health benefits and contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients good for your body. Eating beets lower your blood pressure, increases your energy levels, and improves your immune system. However, beets have an unusual side effect that is a bit alarming to some people. Beets cause beeturia, which means your urine or poop turns red or pink.

Different colors of urine

Normally, urine is supposed to have a straw yellow colour but depending on what kind of fluid and how much you take during the day, the yellow hue can change. Your urine becomes dark yellow if you don’t take much fluid.

It can turn darker yellow or orange if you take foods rich in vitamin B or carotene or some medication. Also if you take lots of vitamin B2 supplements your body will take what it can use or store and the rest is passed on to your kidney and to your urine.

Blue or green urine can be caused by artificial food colouring found in certain foods you consume while milky urine can be as a result of an infection or bacteria in your urinary tract. If you’re taking antidepressants, antihistamines, antibacterial, or anti-inflammatories the medication can cause blue or green urine.

When you pass brown urine it could be caused by liver or kidney disorders, infection in your urinary tract, eating foods like fava beans, aloe, or rhubarb. Laxative drugs with cascara, metronidazole, or chloroquine can also be a cause or if you’ve suffered a severe muscle injury.

Click here to learn more about the colours of your urine and their meaning.

Is urine discoloration by beets abnormal?

What causes red urine or beeturia?

Drinking beet juice from raw beets can turn your urine deep red or light pink and if you consume boiled beets your urine can turn light red or pink. Beets contain betalain, a compound that gives beets the red colour. If your body isn’t able to break down this pigment it passes to your kidney which you then passed out as pink or red urine. Although this is a harmless side effect to eating beets, it can be a health concern which may require medical attention if the symptoms persist 48 hours after you stop taking beets.

Red or pinkish urine could be as a result of low iron in your body which means you don’t have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to the rest of your body. It could also be a sign of liver diseases, extreme dehydration, or accumulation of bilirubin. If your stomach acids can’t absorb nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, it could be difficult to metabolize betalain so it’s passed in your urine. If you feel bloated, constipated, or have gas you could be having low stomach acid.

The presence of red blood cells in your urine can also turn it red which means you have problems with your renal system and kidneys, urinary disorders, or severe mercury or lead poisoning. If you do any strenuous exercises like distant running, vigorous exercises can cause you to have urinary bleeding. Tumors in the bladder and kidneys are most common in older people or enlarged prostate glands in men can cause blood to be found in their urine.

Treating beeturia

Since most of the time it’s not a harmful side effect, you don’t require any medical treatment. However, if it requires medical attention it’s good to go for the necessary tests and take medication that will treat the underlying problems.

So, is urine discolouration something you should be concerned about?

Eating beets is very healthy but sometimes it can cause anxiety if you see red or pink urine. So if your question is, is urine discoloration by beets abnormal, the answer is not necessarily. This is because this is a side effect that is mostly harmless but at times it could be a sign of a more serious underlying problem that needs medical attention. It’s also important that you understand the meaning of other urine colours.

How long does beet juice stay in your urine?

If you don’t notice any red colour in your urine within 24 hours after eating beets it means your body is taking too long to digest food. If waste stays too long in your gut it’s reabsorbed.

Is pink urine a sign of iron deficiency?

Although having pink urine after eating beets is something normal it can sometimes be a sign that you’re lacking iron in your body. Your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to your body.

How can you use beets to test your stomach acid?

Your stomach acid and gut help to breakdown pigments in your foods if they’re low it could cause beeturia. If your stomach acid is low your body can’t properly metabolize the beet pigment and it’s passed in your urine.

Is it OK to eat beetroot during pregnancy?

Eat beetroot during your pregnancy is good because it has so many health benefits to you and the fetus. It can protect you from getting anemia, boost your immunity, help your baby to grow, etc.

When is the best time to start eating beetroot during pregnancy?

In your second trimester is the best time to start eating beetroot to get all the nutrients for a healthy pregnancy and baby. Beetroot can make you throw up if you have morning sickness.

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