The Color Of Urine

What Does it Mean?

The simple visual inspection of urine may be just as accurate as standard laboratory tests in determining if there is a health issue, according to a new study (Pediatrics November, 2000; 106: e60).

Your kidneys remove waste material, minerals, fluids and other substances from your blood for elimination in the urine. Thus, urine contains hundreds of different bodily waste products. It is a convenient indicator of certain aspects of your health.

Normal urine is straw-colored and slightly acidic. Many factors such as your diet, fluid intake, exercise and kidney function can affect what is in your urine. Its primary ingredient is water, plus urea, sodium chloride (salt), potassium chloride, phosphates uric acid, organic salts and urobilin. It is urobilin that gives urine its yellow coloring

Many things can affect the color of your urine, giving you an indicator of fluid balance, diet or the presence of certain urinary tract problems. The intensity of the color generally indicates how concentrated the urine is, with pale or colorless urine being diluted and deep yellow urine being concentrated. Darker urine usually means you are dehydrated and need to drink more water. Cloudy, murky, or turbid urine is characteristic of a urinary tract infection (in which case it may have an offensive smell) or may be caused by the presence of bacteria, mucus, white blood cells or red blood cells, epithelial cells, fat, or phosphates.

Something that can really change the color of urine is the vitamin B2 (riboflavin).  If you swallow a vitamin B2 supplement, and the amount is more than your body needs, the vitamin is excreted in the urine. The urine will be a VERY bright, almost fluorescent, yellow. But there is nothing wrong with you when this happens - it is just your body getting rid of extra vitamin B2. Some health authorities use this as an example that taking large doses of vitamins only makes expensive urine. However, nutritionists who advocate large vitamin supplementation counter by saying that it is only when the excess amounts of vitamins spill over into the urine that you know for sure that your body is getting the maximum amount of the vitamins.

If it is a dark reddish-brown, you may be noticing an early symptom of hepatitis or liver obstruction. The cause could possibly be from blood in the urine or the result of kidney disease, kidney cancer, kidney stones or some genitourinary disorder.

Pink, red, or smoky brown urine can be a side effect of a medication or caused by the recent consumption of beets, blackberries or certain food colorings. It is also characteristic of a urinary tract disorder in which bleeding occurs such as cystitis or enlarged prostate

Dark yellow or orange urine can be caused by recent use of laxatives or consumption of B complex vitamins or carotene. Orange urine is often caused by Pyridium (used in the treatment of urinary tract infections), rifampin, and warfarin.

Green or blue urine is due to the effect of artificial color in food or drug. It may also result from medications including amitriptyline, indomethacin, and doxorubicin.

Americans Don't Drink Enough Water 

“Most people fall short of recommendations to drink eight 8-ounce servings a day,” results of a new survey reveal (Rockefeller University, New York, for the International Bottled Water Association).

Although nearly three quarters of Americans are aware of the recommendation, only 34% actually drink this amount, while 10% said they do not drink water at all. However, Americans drink an average of nearly 6 servings a day of caffeinated beverages such as coffee and soda. These drinks can actually cause the body to lose water, making proper hydration even more difficult to attain.

Water makes up more than 70% of the body's tissues and plays a role in nearly every body function from regulating temperature and cushioning joints to bringing oxygen to the cells and removing waste from the body. Severe dehydration can affect blood pressure, circulation, digestion and kidney function. But on a daily basis, not getting enough water can cause fatigue, dry skin, headaches, constipation, pre-mature aging, etc. According to the study nearly one-third did not know that giving a child water instead of sugar-containing drinks such as juice or soda can help prevent childhood obesity, the survey revealed.


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