Chelsey Amer, MS, RD, CDN, answers a common yet still mysterious bathroom question: Why is my pee bright yellow?
When was the last time you took a peek in the toilet bowl after you went to the bathroom? If it was soon after you started your new supplement routine, you may notice that your urine is suddenly bright yellow.
As a registered dietitian, I get asked about near-fluorescent, bright yellow pee from concerned clients weekly. But there’s no need to fear. Typically, after starting a new supplement routine, your pee can turn bright yellow largely due to a certain type of vitamins.
But before we get into the specifics about this latest color change, let’s chat about normal-colored urine.
What color should urine be?
Your urine can range in color from nearly clear to a deep, golden amber color. I suggest checking the toilet bowl often to track the color of your urine to become familiar with your usual color pattern.
Still, keep in mind that it’s perfectly normal for the color of your urine to change throughout the day with your hydration level and the foods you eat. Generally speaking, most yellow-toned urine is perfectly normal.
However, if your urine appears brown, pink, or red—or if you’re concerned about your urine’s appearance—I suggest consulting your physician.
So Why Is My Pee Bright Yellow?
Your pee may appear bright yellow due to high concentrations of B vitamins through food or supplements.
Certain B vitamins, including vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and vitamin B12 (cobalamin), can turn your pee fluorescent yellow or even neon green. If you take Base Control or B12 Turbo, you may notice this change in urine color. It can also occur after drinking protein shakes or meal replacement shakes that are fortified with B vitamins.
But keep in mind that most of the time, this color change is harmless.
About B Vitamins + Absorption
B vitamins are essential for many metabolic processes in your body, from energy production to DNA formation. Without B vitamins, you’ll experience difficulties with nutrient digestion and absorption, red blood cell formation, cellular health, infection prevention, and more.
B vitamins are water-soluble, meaning your body doesn’t store them in your tissues or fat. Further, your body doesn’t absorb 100 percent of these vitamins ingested from supplements or food, so it’ll excrete unabsorbed B vitamins.
For reference, your body can only absorb 27 milligrams of riboflavin at one time. Any amount over that threshold will likely result as an overflow of fluorescent yellow urine. (Fun fact: “flavin” in the vitamin’s name means yellow.)
Regardless of this urine coloring, it’s important to eat foods rich in B vitamins and to continue taking your supplements to ensure you consume enough of them daily. Such foods include eggs, organ meats, and dark green vegetables. Additionally, animal foods are rich sources of vitamin B12 specifically.
Does Bright Yellow Pee Mean I’m Taking Too Many Supplements?
Some individuals experience bright-colored urine from supplements more often than others. It can depend on the specific brand and supplements you take, as well as the absorptive capacity in your intestines.
Now you may be thinking: If I’m excreting excess B vitamins, do I need to take them at all?
But just because your urine appears bright yellow doesn’t mean that you’re excreting all of the vitamins you ingest. Your body takes the amount that it needs, which can change over time based on your diet and other specifics.
Other FACTORS THAT IMPACT URINE COLOR
The color of your urine can reveal several health indicators.
Most healthy individuals can use the color of their urine to gauge their hydration levels.
Dilute, pale yellow pee typically suggests adequate hydration. On the other hand, a deep amber jewel tone in the toilet may indicate under-hydration. That’s why your urine is likely darker in the morning than throughout the rest of the day, when you’re more hydrated.
To signify good hydration, aim to keep your pee a pale yellow color. Since sixty percent of your body is water, drinking it regularly is crucial for your beauty and health alike. As a ballpark, try to drink half of your body weight in ounces daily.
However, your urine may change color for reasons other than hydration.
Certain colored foods can alter the color of your urine.
For example, a high intake of beets or berries can give your urine a pink or reddish tinge. This is due to the naturally-occurring pigments found in some produce, like betalains in beets. On the same note, you may notice light orange or dark yellow pee if you eat a lot of carrots or sweet potatoes due to their high concentrations of carotene.
Additionally, a diet high in processed foods with artificial dyes could alter your urine’s pigment.
Note: In some instances, the color of your urine can indicate a need to call your physician ASAP. If you didn’t recently consume beets, berries, or Red Dye 40, a pink or reddish hue may indicate blood in your urine.
The Bottom Line
All things considered, most dietary influences on your urine color are temporary. There’s often no need to worry, save for the special circumstances cited above.
However, if you’re concerned about the color of your urine, speak with your physician.