Transcript: Asparagus Pee
I just presented evidence from this groundbreaking new series of experiments suggesting beets can significantly improve athletic performance. Can’t be that easy; there has to be some downside.
Well, those who want their kids to get a jump on physical fitness should know that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends we not feed vegetables to infants under three months of age—but we shouldn’t be feeding babies anything but breast milk at that age.
What else? Beets do have a lot of oxalates in them, and though the primary means of preventing oxalate kidney stone formation involves meat restriction, and eating more fruits and vegetables, some people are genetically predisposed to oxalate absorption—in which case they might want to instead choose a different high-nitrate plant food to boost their performance.
Other than that theoretical concern, only two side effects were consistently noted in these studies: no deleterious side effects, but subjects did, however, report beeturia (red urine) and red stools.
That’s actually the real name: beeturia, the passage of pink or red urine after the ingestion of beetroot, and it doesn’t happen in everybody, which is kind of interesting.
Same thing with asparagus— only about half the population gets stinky pee from asparagus, whereas the frequency appears greater among Americans, for some reason. Those who produce the odor assume, politely, that everyone does, and those who do not produce it have no idea of the olfactory consequences of asparagus. There is no reason as to why these two opposing factions should converse on this subject; it just wouldn’t come up in conversation. But a brief discourse with one’s colleagues will confirm such differences and verify this state of affairs.
It actually gets curiouser and curiouser. There are not just two types of people in the world, when it comes to asparagus pee, but four. Some people get stinky pee, but apparently genetically don’t have the ability to smell the smelly compounds themselves. Some people are excreters of stinky asparagus pee, while others are non-excreters. However, others are perceivers (able to smell the odor), while others can’t. So, some people think they don’t have stinky pee, but in actuality it’s just not stinky to them.
You’ve got to love nutritional science.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by MaryAnn Allison.
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