Pretty in Pee-nk

Pretty in Pee-nk
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Beeturia, the passage of pink urine after beetroot consumption, is a reminder that phytonutrients circulate throughout our bloodstream—explaining the connection between “garlic breath,” and the use of garlic as an adjunct treatment for pneumonia.

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Beeturia, pink pee after beet consumption, is totally harmless—you’re just peeing out some of the pigment. But it can be used to remind us of an important fact. When we eat plant foods, many of these wonderful antioxidant pigments—lycopene, beta carotene—the phytonutrients are actually absorbed into our bloodstream, and bathe the organs, tissues, and cells of our bodies.

There’s no direct connection between our gut and our bladder, right? The only way those beet pigments are finding their way into our urine is by being absorbed through our gut, into our bloodstream, and circulating throughout our entire body, before being eventually filtered out by the kidneys. Our blood for a time is a little pinker too!

When we have garlic breath, it’s not just garlic residue in our mouths. It’s the fact that those wonderful health-promoting garlic compounds got absorbed into our bloodstream, and are actually being excreted straight out of our lungs. If we just had a garlic enema, we’d still get garlic breath.

So when you see studies investigating the antibacterial effects of garlic, and you’re thinking who cares what garlic does in a petri dish,outside the body, that’s why we care—because it does circulate throughout our body. That’s why garlic has been found useful as an adjunct treatment for pneumonia in critical cases. It’s excreted by our lungs to get that garlic breath, and can wipe out bacteria on the way out.

Other than pink pee and red stools, which gives a whole new meaning to the term toilet bowl flushing, any other side-effects to beet consumption? One more.

Should you get run over while you’re out biking on beets, on autopsy, you might amuse your pathologist. “The case of the purple colon: Purple discoloration of the large bowel related to… beetroot ingestion…”

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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Chinese University of Hong Kong, http://lynlaukimdak.wikispaces.com/ and JJ Harrison via wikimedia. Images have been modified.

Beeturia, pink pee after beet consumption, is totally harmless—you’re just peeing out some of the pigment. But it can be used to remind us of an important fact. When we eat plant foods, many of these wonderful antioxidant pigments—lycopene, beta carotene—the phytonutrients are actually absorbed into our bloodstream, and bathe the organs, tissues, and cells of our bodies.

There’s no direct connection between our gut and our bladder, right? The only way those beet pigments are finding their way into our urine is by being absorbed through our gut, into our bloodstream, and circulating throughout our entire body, before being eventually filtered out by the kidneys. Our blood for a time is a little pinker too!

When we have garlic breath, it’s not just garlic residue in our mouths. It’s the fact that those wonderful health-promoting garlic compounds got absorbed into our bloodstream, and are actually being excreted straight out of our lungs. If we just had a garlic enema, we’d still get garlic breath.

So when you see studies investigating the antibacterial effects of garlic, and you’re thinking who cares what garlic does in a petri dish,outside the body, that’s why we care—because it does circulate throughout our body. That’s why garlic has been found useful as an adjunct treatment for pneumonia in critical cases. It’s excreted by our lungs to get that garlic breath, and can wipe out bacteria on the way out.

Other than pink pee and red stools, which gives a whole new meaning to the term toilet bowl flushing, any other side-effects to beet consumption? One more.

Should you get run over while you’re out biking on beets, on autopsy, you might amuse your pathologist. “The case of the purple colon: Purple discoloration of the large bowel related to… beetroot ingestion…”

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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Chinese University of Hong Kong, http://lynlaukimdak.wikispaces.com/ and JJ Harrison via wikimedia. Images have been modified.

Doctor's Note

This is a follow-up to my Asparagus Pee video, a tangent in my series about the athletic performance-enhancing effects of vegetables that began with Doping with Beet Juice. For more on the wonders of garlic, check out #1 Anticancer Vegetable, and its “prequel,” Veggies vs. Cancer.

And that’s just one of more than two thousand topics I cover in videos here at NutritionFacts.org—an all-free, no-ads, and evidence-based (see links to all the papers in the Sources Cited section above) resource for all.

For further context, check out my associated blog posts: Using Greens to Improve Athletic Performance, and Treating an Enlarged Prostate With Diet.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

18 responses to “Pretty in Pee-nk

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  1. This is a follow-up to Friday’s video-of-the-day Asparagus pee, a tangent in my series about the athletic performance-enhancing effects of vegetables that started with Doping with beet juice. For more on the wonders of garlic, check out videos #1 Anticancer Vegetable and the “prequel,” Veggies vs. Cancer. And that’s just one of more than a thousand subjects I have videos on here at NutritionFacts.org—an all-free, no-ads, and evidence-based (see links to all the papers in the Sources Cited section above) resource for all.

    1. Hello vjimener,

      If your wandering if hemp seeds are unique due to the “completeness” of the amino acid makeup, this is not a special trait. All whole plant foods, from berries, bananas and to greens, contain a full profile of the essential amino acids.

    2. I eat hemp seeds every day ground up in smoothies and on muesli. They do have a good protein content -10g in 4 tablespoons – but they also have lots of healthy fats – a good balance between omega 3 and 6.

  2. Hi Dr. Greger.

    I’m living in Thailand right now, and one of my favorite fruits is dragon fruit.

    It has the impressive ability to turn my urine and stools pinkish red.

    I’m wondering if there is a connection here. What causes the pink pee in dragon fruit?

  3. I watched your beeturia video after my friend told me you only get pink urine after consuming beets if your stomach has a high pH level. Should I be concerned about that?

  4. I have beeturia? Is this a problem? Anything I can do about it? I say it can signify a weak gut and possibly lead to leaky gut syndrome. Any advice? Thanks!

    1. According to the video above, beeturia is harmless and to be expected after eating beets! If you can’t watch the video for some reason, you can always click the transcript button under the video to read exactly what Dr. Greger says in the videos. :)

  5. Another symptom from beets – Migraine City! Lasts the whole time from when they are eaten until they make their pretty in pink exit. I did Dr. Greger’s “transit time” test using a single roasted beet and it set off a migraine like I haven’t had in years. Is that the nitrates/ nitric oxide thing dilating the blood vessels in the brain?

  6. I have a dear friend who has been diagnosed with Aspiration Pneumonia in 4 of the past 5 years. Is there any herb or foods that could possibly help him in warding off this condition? He has also (finally) been diagnosed with PTSD from his time in service in Viet Nam when he was an EMT/medic during three tours. I love him so much and want to help.

  7. Chris,

    My I suggest that your friend have a complete workup for agent orange now that our Viet Nam vets can receive these services ? After 3 tours he has almost inevitably been exposed to a host of toxins. A full lung function workup is very much in order, coupled with his home being evaluated, from particulate exposures to a host of other common contaminants.

    The use of a WFPB diet will make an impact positively on his immune function along with some detoxification pathway enhancement. There is a host (62) of related NF videos at: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/lung-health/ Consider the consistency and easy of modification when you utilize this or any other diet input.

    I would venture to guess that his AP happens around the same time of year ? Please have him evaluate the changes during that season and work with a knowledgeable health care provider to minimize aspiration irritants, along with maximizing his overall health.

    I would be remiss if I didn’t also suggest you have him evaluated for three common components that influence the frequency of AP: Dysphagia,( swallowing issues) Poor Oral Hygiene, and Medication Use
    https://www.managedhealthcareconnect.com/article/preventing-aspiration-pneumonia-addressing-three-key-risk-factors-dysphagia-poor-oral

    Hope this helps to prevent any further AP…

    Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger http://www.Centerofhealth.com

  8. Hi Dr. Greger,

    I had beets for lunch yesterday afternoon and for the first time experiencing red/pink urine. I know you say it is harmless in this video however I see many website say it is due to iron deficiency. Is it true? I consume lot of beans and leafy vegetables – which have lot of iron. Please help!!!

    1. Hello there,

      There is an association between iron deficiency and red urine after beet consumption, but I don’t know of any research suggesting that it’s a cause. If you have any articles on that, please send it our way and maybe Dr. G will do a video on it in the future!
      If you’re concerned about iron levels, please visit your doctor and get it tested.

      I hope this helps,
      Dr. Matt, Health Support

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