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Betanin, the beet pigment causing urine coloring

Beeturia is passing of red or pink urine after eating beetroots or foods colored with beetroot extract or beetroot pigments. The color is caused by the excretion of betalain (betacyanin) pigments such as betanin. The coloring is highly variable between individuals and between different occasions and can vary in intensity from invisible to strong. The pigment is sensitive to oxidative degradation under strongly acidic conditions. Therefore, the urine coloring depends on stomach acidity and dwell time as well as the presence of protecting substances such as oxalic acid.[1][2] Beeturia is often associated with red or pink feces.[3][4]


A selection of differently colored beetroot varieties

The red color seen in beeturia is caused by the presence of unmetabolized betalain pigments such as betanin in beetroot passed through the body.[1][2] The pigments are absorbed in the colon.[1] Betalains are oxidation sensitive redox indicators that are decolorized by hydrochloric acid, ferric ions, and colonic bacteria preparations.[3] The gut flora plays a not yet evaluated role in the breakdown of the pigment.[4]


Factors affecting beeturia[edit]

The extent of excreted pigment depends on:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h S. C. Mitchell (2001). "Food idiosyncrasies: beetroot and asparagus". Drug Metab. Dispos. 29 (4): 539–543. PMID 11259347. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Watts, AR; Lennard, MS; Mason, SL; Tucker, GT; Woods, HF (1993). "Beeturia and the biological fate of beetroot pigments". Pharmacogenetics 3 (6): 302–11. doi:10.1097/00008571-199312000-00004. PMID 8148871. 
  3. ^ a b Eastwood, MA; Nyhlin, H (1995). "Beeturia and colonic oxalic acid". QJM 88 (10): 711–7. PMID 7493168. (subscription required (help)). 
  4. ^ a b c Allergy Advisor - Beeturia Compiled by Karen du Plessis, Food & Allergy Consulting & Testing Services. Retrieved on January 01, 2013
  5. ^ Myths of Human Genetics: Beeturia

External links[edit]