Beetroot and Beeturia


How frightening it would be to see your urine turn the color of blood after drinking beetroot juice, especially if you are not aware that your condition is just beeturia.

Just beeturia, that’s right.  The red you are seeing in your urine or excrement is not blood, despite its red color, but the indigested pigment from beetroots called betacyanin.

Not all people are prone to beeturia.  It occurs in one out of eight persons, but this figure is not consistent.  It has also been observed to occur in people with iron deficiency and mal-absorption.  Co-ingestion of oxalic acid can also stimulate it.

Why do some people can digest beetroots while others can’t break it down completely?

Research say betcyanin breaks down in acid, which we all have in our stomachs.  The more acid you have in your stomach, the more you are capable of digesting it.  A weaker stomach acid would allow the pigment to pass through the colon, around the bloodstream, into the kidneys and out with the urine, making it red.

This condition may also be genetic.  The capacity to metabolize the pigment is a recessive gene.  If a person has two recessive genes, the result would be to inevitably pee red whenever beet is ingested.

Beeturia is not dangerous and should not be confused with serious urinary and bladder disorders.