6

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Do you buy the theory that yellow urine is a sign of inadequete water intake?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 20, 2010 at 6:16 PM

I've been hearing for years that yellow pee is some sort of indicator of dehydration. Before paleo, I drank much less water but rarely had dark yellow pee. Since going strict paleo, I'm drinking about 8-10 glasses of water and tea per day, but my pee is consistently dark yellow. What gives?

Could this be something to do with ketosis? Is this sign that I'm overworking my kidneys? Could this be something to do with uric acid and gout? I don't eat fruit at all anymore, but after reading the gout posts, I'm getting nervous on what this could mean.

EDITED to say that I'm not taking any supplements or vitamins at all

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on October 26, 2010
at 12:43 PM

I detect it as a "fruity" smell - like ripe or over-ripe citrus (maybe even spoiling).

E46d4f7e35e46ee4e8211ab4bc852023

(1510)

on October 21, 2010
at 05:33 PM

My diet is free-range chicken and beef (ideally grassfed, but not always), fresh fish (I usually try for wild, sometimes I include farmed), organic green vegetables of kinds (kale, spinach, cukes, zucchini, celery, argula, fennel), olive oil, coconut and coconut oil, tea, almond milk, avocados, some 88% dark chocolate, and the occasional tomato or eggplant. No fruit, no starchy vegetables, and no whole nuts. I cut all those out for personal reasons beyond just paleo ideology tho.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on October 21, 2010
at 02:42 PM

Can you share your diet with us? "strict paleo" is very very broad :)

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on October 21, 2010
at 02:40 PM

Reread the gout data, especially Taubes lost chapter, fruit/fructose is not what you want if you're worried about gout

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 21, 2010
at 02:58 AM

I liked your old screen name better! Or maybe "Melissa Explains It All".

B2157bdf4a217ac943c41125d1a67845

(258)

on October 20, 2010
at 08:06 PM

The smell is acetone.

E46d4f7e35e46ee4e8211ab4bc852023

(1510)

on October 20, 2010
at 07:07 PM

There's definitely no burning sensations, lol.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on October 20, 2010
at 07:05 PM

Hmmm...I don't know how to put it except, 'more potent'.

E46d4f7e35e46ee4e8211ab4bc852023

(1510)

on October 20, 2010
at 06:52 PM

affect the smell how? I've had that change too, but I was trying to keep the post low on the TMI.

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10 Answers

best answer

5
E46d4f7e35e46ee4e8211ab4bc852023

(1510)

on October 26, 2010
at 01:56 AM

To chime back in, I finally figured out that my yellow urine problem was related to a lack of electrolytes. I had cut out all salt as part of paleo, but that evidently doesn't work for me in the long-term. So I've come to understand that for my body, yellow urine is a sign of dehydration but not necessarily a sign of inadequate water intake. Though I was consuming large quantities of water, my body was still dehydrated for lack of electrolytes. This is was also partially causing a the inflammation-response to exercise that I asked about here, as I was depleting a system already low in electrolytes of even more electrolytes by sweaty exercise.

I seriously recommend that anyone dealing with dark urine, dehydration, dry mouth, dry skin, or edema during paleo consider assessing their electrolyte intake. It's the easiest thing to fix (just a bit of electrolyte enhanced water or more salt), but it took me two weeks of examining everything before I could identify the real source of the problem.

4
A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on October 20, 2010
at 06:48 PM

I totally buy it.

If you're taking any sort of water-soluble supplements (like most multi-vitamins), the extra minerals can be filtered out into your urine, making a darker shade of yellow.

Ketosis doesn't typically affect the color of urine, but it will affect the smell.

If you're worried about gout (or at all), a visit to the doctor wouldn't hurt.

B2157bdf4a217ac943c41125d1a67845

(258)

on October 20, 2010
at 08:06 PM

The smell is acetone.

E46d4f7e35e46ee4e8211ab4bc852023

(1510)

on October 20, 2010
at 06:52 PM

affect the smell how? I've had that change too, but I was trying to keep the post low on the TMI.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on October 20, 2010
at 07:05 PM

Hmmm...I don't know how to put it except, 'more potent'.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on October 26, 2010
at 12:43 PM

I detect it as a "fruity" smell - like ripe or over-ripe citrus (maybe even spoiling).

3
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 21, 2010
at 07:24 AM

I suspect dark urine may SOMETIMES mean you are drinking less water. I don't necesarily think it means you are dehydrated. I think being thirsty means you are dehydrated. There are no studies at all or scientific reasons to suggest people are commonly dehydrated even though they are not thirsty. So the old paranoia about dehydration is mostly just paranoia. If you are not sweating a lot and are not thirsty, you should be fine. There is no evidence to the contary and I personally trust my brain to be smart enough to tell me when my body needs water. After all, that is the very purpose of the sensation of thirst! How stupid would it be of nature to not make you thirsty in a timely fashion when your body needed water!!!

As for dark urine, any time you consume vitamin rich food like liver or vitamin pills, you can make it darker. It just means that the amount of vitamins and minerals in the urine are more concentrated compared to the amount of water. There are two ways for that to happen. Either you pass less water or you consume and thus excrete more vitamins and minerals. Eating paleo is all about eating vitamin and nutrient rich foods, so I would actually expect paleo eaters to have darker urine than nonpaleo eaters. No matter how good your digestion, you never manage to metabolize all the nutrients you consume. Some always escape into the urine.

So to summarize, yes, darker urine 'could' be due to dehydration, but if that were the case, you would know because you would also be feeling thirsty! Or darker urine could be caused by increased intake of vitamins and minerals which is likely on paleo if you are doing it right. Also, it could be caused by specific foods that darken urine, like asparagus, or it could be caused by various illnesses or medications.

1
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on October 20, 2010
at 08:31 PM

It sometimes just means your toliet doesn't have enough water in the bowl to dilute the color :P

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 21, 2010
at 02:58 AM

I liked your old screen name better! Or maybe "Melissa Explains It All".

1
65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

on October 20, 2010
at 07:28 PM

When I make a concerted effort to drink more water, the color of my urine is very clear. However, when I drink less water, am very active, or have more drinks with fillers or additives, my urine is darker.

0
5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on October 25, 2010
at 01:50 AM

My take is that clear urine is a sign that your body is dumping excess water.

0
286a4ff7c362241c5c4b020df4972212

on October 21, 2010
at 01:52 AM

Not at all the case for me - can go a few days without drinking anything at all ( in fact I think I have gone 2 days without a wee before but mostly I only wee once a day ( I do like a drink of water)

My urine is clear and only very lightly tinted yellow - the times when its dark is when I have had a fair bit of dairy or alcohol or a bit of carb - but mostly its clear!

0
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on October 20, 2010
at 10:45 PM

generally in my own experience its simply the more water you drink the lighter color your urine will be. All other things being equal. So yes, i buy it.

0
9d741bcbe702044635f2ce3078043054

(1435)

on October 20, 2010
at 09:04 PM

I don't buy it. I take supplements. In the next few hours my urine will be darker, even when I am drinking lots of water, and I do drink a lot of water.

0
2b8c327d1296a96ad64cdadc7dffa72d

on October 20, 2010
at 06:57 PM

Olga - go to a doctor. and bring with you details of everything you are eating (at least the past week, or any significant additions or deletions to your diet) and all your supplements. Could be that you're getting too much in the VitB category. That will make your urine extra yellow, could cause burning sensation and off-smell (if it is fishy, you've got a yeast problem). Non-fishy burning needs attention.

E46d4f7e35e46ee4e8211ab4bc852023

(1510)

on October 20, 2010
at 07:07 PM

There's definitely no burning sensations, lol.

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