Did you know that looking into the toilet bowl is like looking into a crystal ball for your health? The color of your urine can change depending on how hydrated you are, what foods you’ve been eating, and even as a weird side effect to certain medications. Here’s what your urine color says about your health — and when it could signal a serious problem.
What Your Urine Color Means About You
By now you’ve heard that drinking eight glasses of water a day and staying hydrated is important for your health. But if your urine looks like water, you’re probably overhydrated, says Jane Miller, MD, associate professor of urology at the University of Washington. You likely aren’t doing yourself any harm, but there’s no data to support the need for drinking eight or more glasses of water a day, Miller says. Plus, you’ll just wind up spending half your day in the bathroom if you’re drinking too much.
Consider this your toilet bowl goal. You should strive to have light yellow pee, somewhere between clear and the color of apple juice. You’re probably sufficiently hydrated if your pee is pale yellow, but it doesn’t necessarily mean anything about your health beyond that if your pee is darker or lighter, says Miller.
If your pee looks like a neon billboard, blame B vitamins, Miller says. Riboflavin (B2) is naturally fluorescent when exposed to UV light. It might be jarring to see, but it’s nothing to worry about. Your body excretes the riboflavin it doesn’t need through urine, which is why excess amounts, either consumed in food or through taking supplements, could make your pee look bright yellow. Almost all multivitamins contain riboflavin, as do food such as eggs, organ meats, lean meats and dairy.