What are the Causes of Yellow Urine?

Staying properly hydrated will typically result in an optimal diluted color to your urine.
Staying properly hydrated will typically result in an optimal diluted color to your urine. (Image: drinking water image by Andrzej Solnica from Fotolia.com)

With good body health, urine usually appears as some form of yellow. Things that effect the color include consumption of vitamins, food or medication, as well as your body's hydration levels. As our body uses its filtration system for liquids, many processes take place that cause the yellowing of urine.


Hemoglobin is a protein responsible for carrying oxygen within your red blood cells. As this protein breaks down in your system, it produces a pigment called urochrome. This gives urine its yellow hue.


A vividly bright yellow urine, or a more golden yellow urine, likely reflects the intake of the vitamin B family, as well as carotene. As your body breaks down the vitamins in your system, the excess filters out through your kidneys and then to your urine.


If your body is fully hydrated, the water dilutes the urochrome yellow, making your urine appear moderately clear. When you are dehydrated, the dilution does not occur, resulting in a much darker color yellow to your urine.

Off-Color Urine

While urine is normally some variation of yellow, it may appear as some other color, due to consumption of a food, food dye, or medication. Colors can vary from orange to dark brown to green and even red/pink. These symptoms are temporary and can usually be traced back to the food or medication that you consumed. Prolonged color changes in urine color may signal much more serious symptom, prompting you to seek out medical assistance.

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