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why do vitamins make your urine yellow

Multivitamins, B-complex vitamins and even heavily vitamin-fortified cereals will often cause your urine to turn a bright, seemingly unnatural shade of yellow. Although this might alarm you the first time it happens, it is an entirely normal response when you have ingested a high dose of riboflavin, also called vitamin B-2. Together with other B vitamins, riboflavin helps the body release energy from carbohydrates, contributes to the metabolism of fat and is critical in the creation of red blood cells. In addition to these functions, there is some evidence to support the idea that riboflavin acts as an antioxidant, which may help prevent some forms of cardiovascular disease and cancer. At higher doses, vitamin B-2 has been used in some people to fight migraine headaches and possibly cataracts; however, more research is necessary to confirm these observations. When looking at the nutrition label of most multivitamins or B-complex supplements, you might think that a person needs high amounts of riboflavin and other B vitamins. But, rather than the 25, 50 or 75 milligrams often found in these commercial products, a typical adult woman only needs 0. 9 milligram per day, and a typical adult male only needs 1. 1 milligrams per day.

These small amounts are easily met with a well-balanced diet, and deficiencies are often only seen in people with malabsorption problems, which can occur in celiac disease, alcoholism and occasionally in the elderly. That said, people who are very physically active, such as laborers and athletes, may have an increased need for riboflavin, reports the Linus Pauling Institute. Dairy products are an excellent source of riboflavin. Riboflavin is present in a wide variety of foods. Dairy products including milk are some of the best sources of B-2. If you choose not to consume dairy or you cannot due to dairy allergy or intolerance, additional healthy sources of the vitamin include legumes, nuts, lean meats, green leafy vegetables, eggs and nuts. In the United States, many grain products, including flours, breads and cereals, are also fortified with riboflavin during the manufacturing process, which means that the vitamin is added to the food in higher doses than would normally be present. Historically, scientists believed that riboflavin toxicity was rare because the excess is excreted via the urinary tract system -- thus, the bright yellow color of the urine.

But some recent studies have suggested possible damage to the eyes, nerves and connective tissue if B-2 is taken in large doses. In addition, consult your physician if you experience urinary pain when taking supplements containing mega-doses of riboflavin, since this may indicate that your bladder lining is damaged -- a condition called interstitial cystitis.
Vitamin B-complex supplements include all the B vitamins including riboflavin, also called vitamin B-2. Riboflavin causes urine to turn bright yellow when you ingest it in excess. Your body requires riboflavin to break down carbohydrates, proteins and fats and release energy from those nutrients in all of your bodyБs cells. It assists with growth and production of red blood cells. Riboflavin also enables your body to use oxygen. Most people in the U. S. meet or exceed riboflavin recommendations, which vary from 0. 3 mg per day to 1. 1 mg per day, depending on age and gender, according to MedlinePlus. Riboflavin occurs in milk and dairy products, whole grains and dark green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, turnip greens, asparagus and spinach.

Eggs, lean meats, nuts and legumes also provide riboflavin. Breads and cereals may also be fortified with added riboflavin. Although milk and liver are the richest sources of riboflavin, nutritional yeast, dark green vegetables and whole or enriched grains provide an ample source for vegans who do not consume dairy products or meat. Food processing may destroy some vitamins, but little riboflavin is lost during ordinary cooking because riboflavin is stable to heat. Ultraviolet light and irradiation destroy riboflavin, so milk is sold in cardboard or other opaque containers. Precautions must be taken when adding vitamin D to milk by irradiation, according to Eleanor Whitney, Ph. D. , and Sharon Rolfes, M. S. , R. D. , authors of БUnderstanding Nutrition. Б The vitamin B complex includes thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, biotin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, folic acid and vitamin B-12. Vitamin and mineral supplements may be appropriate in some circumstances, such as to correct overt deficiencies and reduce the risk of certain diseases.

At high or therapeutic doses, a supplement acts as a drug; use it only with the recommendation of your physician or registered dietitian. More than half of the U. S. population takes vitamin and mineral supplements regularly, and 1 in 5 people take a multinutrient supplement daily, as reported by Whitney and Rolfes. B vitamins are water-soluble and move directly into the blood, where they travel freely throughout the body. Your kidneys detect excess riboflavin, which is excreted in the urine. This excess riboflavin, especially when you consume it in large doses, causes the urine to take on a characteristic bright yellow color. This expected result is no cause for alarm, according to MayoClinic. com. Consult your health care professional if you notice other unusual effects. Lack of riboflavin causes inflammation of membranes of the mouth, eyes, skin and gastrointestinal tract. Itching and burning eyes, sensitivity to light, reddening of your corneas, sore tongue, and itching or peeling skin and cracks in the corners of your mouth may occur. Your doctor or registered dietitian may recommend riboflavin.

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