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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Does hot tea dehydrate? 6 Answers
Electrolyte balance while NOT training 3 Answers
Thirsty all the time on Paleo diet 13 Answers