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Friday, September 23, 2005 Bookmark Now! | Email to a friend  

Why is our pee sometimes clear and sometimes yellow?

The color of pee is caused by bile, a chemical the liver produces to break up fat. When our bodies break down bile, the pigment urochrome turns pee yellow. The lighter the color, the more liquid has watered it down.

In fact, you can easily determine if you're dehydrated from the color of your urine. Dark yellow is a symptom of moderate dehydration and is a sign that you should drink fluids right away. However, taking vitamin supplements can also cause pee to appear yellow.

Believe it or not, urine's yellow color was once believed to come from gold. Long ago, alchemists attempted to extract gold from pee. Needless to say, they were unsuccessful. However, in 1669, an alchemist named Hennig Brand discovered phosphorus while engaged in the undertaking. Among other things, this find helped to spark the creation of matches.

You may have asked this question lightheartedly, but for hikers and parents of small children, understanding the significance is important for health and safety.

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