Why is Your Pee Yellow?

We all pee every day, some more than others. Without it, you would die. Yet, many of us are surprisingly undereducated about our own urine.

What is pee?

Urination is one of the human body’s main methods of waste disposal. Our blood is constantly being purified in the kidneys, which remove salts, potassium, and other chemicals the body doesn’t need. Along with other waste from various bodily functions, these elements are mixed into water to make urine. Urine flows into the bladder, which fills up gradually. When the bladder reaches its capacity, it sends a message to the brain signaling the need to clear itself. You willfully send a message to your brain when you are ready to pee, which activates the bladder, sending urine to the urethra and out of the body.

Why is pee yellow?

Urine is yellow because of the chemical urobilin, a waste product of the human body. When your body is fully hydrated, urobilin is less apparent because it comes out in a very diluted state. However, when your body is less than optimally hydrated (ex. after periods of sleep or heavy sweating) urobilin is more concentrated and visually a deeper hue of yellow.

In case you were wondering, it’s also possible to experience different colors of pee. If you’ve recently consumed a lot of beets, your pee can turn red. An additive to several prescription medicines, “methylene blue,” can make urine blue-colored. A generous helping of asparagus is known to make subsequent urinations especially fragrant.

If your urine is blood red, black or brown, see a medical professional immediately. You could be in need of medical attention.

Is pee potable?

Technically, yes. While drinking urine is not a healthy practice – it IS a waste product – urine is not toxic and can be consumed – presumably, in a life-threatening situation.

Why is it called “pee”?

The original name for the unique liquid is “urine” derived from the Norse word “ur,” meaning, “rain.” Piss, a later nickname, was eventually shortened into the letter “P” by prudish parents in the 18th century.