Can Cranberry Pills Turn Your Urine Red?

Medically Reviewed on 11/3/2022
Cranberry Pills
Irregular urine color can be an indicator of a dangerous medical issue; however, certain foods or medications may change your urine color too.

No, there is no scientific evidence to prove that taking cranberry pills will result in red urine.

Since ancient times, people have used cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) as both food and medicine.

  • Native Americans in North America used this plant, which is native to that continent, to heal kidney and bladder ailments.
  • Early English immigrants discovered the benefits of using the berry both raw and cooked for various ailments, such as appetite loss, stomach issues, blood disorders, and scurvy (caused by inadequate vitamin C intake).

What are the side effects of taking cranberry pills?

If you experience the following side effects, you should report to your healthcare provider, as soon as possible:

4 health benefits of cranberry pills

  1. Prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs):
    • According to several studies, cranberries can help prevent UTIs of the bladder and urethra (the tube that drains urine from the bladder), especially in women who frequently have UTIs. Cranberry juice was reported to be more effective than a placebo at reducing the number of bacteria in elderly women's bladders. 
    • Another study reported that taking cranberry capsules reduced the frequency of UTIs in younger women with a history of recurrent infections when compared to taking a placebo. However, research suggests that once you have a UTI, cranberry does not help. This is because it prevents bacteria from adhering to the urinary system. But when the bacteria have already attached, it is less effective. 
    • Cranberry is, therefore, more effective at avoiding UTIs than at curing them. UTIs should be treated with conventional antibiotics prescribed by a doctor.
  2. Have anti-inflammatory effects:
    • According to a study that appeared in the journal Advances in Nutrition in July 2016, the polyphenol concentration of cranberries gives the fruit antifungal, antimicrobial, and antiviral characteristics.
    • A subgroup of flavonoids called flavanols, which are found in cranberries, are plant-based substances well-known for their antioxidant properties. Their presence in cranberries aids in the prevention of inflammation and the spread of bacteria in the body.
  3. Better heart health:
    • Cranberry supplements are beneficial to your heart.
    • According to a short study of 56 participants conducted in May 2016 by the Agricultural Research Service, drinking cranberry juice twice daily lowers the risk of not just diabetes but also cardiovascular diseases, including a lower incidence of stroke.
  4. Help prevent ulcers:
    • According to two studies, cranberries may also protect the stomach walls from being colonized by the Helicobacter pylori bacterium, which is known to cause stomach ulcers. Cranberries may, therefore, help avoid stomach ulcers.


Urinary Incontinence in Women: Types, Causes, and Treatments for Bladder Control See Slideshow

When does the color of the urine change to red?

Generally, urine has a pale-yellow hue due to the presence of urochrome, one of the byproducts of hemoglobin breakdown. Sometimes, the color of the urine changes dramatically. It can be worrisome to see red or orange instead of the typical yellow, particularly if other symptoms, such as a burning sensation or discomfort when urinating, are present.

Irregular urine color can be an early indicator of a dangerous medical issue. However, there is no need to panic much because the meals you eat or the drugs you take may also cause your urine to change color because of harmless reasons. Furthermore, hues other than red and orange are relatively uncommon.

Red urine can range in color from pink to very dark red. The color of the urine may turn red because of the following conditions:

  • Hematuria (the presence of blood in the urine) can be determined by a quick test. Myoglobin, an oxygen-binding protein present in muscle cells, which is comparable to hemoglobin in red blood cells, can also cause urine to turn red.
  • Blood can enter the urine due to various conditions affecting the urinary system, which includes the bladder, urethra, two kidneys, and ureters. The list includes benign prostatic hyperplasia in men, kidney stones, bladder infections, or cancer.
  • Urine may also become red after strenuous exercise. Hemoglobin can be produced by damaged blood cells or red blood cells that leak into the urine. Muscle cells degrade after vigorous activity, and in some individuals, myoglobin levels are high enough to cause crimson urine.
  • Hematuria can be caused by inherited diseases including sickle cell anemia and thalassemia, which impair hemoglobin and red blood cells. Urine can also appear red or brown due to a rare group of illnesses known as porphyrias.
  • Beeturia, a harmless reason for red urine, can occur after eating beets. Some individuals, particularly those with little stomach acid, are unable to break down the betanin pigment found in beets. The pigment enters the bloodstream after being absorbed from the gut and is then eliminated by the kidneys. Beeturia is more likely to occur in iron-deficient individuals and those who consume beets with foods rich in oxalate.
Medically Reviewed on 11/3/2022
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