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April 1969

Beeturia: A Sign of Iron Deficiency

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia. Dr. Oski is a recipient of the Public Health Service Research Career Development Award.

Am J Dis Child. 1969;117(4):424-426. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1969.02100030426006

BEETURIA is a term applied to the deep red or pink coloration of urine which may occur after the ingestion of beetroot. The color is due to the presence of betanin, a red pigment which is chemically different from the anthocyanins, the reddish violet pigments of most plant species. Beeturia is often misinterpreted as hematuria by the unsuspecting.

Beeturia has repeatedly been noted in a small percentage of the population. It has variously been attributed to a genetic trait1 or to beet allergy.2 Watson and associates3 were the first to observe that it occurred with increased frequency among adults with iron deficiency. Because beeturia is not an uncommon pediatric problem, its relation to iron deficiency in children was studied.

Materials and Methods  Patients selected for study were in-patients on the pediatric ward of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. All patients at the time of study

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