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Sally-Ann Creed an­swers this and other reader ques­tions

Q: My urine varies in colour from time to time. Why is this? A: Food, cer­tain sweets, med­i­ca­tions, and var­i­ous bod­ily disor­ders can change the colour of your urine but a light-yel­low colour, like straw, is the most ‘nor­mal’ colour. Urochrome, the end prod­uct of haemoglobin break­down, gives it this colour. If you’re not drink­ing enough wa­ter the tone can deepen to a much darker yel­low but it will re­turn to nor­mal af­ter drink­ing just one glass of wa­ter.

War­farin, an an­ti­co­ag­u­lant, or drugs that treat a uri­nary tract in­fec­tion (UTI) could cause very or­ange urine. Drink­ing ex­ces­sive quan­ti­ties of car­rot juice tints your urine or­ange too, as does tak­ing high doses of vi­ta­min C. If you’re tak­ing a B com­plex mul­ti­vi­ta­min or vi­ta­min B2 you may no­tice that your urine is al­most neon yel­low but there’s no need to panic.

A brown colour could be due to liver is­sues, so tell your doc­tor if it per­sists. Bile can en­ter the urine – when you’re jaun­diced, for ex­am­ple – and tint it brown, dark yel­low or dark or­ange. Sev­eral med­i­ca­tions, in­clud­ing many au­toim­mune-mod­u­lat­ing drugs, mus­cle re­lax­ants, malaria drugs, and lax­a­tives such as cas­cara sagrada (senna), can cause this dark colour too. This should nor­malise as the sub­stance leaves the sys­tem.

A deep golden-brown or a dark, red­dish-brown colour could sig­nify rhab­domy­ol­y­sis, a type of haemolytic anaemia where the red blood cells are break­ing down. If you see this colour and you’re on statins, see your doc­tor im­me­di­ately.

Treat black urine as an emer­gency; it could sig­nify haemoglobin­uria (rapid break­down of red cells), which can hap­pen with melanoma.

It’s even pos­si­ble for your urine to be green! If you’ve eaten as­para­gus, which also pro­duces an odd odour, that’s nor­mal but a dark, cloudy, yel­low-green colour may in­di­cate a UTI or blad­der in­fec­tion. Seda­tives used in surgery can also pro­duce this colour, as can tak­ing acid-reflux drugs or nau­sea med­i­ca­tion.

Can you imag­ine blue urine? Some drugs cause this colour­ing. In chil­dren, a rare ge­netic dis­or­der known as blue di­a­per syn­drome can do the same. There’s also purple urine, which some­times hap­pens if bac­te­ria in the urine com­bine with the pig­ment in the plas­tic of a catheter, caus­ing an in­fec­tion. It’s eas­ily treated with a change of catheter and per­haps an­tibi­otics.

Red or pink urine can make you think you’re bleed­ing to death, and blood in the urine is to be seen to im­me­di­ately, but if it’s a pink tint, con­sider whether you’ve eaten beet­root, or a beet smoothie, or had a B12 shot. Even rhubarb may pro­duce a pink­ish colour for a few hours, but you could also have a blad­der or kid­ney in­fec­tion, so if it doesn’t go away, get it checked out. Lastly, a white, milky colour may sig­nify kid­ney stones or ex­cess cal­cium ex­cre­tion. It may also be an in­fec­tion so, if in doubt, see your doc­tor.

‘For many peo­ple, fol­low­ing an LCHF re­lieves gout. Mine has flared up. Why?'

Q: For many peo­ple, fol­low­ing an LCHF diet re­lieves gout. Mine has flared up. Why? A: This can hap­pen when you be­gin an LCHF reg­i­men. In some cases it is a cleans­ing/de­tox re­ac­tion. Al­most ev­ery­one I’ve spo­ken to has one at­tack and then never again – let’s hope this is your ex­pe­ri­ence! Here is what you can do to pre­vent it or to al­le­vi­ate it if it strikes again: 1. Un­for­tu­nately, al­co­hol is a well-known trig­ger best avoided. 2. Avoid eat­ing too much meat. Meat is very nu­tri­tious but make sure it’s pas­ture fed and don’t over­dose on it! A palm-sized piece at each meal is enough to keep you sat­is­fied and healthy. 3. Eat­ing a cup of tart fresh cher­ries daily will ban­ish this prob­lem. Noth­ing is as ef­fec­tive. We aren’t meant to be eat­ing lots of fruit on this pro­gramme but fresh cher­ries (not tinned) are a very pow­er­ful anti-in­flam­ma­tory and have anal­gesic prop­er­ties too. An­tho­cyanin, the flavonoid that gives the cher­ries their red colour, is the ac­tive in­gre­di­ent that works the magic. So eat them un­til the symp­toms pass. 4. Ap­ple cider vine­gar breaks up uric acid crys­tals, re­mov­ing them from the joints. It also re­duces swelling and in­flam­ma­tion, some­times within hours! Take 2–3 ta­ble­spoons in a glass of wa­ter up to 3 times a day. 5. Drink lots of wa­ter as this helps to flush out uric acid.

Q: I’ve read quite a few ar­ti­cles that warn against eat­ing red meat. What is your view? A: The red meat scare is gen­er­ally around poor qual­ity meat, of­ten cooked in dan­ger­ous seed oils, and burned to a cin­der. Bear in mind that most of the stud­ies were done pri­mar­ily on pro­cessed meat, which bears no re­sem­blance to fresh meat. I would cer­tainly avoid pro­cessed meat as it houses a plethora of chem­i­cals and preser­va­tives – many of which have been shown to be car­cino­genic – to keep it sta­ble on the shelf. Avoid sausages if you don’t have a good butcher who can as­sure you of ev­ery sin­gle in­gre­di­ent, as they may con­tain un­de­sir­able chem­i­cals and preser­va­tives plus un­wanted ad­di­tives (such as bread, rusk, soya). And ba­con? Ba­con with­out ni­trates and ni­trites does ex­ist – you just need to find it.

An­i­mal pro­tein is an ex­tremely rich source of energy and es­sen­tial nu­tri­ents – richer than any other food source – and an­i­mal pro­tein is the only place you will find es­sen­tial vi­ta­min B12 but avoid the iffy stuff and stick to healthy, hu­manely raised meats in their nat­u­ral form, cooked from scratch. Fi­nally, don’t just eat one kind of meat day in and day out; in­clude lamb, beef, pork, game, fish, chicken, duck and of­fal.

Ba­con with­out ni­trates and ni­trites does ex­ist – you just need to find it.

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