How can you track your hydration level?
Assessing hydration through Urine Color
An 8-point urine color scale was developed by Pr. Lawrence Armstrong, and validated for hydration monitoring in healthy adults¹, children² and pregnant and breastfeeding women³.
Assessing hydration can be done simply by comparing urine color to the urine color chart. Pale yellow, or “straw-colored” urine means hydration is optimal. On the other hand, darker urine means one may not be drinking enough. The darker the urine, the more risk there is to be dehydrated!
Note that urine color may be influenced by the content of diet or medical treatments.
The urine color chart adapted for 3 key targets
Specific urine color charts have been designed for adults, children and pregnant and breastfeeding women, incorporating the 8-point urine color scale.
For children³ and pregnant and breastfeeding women⁴, the understanding and appreciation of the urine color chart were validated through specific studies.
The importance of maintaining a proper water balance
Low fluid intake or low urine volume are associated with negative health outcomes such as a decline in kidney function, kidney stones recurrence, development of hyperglycemia, and prevalence of some components of the metabolic syndrome.
There is a need to maintain a proper water balance, whatever the age and stage of life.
Therefore, practical tools should be proposed to the general population to assess their hydration in daily living conditions.
Origins of the 8-point urine color scale
Prof. Armstrong came up with the idea of a urine color scale in 1988, at the time of a field study during which individuals exercised heavily in very hot weather. By creating a pyramid of the urine samples collected then, Prof. Armstrong realized that the color of urine could be a reflection of one’s hydration.
For more information about Prof. Lawrence Armstrong and the Urine Colour Chart visit hydrationcheck.com.
- Armstrong, L.E., et al., Urinary indices during dehydration, exercise, and rehydration. Int J Sport Nutr, 1998. 8(4): p. 345-55.
- Kavouras, S.A., et al., Validation of a urine color scale for assessment of urine osmolality in healthy children. Eur J Nutr, 2016. 55(3): p. 907-15.
- Guelinckx, I., et al., Assessing Hydration in Children: From Science to Practice. Ann Nutr Metab, 2015. 66 Suppl 3: p. 5-9.
- Rigaud, M., et al., Assessing a Tool for Self-Monitoring Hydration Using Urine Color in Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women: A Cross-Sectional, Online Survey. Ann Nutr Metab, 2017. 70 Suppl 1: p. 23-29.
- McKenzie AL, Muñoz CX, Ellis LA, Perrier ET, Guelinckx I, Klein A, et al: Urine color as an indicator of urine concentration in pregnant and lactating women. Eur J Nutr 2017; 56: 355–362.