Whether you have been juicing for awhile or are newer to juicing and are looking to juice beets, you have probably come across a lot of sites talking about the side effects of beet juice. If I hadn’t already been drinking home made beet juice way before I read all of the claims made about it, I may have been scared half to death and never tried beets at all!
The interesting thing about beets is that some people experience some side effects while other people do not. I have never experienced any negative side effect from drinking beet juice, and I have consumed plenty of it. In fact, if you haven’t already, you should read the last article I wrote where I covered how much beet juice is safe to drink each day. In that article I also did a small experiment of my own where I drank straight undiluted home made beet juice for three days in a row with no side effects.
I want to say again this doesn’t mean that some people don’t experience side effects from drinking beet juice. The truth is some people do. Where everything gets murky, is when we start trying to distinguish which side effects are real and which ones are not but have been repeated so many times that people believe them to be facts.
I have dug up many of the claims made about the side effects of beet juice and have done a whole lot of research to find out which ones may be facts, which ones are myths, and which ones the jury is still out on. Come take the journey with me, and let’s discover the facts and myths about the side effects of beet juice!
Ok, let’s start with the biggest and probably the easiest one to make a decision about.
Will Drinking Beet Juice and Especially Drinking Beet Juice Straight Make You Sick?
Ok, this one is interesting. I have never personally gotten sick from drinking beet juice, and I have drank a lot of it. But yes, many people have reported getting sick from drinking beet juice. Some of their symptoms have included, nausea, dizziness, and vomiting. They haven’t remained sick for a period of time longer than a few hours for the most part, so we are really talking about getting sick temporarily.
Since I started looking into beet juice, I have already spoken with quite a few people that have gotten sick from drinking it. Actually, right before I started writing this paragraph, right now, I corresponded with someone by email who cannot drink beet juice. She said she has tried to drink it more than once and even just a sliver of it will get her vomiting. She also said she does just fine with almost all of the other different types of vegetable and fruit juices she has tried.
Since she has been juicing before this and continues to juice, this can’t be written off as a problem that is just happening with beginning juicers. I do have to say that I have found that many of the people that do get sick from beet juice are also be new to juicing, but this is not the case every time. Most of the people that get sick say that it is doesn’t matter whether they drink it mixed with another juice or not but some of them have said that this does help.
People have come up with quite a few different reasons why some people might get sick as one of the side effects of beet juice and these reasons include that beets are highly detoxifying so it is a reaction from detox overload, that maybe the beet itself is dirty or is contaminated in some other way (I wondered about this because it is a root vegetable that grows inside of the ground. But what about carrots, turnips, or other root vegetables?) , and that it might be a side effect of the beet stimulating bile in our body.
Getting Sick Due To Detoxification
It is possible that some people get sick because of the detoxifying effects of beet juice. The only issue I have with this is that some people get sick and start vomiting immediately which to me does not connect with a possible detox. I am not saying that beet juice isn’t good for detoxification, because it most definitely is, but I am saying that it is unlikely that it is the cause for those that get sick immediately after consuming it. Detox is a process that happens over time and although there are some people that experience some of the symptoms earlier, experiencing them immediately just doesn’t add up.
Does this write it off as a possibility? No, I don’t think it does completely, and it could be a possibility why some people get sick just not those who get sick immediately after drinking beet juice.
Dirty Beets Making People Sick?
It is also possible that something on the beet is what is making some people sick. I am not saying this is definitely what is happening, but I don’t think we can rule this out altogether. To remedy this possibility it is a good idea to clean our beets well before juicing them. I wanted to recommend two ways to clean your beets thoroughly. I did both of these one day when I found some of my beets had a good amount of dirt and who knows what else caked on them. Since a lot of vegetables and fruits are grown using manure, it is a good idea to clean some of them more than others.
The first way is to soak your beets in a mixture of white vinegar and water. I usually just pour a bunch of white vinegar into a large bowl of water and then soak my beets in it, but if you want an exact ratio, it would be a good idea to at least add 1 part vinegar to every 10 parts of water. You can read more about this method of cleaning your produce and other methods right here.
The second is to place your beet or beets into a bowl. If you have a lot of beets, find a big bowl! Then pour hydrogen peroxide over them, and make sure that you cover as much of each beet with it. Roll your beet or beets around the solution in the bowl so that even more of it gets on them. Let this sit for a minute or two and then rinse your beet or beets off VERY well. Drinking a little hydrogen peroxide won’t kill you, but it is a good idea to rinse your beets off very well so that most of what you are drinking in your juice is beet juice. 🙂
I use the vinegar solution much more than the hydrogen peroxide. In fact, I have only used hydrogen peroxide a few times to clean my vegetables or fruits; however, if you do believe that the cleanliness of your beets could be an issue, then by all means go for it! Just remember, you do not need to use hydrogen peroxide on everything you juice.
Is It Increased Bile Flow From Beets That Makes You Nauseous and Vomit?
From what I have found beet juice actually does promote bile flow. Dr. David Willams recommends beets for this very purpose in this article to help treat a bad gallbladder. Dr. James Howenstine, MD, also wrote an article where he mentioned that decreased bile flow could be an issue of those with toxic livers and stated that beets increase bile flow as well as thin it out. I have found many others who recommend beet juice for the same purpose.
The issue with this being related to vomiting is that bile is not always present in vomit and if it is, this may indicate a person has other health issues. People with Bile Reflux Disease, not to be confused with Acid Reflux, do have issues that include vomiting, but not everyone who gets sick from beet juice has this condition. Since increased bile does not always lead to vomiting, this reason for getting sick is really just a slight possibility but can’t be written off altogether.
Do some people get sick from beet juice and have symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, and/or vomiting? Yes they do. This doesn’t mean everyone will get sick. Like I said I have never gotten sick from it and know many others who haven’t either.
So is it a fact that people get sick from drinking beet juice? Yes it it is a fact that some people do get sick from drinking beet juice. It is also a fact that many people do not.
Does mixing it with other juice or drinking it alone seem to matter? I have found this statement all over the place but have actually only found a few people who say this has been their experience. Most people that do get sick from beet juice say it doesn’t matter how they drink it.
Can Beet Juice Temporarily Paralyze The Vocal Chords?
I know, really? I couldn’t believe this one when I heard it either. There are a whole lot of people repeating that, “one of the side effects of beet juice is that it can temporarily paralyze the vocal chords.” None of them repeating this have actually experienced it, though, they just repeat the claim.
This is a pretty serious claim and one that I dug deeply into.
After searching for quite awhile, I found nothing solid that indicates beet juice could temporarily paralyze the vocal chords. Not one study or case of this is documented anywhere. I didn’t even find one person claiming that it happened to them in detail. A few people said they felt like something may of happened but it seemed to be mainly after they read one of the articles that repeats almost verbatim the same claim.
In the end what I mainly did find were a lot of people repeating that they heard it can do this but a lot of them stating it as if it were a fact.
After digging up even more, I found that the original source of this claim comes from two places. One supposedly comes from the website, The Cancer Nutrition Center and although it is mentioned as a source for this information all over the internet, I could not find one of these mentions that linked to the article where it was written. If someone else can find the actual article, please feel free to link it in the comment section below!
I know, “The Cancer Nutrition Center” sounds pretty official doesn’t it? It is probably an organization or collective of health professionals or doctors, right? Something that was said to come from a source such as the Cancer Nutrition Center must be true?
Well that is the thing about the internet, anything can be made to sound like it comes from an organization or official source. The Cancer Nutrition Center is really a website ran by one person. That person is Carolyn Katzin who does happen to be a nutritionist, which is great, and I am not doubting that she may know something about the subject at hand, but I would be curious to see where the original info for this came from or if it was hearsay from the beginning. After searching a whole lot for the origins of this claim, I am even curious if she perhaps got the information from another source, maybe this one below?
The second original source comes from something that Jay Kordich wrote in his book, The Juiceman’s Power of Juicing. He claimed that on top of the possibility of beet juice temporarily paralyzing the vocal chords, it can also cause people to break out in hives, have an increased heart rate, and cause alternating chills and fever.
To give you a little background, Jay is known by some as “The father of juicing,” and he has been juicing for a very long time. If you have been juicing for awhile, you very likely may know who he is. That doesn’t mean he must be right about every single thing he says, but I at least wanted to give him credit where credit was due.
I am honestly wondering if this “temporary paralysis of the vocal chords” originated from one person having some kind of allergic reaction to beet juice, and maybe Jay was present so he decided to add this warning, just to be safe? The other symptoms mentioned sure sound like some kind of allergic reaction, but that is just one guess. I am not saying that is definitely what happened.
Again, what I can definitely tell you is that I searched and searched and have not been able to find one case where there was any proof of this happening. Not one single one.
This seriously made me wonder if one of these two got their information from the other and due to the power of the internet the myth has spread. Since the source of this claim comes from only two people, I would again personally tend to believe that if this ever happened it came from some kind of allergic reaction. I do not know this for %100 to be sure, so you can take it for what it is.
What I do know is that both Jay Kordich and, according to sources, Carolyn Katzin of The Cancer Nutrition Center have said that you can avoid this side effect altogether by simply mixing your beet juice with other juices. I want to reiterate that myself and many other people have drunk beet juice by itself and have never experienced anything like this.
Can beet juice temporarily paralyze the vocal chords? Fact or Myth? The jury is out on this one, but I personally am leaning toward it being a myth or a rare allergic reaction that someone may have had. I do stress the word may, because I have not found one solid mention of it actually happening to someone.
Can Beet Juice Cause Hives, Increased Heart Beat, or Alternating Chills and Fever?
I have to say again right from the start that these symptoms sound an awful lot like some kind of allergic reaction. When I tried to find if anyone had experienced any of these, all I found was the same kind of thing I did above. A plethora of sites and people who repeated almost verbatim the same thing. This repetitious phrase or paraphrase, they all repeated, came from the same source I mentioned previously; Jay Kordich’s book “The Juiceman’s Power Of Juicing.”
Fact or Myth? Since I could not find anyone who has experienced these symptoms, I have to say that the jury is out on these. I am again leaning toward these being a myth or a rare allergic reaction that either one or a few people experienced. Maybe Jay Kordich wanted to be all-inclusive and mention it? You know, just in case others may experience it?
The next one isn’t really a horrible side effect, and in fact isn’t really harmful at all, but I thought it worthy to mention.
Will My Urine Or Poop Turn Red?
This one was easy to get to the bottom of. The answer is that around 10%-15% of people who drink beet juice will have this happen. This is actually referred to as “beeturia” and is said to be completely harmless. Studies have found that beeturia is more common among those with an iron deficiency but that not everyone who has experienced beeturia is iron deficient. The last time I drank beet juice straight I didn’t experience this at all. Maybe I should feel good about this?
I do want to mention that an acquaintance of mine told me that they experience this. I asked them just out of curiosity if they happened to have an iron deficiency? They said it was interesting I asked that, because they do. They are taking an iron supplement, actually. I found this very interesting and thought it would be good to include here, because it might be a good idea for people who do have this happen to see if they have an iron deficiency. You could really improve your health by knowing this.
Fact or Myth? Easy. This is a fact. But only a percentage of people will experience this harmless occurrence. Note: They usually will turn more of a reddish/pink or magenta color, but people have explained it using many different shades of red, so it could be different for different people.
Can Beet Juice Cause Diarrhea?
Oh boy, more discussion about our bodily functions!
Ok, from everything I have read, and the different people I have talked to, I have to say that this does happen sometimes with some people. Some people never experience this at all and again I have never experienced this as a side effect of beet juice. It is said that beet juice is good for constipation and that the same benefit it has on constipation can be the same thing that causes diarrhea in some.
Some people have said that drinking it undiluted makes it more possible to cause diarrhea, but there is no evidence supporting this. I guess it goes to follow by reasoning that if drinking beet juice mixed with another juice caused someone to have diarrhea, then drinking a more concentrated dose of it would make it worst.
Can Beet Juice Cause Diarrhea? Fact or Myth? I think we can safely say this one is a fact. It won’t cause it in everyone, but it can cause it with some people. Going slow with beet juice as a beginner may be a good idea if you are prone to diarrhea.
Can Beet Juice Be Problems For People Who Are Prone To Kidney Or Gall Stones?
Beet juice is high in oxalates which are otherwise known as oxalic acid. For this reason it has been said to present an issue for those who are prone to kidney and gall stones. Oxalic acid binds with calcium and other minerals to form rock or crystal like structures which are exactly what kidney and gall stones are made of. I did find some information that says it has never been shown in a study to be linked to an increase in kidney or gall stones. In this article, Victoria Boutenko cites studies that show there is not enough conclusive evidence to demonstrate the truth of this claim.
I have not found a study that conclusively links oxalates from food sources to an increase in kidney or gall stones, nor have I found a study that shows it is dangerous to those who have issues with these; however, since a lot of kidney and gall stones are made up of oxalate-mineral combinations, this is definitely a possibility.
If you have never had an issue with kidney or gall stones, it has been stated many times that you do not need to worry about this issue.
Fact or Myth? I am going to have to say that the jury is undecided about this one. It looks like there are some pretty good arguments in favor of beet juice being a problem for people with kidney or gall stone issues, but there is no solid evidence that I have seen.
My advice would be to consider going easy on beet juice if you do have these kinds of issues. The sage advice from many being “moderation is the key to good health” may hold true in this case.
After writing this, I really feel like I have learned a whole lot about beet juice and its possible side effects. I also learned a lot about the power of people repeating claims without really looking into them too much themselves. All of these sites repeating the same thing over and over without searching just a little bit more to validate the truth of them has created this strange cloud of fear and confusion surrounding beet juice.
There is some truth to some of these claims but some of them just seem to be unfounded or possibly even based on a rare allergic reaction.
I do want to say that If you have experienced getting sick with nausea, dizziness, and vomiting from beet juice, know that you are not alone. As I have stated several times, I and many others have never had a problem at all with beet juice, and I have consumed a lot of it, but this doesn’t mean that there are those who do not have issues.
I have read about and spoke to many people who have had these issues, and I would like to suggest to anyone who is juicing beets for the first time to start slowly by adding a small amount of it to your other juice. This would be a good way to see if you might have an issue with it without drinking a load of it only to find out you do.
If you have an issue with beet juice, see if you can still handle eating beets. Many of the people I have spoken to that have an issue with the juice have no issues with eating beets whatsoever.
It can be worth it to try as beets and beet juice have a whole lot of amazing health benefits. You can read more about those benefits here!
If you are interested in juicing beets and would like some beet juice recipes, click this link here.
Also if you are newer to juicing and want to learn more about juicing in general, you should really check out our juicing for beginners page. It contains a whole lot of information to get you started on the right foot.
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