Myoglobin - a single-chain, globular, oxygen-binding protein found in the muscle tissue, made up of amino-acids. This protein is usually found in the heart and skeletal muscles. Myoglobin is a protein that binds iron and oxygen. If you are aware of hemoglobin, it does the same function in the blood as Myoglobin does in the muscles, namely binding the oxygen and iron molecules.

Myoglobin is commonly found in muscle and forms pigments responsible for making meat red. The color that meat takes is partly determined by the charge of the iron atom in myoglobin and the oxygen attached to it. Tests for heightened myoglobin can show damaged muscle.

It combines with oxygen to form oxymyoglobin. This acts as a store of oxygen that can be used during strenuous exercise. This source of oxygen seems to be particularly important during intermittent bursts of activity.

At times, high levels of myoglobin can redden the color of urine and create the appearance of orange urine, making it appear as though there is blood in the urine. Tests to show the red color of urine is myoglobin:

Learn more about different types of urine tests.

Red Urine From Myoglobin During Exercise

When muscle are over-exercised, the body begins to use its myoglobin stores for energy and in oxygen production since chemically, myoglobin has oxygen attached to it. This helps the muscles maintain a high level of activity for a longer period of time. Marathon runners commonly experience red urine and myoglobin is part of the reason why. If the myoglobin in muscle cells is released into the bloodstream, the kidneys help remove myoglobin out of the body via urine. Once mixed with the rest of the urine, myoglobin makes the urine appear more red than it normally is. Keep in mind that too much exercise and large amounts of myoglobin can damage the kidneys and break down into toxic compounds, causing kidney failure. Too much exercise can be very tough on your body so be careful.

Myoglobin and Proteinuria

Since Myoglobin is a protein, if it is found in urine, it is one of the conditions under the general umbrella of proteinuria, which is the condition of finding protein in pee. While some protein can be found in urine from time to time, it generally means that some metabolic process is off. Usually a symptom of proteinuria is cloudy or murky urine, but in case of Myoglobin in pee, the urine usually turns red and is often mistaken for blood.

Seeking Diagnosis in Case of Red Urine

In case you do see red urine during micturition (peeing), as you may be beginning to understand, there is a very wide range of reasons for possible occurrences of red and bloody looking pee. While it might be very tempting to do, you should not jump to any conclusions. To get a diagnosis you can take an over the counter urine test, or see a doctor who is qualified to help you make the right diagnosis why your urine may be red-looking. Excess myoglobin in pee is just one possible reason why that may be the case. The doctor will probably send you to take a urine test which will be examined in a lab. He is she will also ask you about your lifestyle, alcohol or drug use, exercise schedule, and personal and family medical history. After that and a number of other standard questions and tests, the doctor will most likely be in a good position to make a proper diagnosis of the underlying cause of your red urine.

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