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Is It Safe To Drink Urine?

The practice of drinking urine is written in the books - yes, it does go way back. Urophagia is the consumption of urine and is something that has been practised n several ancient cultures for various health, healing, and cosmetic purposes [1][2]. And it is not negated, as urine drinking is still practised.

Drinking urine is also termed as urine therapy or urotherapy [3]. Looking at the history of the practice of drinking urine for health purposes, it can be dated back to ancient Rome, Greece, and Egypt, where urine was allegedly used in the treatment of acne to cancer [4].

Even today, several outlets claim that drinking urine can have a positive effect on your health. So, let's explore the supposed benefits of drinking urine and risks.

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Is Drinking Urine Good For Your Health?

Firstly, let's take a look at what urine is composed of. Urine is the waste fluid that is not required by your body [5]. The kidneys remove the excess water and cellular byproducts from the bloodstream, which is passed through the bladder as urine.

About 95 per cent of urine is water, and the rest is ammonia, salt, electrolytes (sodium), phosphate, creatinine (a waste product of muscle breakdown) and byproducts produced during normal bodily functions [6]. The urine exits your body through a small tube called the urethra, which is home to some types of bacteria that can contaminate urine as it exits the body [7].

What Is Low Urine Output (Oliguria)?

So, are there really any benefits to drinking urine? Let's take a look.

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What are the alleged benefits of urine?

There are no scientific proofs but there are claims that urine therapy or drinking urine can help treat several health conditions such as the following [8]:

  • Acne
  • Cancer
  • Allergies
  • Infections
  • Heart problems
  • Stuffy nose
  • Wounds
  • Rash and other skin problems
  • Bee stings

British naturopath John Armstrong claimed that drinking urine was the perfect solution to several health problems [9], which seem to have gained the support of natural health advocates, who have recently claimed that drinking urine can help with the following:

  • Improves eyesight
  • Heals mouth ulcers
  • A good source of lost nutrients
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Supports thyroid health

There are no clear health benefits associated with drinking urine - it is something that your body does not require. Researchers have also found very small quantities of hormones, vitamins, and antibodies in urine, but that DOES NOT state that these elements are present in large enough quantities to improve one's health in any way [10].

What Is Cloudy Urine?

There have been reports that in Nigeria, urine therapy is still in use, where it is used as a home remedy for children with seizures [11].

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What are the risks and dangers associated with drinking urine?

Is urine sterile? No. Is urine safe to be consumed? No; while drinking a little bit of your own urine PROBABLY will not hurt you, it is definitely not as safe as a glass of water. Drinking urine, especially on a regular basis can cause the following health problems:

  • Infections: As urine is not sterile, it contains bacteria, some even antibiotic-resistant such as Salmonella, Pseudomonas, Shigella, Escherichia coli, or E. coli and Staphylococcus can cause infections and also increase the risk of infections [12].
  • Dehydration: Urine is a diuretic, that is, it can increase a person's risk of dehydration because the salt in urine tends to reduce the amount of usable water in the body [13].
  • Exposure to chemicals in the urine.
  • Irritation of wounds in the mouth or throat.
  • Drinking urine brings back the concentrated waste products into your system.
  • An individual if on any medication drinks urine, it could alter the dose of a medication.

Note: Health experts strongly suggest against drinking urine (no kidding!).

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On A Final Note…

Is it safe to drink your urine? No. Is it healthy? Not at all. Drinking urine will not improve a person's health and in some cases, it may even worsen health issues. Just consider this, the U.S. Army Field Manual instructs the soldiers not to drink their own urine - even in a survival situation.

Read more about: urine allergies urophagia
Story first published: Wednesday, May 27, 2020, 1:05 [IST]
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