This is part of our Fun With Pee series. Funny, curious, and even startling facts and stories about the pee our bodies make.
Believe it or not, some people choose to drink urine…on purpose. Yes, they actually make a conscious decision to drink pee. We will look at a few of the reasons here as we review the safety and practicality of this practice.
As far as pee being safe to drink… urine is indeed sterile, and your urine is also mostly water. So, that means it’s ok to drink? Well, not necessarily. Keep in mind that your kidney does an amazing job of filtering out the impurities that enter your body, and they exit your body in your urine. So, your urine is really waste water. Your body has taken what nutrients it needed, and not only pushed out the excess, but also has filtered out the impurities. Think of it like a water filter for your sink. That filter removes many contaminants from your drinking water and holds them in the filter. Whereas the kidney, instead, pushed the contaminants out in your urine. If you were to drink your own urine, think of it like squeezing out the water filter and drinking that water. Sure, it would be water, but it would also be full of stuff you were trying to avoid in the first place, and you would be putting those contaminants right back in your body. It probably won’t hurt you if you your body is strong and you are healthy. Urine could, however, harm a less healthy person. In its unfiltered state, It’s not recommended to drink pee unless it’s a matter of survival. Even then, it’s questionable, because it can dehydrate you further.
Just because you CAN do something does not mean you SHOULD do something. From our point of view, there are no tangible benefits to drinking your own urine, and there are a few downsides, such as health risks. There are those that believe drinking the urine of a healthy person can improve the health of a less healthy person. There’s no scientific evidence to support this theory. These practices of drinking urine for health reasons are based more on tradition and superstition and perhaps even religious beliefs than any actual documented benefits.
Well, for starters, it will make you more thirsty than before drinking it. You might vomit, which, of course, would make you more dehydrated. But aside from the urge to vomit, the salts in your urine would tend to dehydrate you more than quench your thirst. Aside from dehydrating yourself, there are some other risks as well. If the urine comes from someone with a urinary tract infection, you might find yourself drinking the byproducts of that infection, which as you would guess, would not be good for your health. In order to avoid some of the bacteria in your urine, urine drinkers (you know who you are) collect urine only after letting some of the initial flow leave the body, allowing bacteria to exit first. There are other chemicals that may end up in your urine, such as those from medicines the producer may be taking. Those medicinal byproducts could be a problem if you’re expecting to an untainted glass of urine.
While many people have claimed some beers or wines tastes like pee, urine is actually reported by some to taste salty (due to the salts and chemicals being filtered by your kidneys)… we’ll just take someone else’s word for it about the taste of pee. We imagine the ammonia would be harder to stomach than the saltiness.
Survival. Some people recommend you drink urine if you are dehydrated and have no other source of water. You would essentially be recycling the water that leaves your body. While there have been a few documented survivals from drinking pee, it’s actually more risky than not drinking it due to the salts that dehydrate you even further.
Tradition and superstition. Before the days of scientific proof and such, people tended to make health decisions based on hunches and stories. Just because something has been practiced for years, however, doesn’t make it right. When better knowledge is available, gained from scientific evidence, it’s best to ditch the traditions and and superstitions, especially when drinking urine can harm you.
A dare or party trick. People do many stupid things at parties. Drinking urine would be one of them. Enough said.
Desperation. Nothing left in the fridge, and you really want a flavored drink.