A person may drink urine by accident or intentionally. Various cultures have consumed urine for religious or health reasons for millennia.
In the present day, a small number of religious or alternative health organizations also suggest drinking urine. In this article, learn about the purported benefits of drinking urine and the risks.
Why do people drink urine?
Urine has been a folk remedy for centuries. The ancient Romans, for example, believed that urine from Portugal could cleanse their mouths and whiten their teeth.
In 1944, British naturopath John Armstrong claimed that drinking urine was the “perfect medicine.”
More recently, natural health advocates have claimed that a wide range of benefits are associated with drinking urine, including:
- healing wounds in the mouth
- improving eyesight
- replacing lost nutrients
- boosting the immune system
- supporting thyroid health
Some people use urine as an emergency source of water. For example, a person may drink their own urine following a natural disaster, a shipwreck, or other times when they do not have access to a source of clean water.
Are there any benefits?
There are no clear health benefits associated with drinking urine. Urine is waste, which means that it contains things that the body does not need or that may be harmful.
Urine is mostly water, but it has other components as well. Every day, a person urinates:
- 25 grams (g) of urea, a waste compound that comes from the metabolic breakdown of proteins
- 10 g of electrolytes, such as sodium
- 3 g of phosphate and other organic acids
- 1.5 g of creatinine, a waste product resulting from the breakdown of muscle tissue
- 1 g of uric acid, a chemical created by breaking down substances called purines in food
- 40–80 milligrams of trace proteins, such as albumin
Researchers have also found very small quantities of hormones, vitamins, and antibodies in urine. However, there is no evidence that these ingredients are present in large enough quantities to improve health.
Urine is a powerful diuretic, which means that it can cause the body to expel more salt and water. While some people use diuretics to lower blood pressure, other strategies are usually safer.
Moreover, no research has found that drinking urine can lower blood pressure or otherwise improve heart health.
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