Not really, but urine has been a faddish health drink for centuries nonetheless. Celts in the Iberian peninsula gargled it to whiten their teeth about 50 years before Christ; amaroli is a Sanskrit word that refers to urine therapy, which in ancient Ayurvedic practice meant imbibing urine in the morning, mid stream; Proverbs 5:15 is thought to be in support of the act ("Drink waters from thy own cistern, flowing water from thy own well"); and J.D. Salinger famously sipped his own, as did the former prime minister of India, Morarji Desai, who even appeared on 60 Minutes to defend his habit.
Click here to launch a gallery about urine therapy.
Still, drinking your urine has no known health benefit. Urine is at least 95 percent water, but the remaining 5 percent is not very good for you—that's why your body is getting rid of it. It carries excess electrolytes, such as chloride, sodium and potassium (urine also carries small traces of excess toxins in the form of acids from your kidney, but you'd need to drink a lot for that to do damage). Electrolytes enable some of our cells to conduct electricity, but too much sodium draws water out of our cells, dehydrating us, and too much potassium leads to a heart attack. "Think about it like drinking ocean water," says Jeff Giullian, a nephrologist (kidney doctor) at South Denver Nephrology Associates in Colorado. "It's going to dehydrate you and do significantly more harm than good."
Dan Woolley would disagree. He spent 65 hours trapped beneath the rubble of the Hotel Montana in Haiti after last year's earthquake and partially attributes his survival to drinking his own urine—many survivors do. Yet survival experts are split on the issue. Bear Grylls, the host of the TV show Man vs. Wild, is for it (Woolley credits Grylls for teaching him the trick), but the star of Survivorman, Les Stroud, is not. The U.S. Army Survival Handbook lists urine on its "do not drink" list, but Aron Ralston, the adventurer pinned under a boulder and forced to sever his own arm, drank his urine too (both acts were depicted in the movie 127 Hours).
Drinking urine for survival is even more harmful, since dehydration makes it less dilute and all those electrolytes and acids appear in greater concentration, making a bad situation worse. Also, it's gross.
Have a science question you've always wondered about? Send an email to email@example.com
Wow. That's an interesting picture.
Urea, the chemical in which Urine gets it's name, is used in everything from hand creams to cigarette flavoring to a browning agent in factory made pretzels.
I can sence a little bias in this article, personally I don't find the idea of using my own urine for anything other than maybe writing my name in the snow, I can't speak down about those that use it for other purposes. Contrary to what the author says, it is NOT harmful. And i doubt it changed in the last 10 years, but when I was in the Military, if there was an absolute lack of potable water, urine could be used in a pinch. Urine isn't just water and waste, it contains unabsorbed vitamins and nutrients as well. So if it means death, or drinking urine, it's better to drink the urine.
I've been told the astronauts treat their urine, then drink it.
I think I'll stick to Diet Coke.
The lack of research is disturbing. Proverbs 5:15 when read in context (I suggest you always read things in context) is talking about men not straying from their wives.
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown put it this way -
"By figures, in which well, cistern, and fountain represent the wife, and rivers of waters the children, men are exhorted to constancy and satisfaction in lawful conjungal enjoyments."
The Bible is pretty clear about "unclean" things.
Excuse me, but when Solomon penned Proverbs 5:15, he was using a metaphor for not seeking relations with another person outside of marriage arrangement. How twisted would you be to read that verse and think that it is referring to the drinking of ones own urine? Wow... just wow...
Feces, dandruff, and menstrual blood contain unabsorbed vitamins and nutrients as well... who's going to suggest we start eating those?
Fact is, when your body (which has been shaped by billions of years of evolution) decides to get rid of something... it's probably for a good reason.
B.V. Great way to take what I said and twist it. I'm pretty sure the "...if it means death, or drinking urine, it's better to drink the urine." portion of my comment clears up my view of the topic. And feces is not sterile, eating it poses health issues. As far as dandruff and menstrual blood, consuming it (barring any infections, infestations, or otherwise) will not cause potentially adverse reactions the way feces would. If it was between death, and consuming blood or urine, I would consume rather than die, as would most in that situation.
This is a shock article with little actually research into the matter. As you can see by the comments posted above... And nobody is saying there isn't a good reason to process waste and expell from the body... please read the whole comment and actually try to understand it before you make kneejerk comments.
The penultimate moment for me would be Bear Grylls visiting Hell's Kitchen and drink his own urine because it "tastes better" than the food. Then Ramsay forces all the chefs to drink their own urine as punishment.
Except that according to medically trained professionals drinking urine dehydrates you.
So, it's not a choice between dying and drinking Urine... it's a choice between dying from dehydration while experiencing thirst, and dying of dehydration while drinking urine.
Ocean water might be sterile too, but doesn't mean it's okay to drink if you are dying from dehydration.
"Harmful" and "sterile" are different things. In your comment you stated urine isn't harmful (supposedly to drink while dying of thirst), contrary to the nephrologist quoted in the article states.
Is the crux of your argument based on the assertion that urine would not dehydrate you when ingested?
No, it is not ever safe to drink urine.
Following your link I can report this information:
See also: Urophagia
Numerous survival instructors and guides, including the US Army Field Manual, advise against drinking urine for survival. These guides explain that drinking urine tends to worsen, rather than relieve dehydration due to the salts in it, and that urine should not be consumed in a survival situation, even when there is no other fluid available.
That is one thirsty giraffe!...Would someone please water the giraffe?!...
I think urine is another natural product that we can use instead of things from the store. I use urine for any cuts I get it has great anti-bacterial uses. A friend also used urine to cure her TB. I think we need to be more open to what is available to us instead of listing to doctors who are obvious pimps for the pharmaceutical industry and really don't care what the causes of our aliments just wanting to treat the symptoms. Its time we take our health back and weed ourselves off all the pills being shoved down out throats.
A shame that the nephrologist (aka kidney specialist) they asked didn't think about it longer. He was probably giving the "safe for the public" answer but when this came up in medical school I heard a different answer: you can safely drink your urine while it is still dilute, before it becomes concentrated as your water deprivation continues.
Your body dumps excess water along with the salt. If you drink lots of water, it's dilute, if you're not getting much water, it's concentrated. There is a maximum amount it can be concentrated so there is a minimum amount of urine you *must* make no matter how thirsty you are.
What that means is at the start of some disaster where you're unable to get water your body probably has excess water so your urine is probably relatively dilute. So you CAN drink it for water and your body will benefit from the water in excess of the minimum needed to excrete that waste. Of course, after a few passes through your system with no new water, the urine will become concentrated and there's no point in drinking more.
Does Popular Science issue corrections when they print something that is flat out false? If so, please correct this statement: "Proverbs 5:15 is thought to be in support of the act." Please look at a few reputable Bible translations, and the surrounding verses, to understand the meaning.
Some help -
Proverbs 5:15 (NLT)
Drink water from your own well — share your love only with your wife.
Continuing on... Proverbs 5:16-17
Why spill the water of your springs in the streets, having sex with just anyone? You should reserve it for yourselves. Never share it with strangers.
So, how, exactly did the Popular Science writer interpret "share your love only with your wife" to support of the act (of drinking your own urine)? Does the writer **really** equate the two? If so I'll assume that he is NOT married!
as Less Stroud once did, it's okay to drink your urine if you evaporate the water out, leaving the contaminants behind. it's not too bad in a pinch, IF YOU'VE CLEANED IT FIRST.
"So, how, exactly did the Popular Science writer interpret 'share your love only with your wife' to support of the act (of drinking your own urine)? "
It's called "golden showers" ;) Just google it :D
In reference to the article concerning the drinking of urine for survival purposes, the author, Ryan Bradley, asserts that Proverbs 5:15 is "thought to be in support of the act" of drinking one's own urine. I would give a great deal to know his source for this statement, since it is universally accepted by virtually every theologian of any note (not to mention any schmoe who can read in context) that the entirety of this chapter concerns the avoidance of adultery. There is NO evidence, circumstantial or otherwise, to support this assertion. Simply reading the passage with a loose nod toward context, and a modicum of common sense would negate such an interpretation. Mr. Bradley derails the validity of his entire article; his research on this reference must be entirely nonexistent, or else he is utterly incapable of critical analysis. There are plenty of other references concerning the drinking of urine in works of antiquity, but this most assuredly is not one of them. Shame on you Mr. Bradley, and shame on
Popular Science for printing such an unqualified statement; this is both bad science, and piss-poor (pun intended) literary analysis. I'm not outraged by the ideas presented here, only by the poor research involved.
As far as urine being on the list of "not to drink," I think those that drank it in a time of crisis and survived would have a different (and more qualified) opinion. :)
So that is what is in those teeth whitener strips.
again a tipical sign of intentional false information in the name of big pharma - medical industries. why didnt the writer learn first about UREA to find all evidences of proof and aplication? or maybe popular science is not making science popular and understandable but creating myths and fighting myths in the name of sensationalism. Proven fact is that more than 4000 years urin therapies has been applied by millions of humans..... but those are apraently all liars in the eyes of an utmost limited writer. Maybe better you go to the rainbow press and write about gossips. For all those wanting to save tons of money and find alternate solutions use your urin like it is outlined in ayurvedic medicine or even ancient european medicine or or or. Its tasteless and its full of antidotes produced by the wisdom of your kidneys, its regulating the ph of your organism and therefor the best cure support and protection ever. Oh yes, its free and thatswhy it must be bad.
Whether or not urine could or should be drunk straight, in a survival situation, it could be used as a source for solar distillation whereby providing clear "additive" free water. That is what the Astronauts imbibe. It is treated in so far as it is filtered or distilled to remove the impurities.
Also I might add that proof of the pudding is in the "tasting". If drinking urine has helped people survive, then in my book, it works. Arguments from authority, by citing some Military manual put together by people who may have had a high school degree, with undoubtably, a large helping of cultural mores to influence them, are pretty hollow.
I have written and published a field safety and survival manual from citing third party sources using no original research, and I can say I am no expert, and I venture to say, those that published the military field manuals aren't either. Once again, proof is in the doing and the results.
I don't need some office bound staffer telling me what will and won't work if my life is on the line. Too many people are lemmings...
Apparently, Mr. Bradley feels no accountability for his semi-fictitious article. He has failed to address his readers' concerns and legitimate questions, nor has Popular Science printed a retraction of any sort. He must also think we're idiots, since his failure to respond is indicative of his utter disregard for his readers. In light of this fact, I propose that Bonnier Corporation rename this magazine Populist Science; apparently, verifiable facts no longer play a vital part in their articles. Accountability to readers (AKA purchasers) seems to be of little importance as well, but for the record, it's hackneyed journalism like this that keeps me from buying a subscription to a once-great magazine. Discerning readers know that slick production values can't hide sensationalist pulp and speculative fiction. As an intelligent person and critical thinker, I don't appreciate being treated with contempt by people whose salaries I pay with my purchases. This may seem like an overreaction, but the fact is, if PopSci won't even bother to address this issue on one article, how many other articles have they also sluffed through without actually doing their homework? It's sloppy, unscientific and demeaning. Reader beware.
Since when did popsci start quoting bible verses??…LOL Bizzaro world. Well I guess I’m happy the author acknowledges the wisdom of the bible.
@canis canon. popsci stopped caring about their readers a long time ago. I canceled my subscription this year. They don’t need us any more, they have, apple, android, and car companies paying for articles and for advertising. Most of the articles are just recycled, summarized and sometimes spun from other science blogs (eg.nature). Oh well the comments are usually entertaining.
Either that or the world is just getting dumber and they changed from a grade 12 reading level to the standard grade 7 reading level.
Those manuals are actually written by professionals in the fields that are covered. The Army has installations devoted to human endurance research, nutrition, cognitive abilities, etc. Much of the information is based on actual human endurance trials.
As for the citation of the Army manual suggesting urine not be ingested, it is specifically referencing untreated urine. They do train for using urine as a source for distillation, as others have mentioned.
Sorry for double post, but google Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (ARIEM). They do considerable research AND testing. Not just staffers making things up.
After the posting of this article, a sudden rise and spike int the sales of Mountain Dew!
See life in all its beautiful colors, and
from different perspectives too!
urine or beer....which one tastes more like hot piss? drinking to much of either is a bad idea. both have horrible smells. in a blind taste test u cant really tell them apart. jokes aside if ur options is a) die or b) drink piss (or beer) and live a little longer ill choose option b anyday.
You are what you eat or drink in this case. Let them drink pee.
In a survival situation, yes, drinking your own urine can save your life. It will prolong your life by an other couple of days. However, eventually your Kidneys won't be able to process the toxins, and you'll die anyway...but yes, if you can last a couple more days from drinking your own urine until you're rescued or find water, then it's worth it.