Urine – Our Body’s Own Health Drink???

Urinophogia (Photo credits: Choosenatural)
Urinophogia (Photo credits: Choosenatural)
Urinophogia    (Photo credits:     Choosenatural)
Urophagia    (Photo credits:     Choosenatural)

Yes… urine.  That waste product secreted by our kidneys.  I was watching television and came across this program where they featured people who drink their own urine “for better health!”

They call this consumption of urine as UROPHAGIA.

Although it is very NEW and sensational to some people (like me ^_^ ), apparently it’s no “new news” to other people.

Research tells us that there are many reasons why urine may be consumed by humans and that urine has long been used in several ancient cultures  for varied health, healing and cosmetic purposes.  And somehow, that practice of some cultures from long ago made its way up to the present.  Western culture tells us that such a practice is called “urine therapy” and that they consider it as a form of alternative medicine.

Why so?  What’s in urine?  We secrete daily and yet have no idea what’s in our urine, except that it is something that has to be released regularly, or else we end up getting sick.

What urine is composed of:

Urine is principally water containing an assortment of inorganic salts and organic compounds, including proteins, hormones, and a wide range of metabolites, depending on what is taken into the body.

Normal urine is a transparent solution ranging from colorless to amber, but is usually a pale yellow, varying in appearance and depends on a body’s level of hydration, as well as other factors.

Urine Trivia:

  • Wikipedia tells us that healthy urine is not toxic as such in concentrations as excreted, but, it contains compounds eliminated by the body as undesirable, and can be irritating to skin and eyes.
  • It is possible to extract potable water from urine after suitable processing.
  • The odor of normal human urine can reflect what has been consumed, such that consumption of alcohol, coffee, tuna fish, onions, asparagus, particularly spicy foods can result in telltale scents.
  • Contrary to popular perception, research tells us that urine is not a by-product of the body’s waste disposal system, but of blood filtration. Nutrient-filled blood passes through the liver, where toxins are removed and excreted as solid waste. The purified blood then goes through another filtering process via the kidneys, where components for which the body has no immediate use are collected in a sterile, watery solution. For that reason, it is highly sterile, consisting of 95 per cent water and five per cent nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, proteins, antibodies and other beneficial ingredients.

Why urine is considered as a “health drink”  and as an alternative medicine by advocates:

  • For its advocates, it is a miraculous elixir that has replaced the morning coffee as their first drink of the day, although for most of us it is bodily waste that is strictly confined to the toilet bowl.  But seeing how many have taken it for years, we are somehow left wondering if drinking one’s own urine is really as good for us as its advocates believe.
  • Self-urine therapy dates back 5,000 years to ancient India, where it was known as “shivambu shastra” and seen as a way of rejuvenating body and soul, by massaging one’s skin with fresh, concentrated urine. In the Avurvedic tradition, which is separate from the Hindu scriptures called the Vedas, urine therapy is called amaroli which when practiced requires some dietary requirements such as mixing it with water to “cure cancers” and other “diseases” along with “raw food and certain fruits like banana, papaya and citrus fruits” which are claimed to be “very good in the practice of amaroli”.  One of the main aims of this system is to “prevent illness, heal the sick and preserve life”.
  • Auto-urine therapy (also called as urotherapy) goes back to several ancient cultures and even, arguably, the Bible, wherein some fans believe the Bible recommends urine therapy as a verse in Proverbs : “Drink waters from thy own cistern, flowing water from thy own well.”
  • Egyptian medical texts and Chinese and Indian documents mention the benefits of drinking one’s urine, while the Aztecs used it to disinfect wounds.
  • Advocates of auto-urine therapy believe that this combination can help cure everything from the common cold to cancer, boosting energy levels and sexual performance along the way. While the practice has always been popular in China, India and South-east Asia, a small but growing band of Western fans are also downing a daily dose and books with titles such as The Golden Fountain all extol the virtues of urine.
  • One of the prime movers in the movement, Martha Christy (author of  the book Your Own Perfect Medicine)says that the first toilet visit of the day is the most beneficial, recommending a regime beginning with five drops of “fresh morning urine” under the tongue before gradually increasing the dosage to as much as a cupful, morning and night; and that  urine can also be used as eye and ear drops, for gargling with or in the bath.  Ms. Christy  further claimed that drinking urine cured her of a host of medical problems.
  • Advocates claim it has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anticancer properties.
  •  Research in the 1990s claimed that drinking urine could cure jet lag.
  • It is highly sterile according to the Aztecs who used it to prevent wounds becoming infected.
  • The practice is particularly popular in China, where millions of people drink a daily dose of their own urine.

What the medical field says:

  • Consuming one’s own urine ,or the urine of a healthy person, if participating in urolagnia involving urophagia, is relatively low in risk BUT bacterial infection  of the urinating person’s urethra, or disease in the person urinating is a risk. Elements of medications  and dietary supplements can be excreted in urine, which can affect the person consuming the urine, and if urine comes into contact with the skin, it can cause rashes in sensitive individuals.
  • Urine should not be drunk when one is dehydrated because the kidneys, which filter the urine, concentrate sodium and other minerals into the urine. Drinking the urine will only make one reingest the minerals that have already been excreted by the kidneys. For the first fifteen minutes after ingestion of any fluid, the thirst seems to be quenched, but in the case of urine and other sodium containing liquid, after the body has absorbed the fluid, the thirst returns, stronger, due to the sodium.
  • Urine of a person who is ill may be beneficial to that person, but could pose a risk if consumed by others.  If the person urinating has recently taken vitamins or mineral supplements or certain medications, elements of these can be excreted in urine, which may affect the drinker.
  • During unexpected circumstances for survival,  the US Army Field Manual  and  numerous survival instructors and guides vehemently say drinking urine for survival is not advisable, explaining 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.

So… a coin always has two sides.  Research tells us that many cultures and advocates have been practicing drinking urine as a healthy option since time immemorial  and that medical researchers and practitioners are  warning us against doing so.  If you are torn between following the first or heeding the second group’s advice, maybe you should toss a coin?  ^__^

Web Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urine_therapy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urophagia

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20060724084057AArnNQU

http://www.skepdic.com/urine.html