Medical News Today
Does drinking urine have any real health benefits?
Medically reviewed by Cameron White, M.D., MPH — Written by Zawn Villines on October 29, 2019
There is no evidence that drinking urine offers any health benefits. While most people experience no serious harm from drinking urine, there are some risks.
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
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.
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 diureticTrusted Source, 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.
Urine is not sterile when it leaves the kidneys, and it must pass through the urethra and come into contact with the skin as it leaves the body. Bacteria is present in urine, even in that of healthy people without infections.
Drinking someone else’s urine may expose a person to numerous diseases.
Although urine contains antibodies, it also contains bacteria. A studyTrusted Source involving 100 children found a range of bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant strains, in their urine. These bacteria included:
While bacteria will not cause infection in all people who consume them in urine, they increase the risk of infection. People with weak immune systems and young children may be especially vulnerable.
Urine therapy or urotherapy, (also urinotherapy, Shivambu, uropathy, or auto-urine therapy) in alternative medicine is the application of human urine for medicinal or cosmetic purposes, including drinking of one’s own urine and massaging one’s skin, or gums, with one’s own urine. No scientific evidence exists to support any beneficial health claims of urine therapy.
In 2016 the Chinese Urine therapy Association was included on a list of illegal organizations by the Ministry of Civil Affairs. However, the Municipal Bureau of Civil Affairs in Wuhan, said they had no jurisdiction over the association.
A study on bacterial isolates contained in the urine of Nigerian children and cows found a significant presence of antibiotic-resistant pathogen strains, including E. coli, Shigella, and Salmonella. The study concluded that these pathogens may be introduced into the body through urine consumption, most notably through the traditional urine therapy treatments conducted by some local individuals.