If you thought gulping down a green juice was hard, the newest way to drink yourself to health will really knock your socks off. Urotherapy — a traditional therapy involving one’s own urine — is being embraced by the trend-setting health crowd. But is it likely that many of us will be swapping our smoothies for our own personal pitcher of pee?
“Urotherapy is a traditional therapy of using one’s urine to massage into skin, gums or drinking the urine,” Dr. Terry Wahls, a functional medicine practitioner, explained to Mind Body Green. That's right, people, drinking the urine. The practice has been embraced by celebrities, models, health gurus and billionaires, including Kesha and Madonna, who pees on her feet in the shower to help with her athlete’s foot problem.
The act of drinking pee is more specifically referred to as urophalgia, and some people have gone so far as to use it to treat cancer.
According to functional medicine doctor Amy Shah, the pee-drinking trend isn’t anything new. “Urine therapy has been used in ancient times as a healing tonic for infections and an antidote to poison,” she told MBG, adding it “has also been described as a spiritual practice in Ayurveda.”
Dr. Will Cole acknowledged that there’s scientific logic behind drinking urine — since it is made up of “95 percent water, 2.5 percent urea and 2.5 percent a mix of salt, enzymes, hormones and minerals.” Cole attests that it “makes sense why one would assume there would be benefits to reusing these nutrients and chemicals in the body for antiviral and antibacterial purposes as well as helping to balance hormones.” He even made reference to a 1997 study showing that urotherapy helps fight cancer by aiding with the boosting of antibody production.
So how does pee taste? According to Anita Bhagwandas, who decided to indulge in drinking her own pee for a recent Marie Claire article, it’s not as bad as you would think. “It’s a little bit sweet, a tad salty,” she wrote. “Think a margarita that’s been left in the sun for too long and is on the cusp of turning rancid.” Yummy.
As thirsty as all this is making you, you may want to wait ab while before you start throwing back glasses of pee on a daily basis. While the warm, yellow “beverage” isn’t likely to cause harm if consumed in small quantities, there isn’t a whole lot of scientific evidence to support the benefits.
As for hydration purposes, there is a misconception that urine can be used as a long-term replacement for water. In reality someone could only survive “an extra day or two” drinking it. The Army Field Manual for Survival, Evasion and Recovery even goes so far as to list it as a “do not drink” item along with ocean water and blood.
“It’s a bizarre concept,” Zaki Almallah, M.D., consultant urologist at BMI Priory Hospital in Birmingham, told Marie Claire. “The kidneys filter the blood and any excess fluid, and salts and minerals are expelled. The point of urination is to rid the body of excess. Why would you want to reabsorb that?”
And while some may attest to the health benefits, the Marie Claire writer who spent an entire week drinking her own pee “two to three times per day” was underwhelmed by the results. “I know it’s not toxic, but I also know that I didn’t see enough benefits to keep doing it,” she concluded, adding that applying it topically helped clear up her acne.
And with that, bottoms up?
What Do YOU Think?
Does this latest health trend have any merit? Would you drink your own urine? What’s the most bizarre health trend you have indulged in?
Leah Groth is a writer and editor currently based in Philadelphia. She has covered topics such as entertainment, parenting, health & wellness for xoJane, Babble, Radar, Fit Pregnancy, Mommy Nearest, Living Healthy and PopDust.