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Woman drinking urine out of a plastic water bottleiStock/BBC Three

Please can everyone stop drinking their own urine?

It’s really not very good for you

Ashitha Nagesh

Say hello to the latest health fad - it's even yellower than a turmeric latte, and more bitter than a charcoal lemonade.

Yep, it's urine. It's drinking your own urine.

While drinking your own pee seems like the kind of thing you'd only do if you were trapped up a mountain or stranded in a desert somewhere, it looks like some people have started gulping down the golden stuff in the privacy of their own homes.

For example, Kayleigh Oakley, a 33-year-old yoga teacher from Newington, Kent, claims drinking her own urine has given her relief from a number of long-term health issues, including autoimmune disorder Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, and chronic pain condition fibromyalgia.

She tells Press Association she started drinking her own pee - which some people call “urine therapy” but is also known as urophagia - two years ago.

“I heard that urine can reset the immune system, promote general good health, and is good for the skin,” she says. “So thought I would give it a go.”

And give it a go she did. Now, not only does she drink a jar of fresh wee every day, she also uses cotton wool to dab it all over her face - which she claims keeps her skin “glowing”.

Surprisingly, Kayleigh isn’t the only person to extol the benefits of urophagia recently.

Just last week, Leah Sampson, a 46-year-old woman from Alberta, Canada, told The Sun that drinking her own urine helped her lose half her body weight.

Leah said that weighing almost 120kg left her desperate for a fix - which led her to wonder whether urine could help.

“My friend sent me a YouTube video link of the [urine] therapy," she said. "I stood up in the bathtub, urinated into my hands, and drank it. I noted immediately that I ingested too much sodium and vowed to begin removing sodium from my diet immediately.”

Now she not only drinks urine but also gargles it in the mornings when she brushes her teeth and uses it as eye drops. But before everyone rushes off to try this apparent cure-all, just remember doctors really don't recommend it.

But that didn't stop Faith Canter, 39, who revealed earlier this month she started drinking urine to help with an insect bite.

Faith, who's originally from Aberdeen but now lives in Portugal, said she tried drinking her own wee after an allergic reaction to a mosquito bite caused her eye to swell up.

She says it "felt a little disgusting" at first, but the bite healed within three days. 

“I have continued to drink some of my urine every morning since and I’m being bitten far less than ever before. When I am bitten, they never swell or itch, they are just tiny little pin pricks," she adds.

And of course you may remember that in June an unnamed woman went viral on Facebook, after she posted a video of herself drinking her dog’s urine.

In it, she takes her dog for a walk in the park, waits until he has to go, and then collects his wee in a cup. Then, on camera, she drinks it.

“Until I first drank my dog's pee, I was depressed, I was sad, and I had bad acne,” the woman says after finishing the last drop.

Now, despite the sudden plethora of people gulping down the salty stuff, many doctors agree that it’s not actually good for you.

For one thing, urine is essentially a waste product - meaning it’s made up of a mix of water and stuff your body has already worked hard to get rid of.

"It is a common belief that urine is sterile - which it normally is if you don't have a problem with your renal tract,” Dr Zubair Ahmed tells BBC Three.

“However, once it leaves the body, it can be contaminated with certain bacteria - and ingesting this bacteria can make you feel unwell and can lead to serious complications.”

Cup of... teaiStock
We'll stick to tea, thanks

Infection risks aside, Dr Ahmed adds there’s actually no medical evidence to show urophagia benefits your health in any way.

“Urination is one way where our body gets rid of toxic by-products,” he explains. “There is no evidence at all that ingesting these substances has any health benefits. While drinking a small amount of urine is unlikely to be hazardous to your health, there is not enough modern evidence of its efficacy to suggest drinking it is healthy.”

And Dr Andrew Thornber warns that you risk reintroducing dangerous waste products back into your system when you drink pee.

“The whole point of urinating is for the kidneys to filter the blood and it gets rid of any excess fluid and salts, as well as minerals,” he tells BBC Three. “Urine in a healthy person is made up of about 95% water, but the other 5% is waste products the body is looking to expel - such as potassium and nitrogen - which, if you have too much in your body, can cause problems.”

At the same time, Dr Thornber adds, drinking urine can be really harsh on your gut and cause problems with your kidneys.

“When you drink urine, it will eventually come back out again and be much more concentrated, which could lead to gut problems,” he says. “The kidneys will have to work hard to filter out all the excess again, putting strain on them.

“Some people think drinking urine gives you a quick vitamin shot but there are much healthier ways of making sure you get your vitamins such as eating a healthy and balanced diet or taking supplements.”

Urine sampleiStock
Doctors say it's not good for you

It’s not just doctors warning against it either - a lot of nutritionists and dieticians are against wee-drinking too.

Aisling Pigott, a spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association, says: “There is no evidence or advice which would encourage anybody to drink their own urine.”

And nutritionist Keri Filtness agrees. She tells BBC Three it’s a myth that being 95% water makes urine safe to drink, adding the other 5% makes a lot of difference.

"Some of the waste products excreted via urine, such as nitrogen, sodium and other minerals, may cause issues such as dehydration if they are consumed excessively,” she says.

Keri’s suggestion for a healthy alternative? “Stick to water or herbal tea!”

Indeed - we think we'll do just that.