Wow, I did not expect to come into work today and write about this one; could drinking your urine actually be good for your health?
According to flamboyant singer/songwriter Boy George, the answer is a resounding 'yes'.
"The first time you do it it’s the most disgusting thing ever," said George to British talk show host Jonathan Ross.
"Apparently it works like homeopathy," continued George, trying to justify the pretty horrific act. Essentially, Boy's school of thought is that drinking toxins contained in urine will produce antibodies to fight off future infections and nasties. The practice believes that like cures like.
"The theories is that the impurities that you’ve flushed out, when you put them back in it strengthens you against them," said Ross, coming to Boy George's defense.
"You can only do it if you’re having a healthy diet," said George, in his continued effort to convince his fellow guests that the practice was common and helpful to his health.
But is there any validity in drinking piss (actual piss... not beer - we all know that's great)? After all, the point of urinating is to remove toxins that the body can't use to function optimally.
When looking at any potential benefits (spoiler: there are literally none), it's important to realise how urine is formed. In it's simplest terms, blood passes through the liver, where dead cells, waste products, and toxins are removed from the blood before being pumped to the kidneys where excess fluids are extracted and the resulting 'urine' is transferred to your bladder. One of the chemicals picked up in the kidneys is nitrogen, something that your body is actively trying to remove.
And it's hard to find support for drinking urine as a health elixir among the medical community. In fact many believe it to be quite harmful.
"There are no health benefits to drinking your own urine, and in fact I think it could be quite detrimental," says Helen Andrews of the British Dietetic Association. "Each time you put it back it will come out again even more concentrated and that is not good for health as it could damage the gut," she said in an interview with The Independent. "If you are stranded, your body will try to conserve as much water as it can. Drinking your urine would be like drinking seawater."
To be fair, I'd rather seawater. And even in extreme Bear Grylls survival-style situations, don't be tempted to drink your own waste according to the experts. Even the Army Field Manual advises against drinking urine, as the high concentration of sodium will amplify symptoms of dehydration.
"Did you put ice with it? Or tonic water?" joked Ross in his interview with Boy George. The answer should have been 'neither'. We can't believe this needs clarification, but urine is best left in the trough.