Why Urine Therapy Is Actually Dangerous

Caution: Don't try this at home (or at all).

You might think drinking your own urine sounds like a sick joke, but a 33-year-old yoga instructor from the United Kingdom claims to do so every morning has relieved her of chronic pain, boosted her immune system, and cleared her complexion.

Kayleigh Oakley has dealt with a weakened immune system since childhood, and as a teenager, she was diagnosed with the autoimmune disorder Hashimoto's disease—a disease that attacks the thyroid—causing her to have an underactive thyroid, she told the Daily Mail. She also suffers from chronic fibromyalgia or chronic muscle pain.

What Is Urine Therapy?

Oakley heard about "urine therapy" two years ago, and she decided to give it a go. She now she drinks a glass of her own pee each morning and also puts some on her face. Oakley told the Daily Mail she drinks only the pee that comes out of her mid-stream, avoiding the beginning and end of the flow because it can contain toxins, she says.

She claimed the strain her health conditions put on her body would often leave her bedridden, but just days after starting to drink urine, she felt transformed. "It was almost instant," she said, explaining that she now feels better than ever.

But before you go peeing into your morning coffee mug, it's important to know there's very little evidence to back up the supposed benefits of urine therapy. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Global Infectious Diseases has found it can even be dangerous.

What Do the Experts Say?

The practice got its start with the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, according to a study published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology (JCAD). Proponents believe that urine has anti-inflammatory properties and can treat conditions that arise from inflammation, such as acne, the study authors say. Others claim urine therapy can do everything from whitening teeth to protecting against infections, and even fighting cancer.

Today, urine therapy advocates, especially in Asia, the Middle East, and South America, cite its historical use as proof of its effectiveness. Tales of the past aside, modern research has found virtually no benefit to drinking urine or applying it to the skin.

Although it's initially sterile, urine left outside of the body for an extended period can easily grow bacteria, the JCAD study states. If consumed or rubbed on the skin, the bacteria in the urine could expose you to an infection.

Urine therapy is also risky because it's unregulated, and all medical remedies should be monitored or prescribed by a doctor.

Bottom Line

Steer clear of urine therapy until researchers find sufficient evidence to prove its benefits. There are plenty of healthier—and way more refreshing—ways to combat illness and boost your health.

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