OK guys, I'll get right into it: According to the Daily Mail, a woman from the UK named Kayleigh Oakley says drinking her own pee benefits her health. The 33-year-old yoga teacher apparently doesn't just consume a tablespoon or so of the stuff, either; she told the news outlet she drinks half a pint (which is about two cups) of her own urine on a daily basis. Besides the fact that consuming your own body waste is obviously considered taboo to many people, there are also questions about whether consuming the liquid is truly beneficial to your health, as well as whether it's even safe to do so.
Oakley told the Daily Mail that she started drinking her own urine in an attempt to heal her "low immune system," which she described as something that would often leave her bedridden, "resulting in her suffering from constant tiredness and muscle pain," according to the news outlet. The results of drinking her own urine, Oakley told the Daily Mail, were almost instant. Within days, she said, "I had an extreme amount of energy, it was amazing."
Radical as it may sound, drinking your own pee isn't really a new idea. "Urine therapy has been used in ancient times as a healing tonic for infections and an antidote to poison,” Dr. Amy Shah, a functional medicine doctor trained in Ayurvedic medicine, told MindBodyGreen. “It has also been described as a spiritual practice in Ayurveda.”
What's more, a 2015 study published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology demonstrated that "urine therapy" can be traced back to ancient Egyptians and Greeks, who, according to Health, believed that "urine has anti-inflammatory properties and can treat conditions that arise from inflammation, such as acne." Today, the outlet explains, despite there being virtually no scientific evidence to back up the claims, there are still advocates who believe drinking your own pee benefits your health in some way.
Evidence or no evidence, though, Oakley stands by the benefits she's personally experienced in drinking her own urine, regardless of what others may think about the practice. "I have never been horrified by the thought of drinking it and my friends and family accept what I do," she told the Daily Mail, adding that she truly considers the habit to be a "medicine." She told the news outlet that the practice has significantly boosted her energy levels, and that she has yet to notice any side effects. "We don't think twice about taking drugs bought over the counter, with side-effects," she explained, "yet urine has no side-effects and it works really well."
However, Oakley did point out to the publication that she's careful to only drink certain parts of her urine. By discarding the beginning and end of a stream, the Daily Mail explained, the UK-based yoga teacher believes she is avoiding potential toxins and sediment. Oakley also claimed to the news outlet that the liquid can be beneficial when used on your skin: "Urine works really well to clear your skin up, if you have any hormonal issues with it," she told the Daily Mail. "So, I use it as a moisturiser, just putting some on a cotton wool and popping it on my skin before I jump in the shower."
Again, while Oakley says this practice works for her, there's hardly any scientific evidence to back it up. The evidence that it could be harmful, however, is fairly plentiful.
First of all, what exactly is in your urine? According to Healthline, up to 96 percent of it is just water, while the rest mostly consists of salts, ammonia, and "byproducts produced during normal body processes." Those other byproducts, however, could potentially be dangerous. Back in 2008, Slate reported that the waste products in your urine are exactly that: waste. This means, the outlet explains, that putting these things back into your body again and again isn't exactly good for it; in fact, the outlet says, "drinking [urine] can cause symptoms similar to those brought on by total kidney failure." Additionally, the U.S. Army Field Manual cautions against drinking your own pee, even in an emergency situation.
So, regardless of the benefits that Oakley seems to claim, you probably don't want to try this health tip at home — or in any public restroom, for that matter.