If you are in an emergency and run out of water and food, the only source of water that you have is your own urine. So, should you drink to your urine to survive?
What’s In Urine?
Let’s start with what urine is.
In a healthy person, urine is approximately 95% water.
That’s great, right? We need water for survival.
It is the remaining 5% of urine which is problematic. The kidneys do a great job of filtering impurities from the blood and excreting these through urine. There are over 3,000 compounds in urine which vary depending on what you ate, medications taken, environmental contaminants, and waste metabolites. This is many more compounds than found in other bodily fluids.
What Happens When You Drink Urine?
Your kidneys filter waste products into urine. When you drink urine, you are putting all of this waste back into your body – much of which will end up back in your kidneys.
This puts a serious strain on your kidneys, which is why Slate reports that drinking urine can cause symptoms similar to kidney failure.
If you have suffered a crushing injury, then drinking urine will be even more dangerous. Damaged muscle fiber cells leak potassium and phosphorous into the blood. The kidneys already will have a hard time clearing these. Someone drinking urine would put even more strain on the kidneys.
The Summit Register goes as far as saying that drinking urine will not rehydrate you. Rather, they say it will dehydrate you at a faster rate because of all the pollutants and sodium in urine.
How Long Can You Survive By Drinking Urine?
Remember that the waste products in your urine will become increasingly more concentrated the more dehydrated you become.
We also lose a lot of water through sweat, so you will lose a lot of the water which actually was in the urine.
The first time you drink your urine for survival, it might have a higher percentage of water in it. The next time, the urine color will be darker because it is highly-concentrated with waste products. You are basically doomed to choose between dehydration and renal failure.
There is a lot of conflicting advice on exactly how long you can survive by drinking urine. The general consensus is:
Drinking urine will give you an extra day or two of survival.
You can drink urine 1-3 times before it becomes too concentrated.
Source: Primal Survivor
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