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Drinking urine for health and vigor: Can pee improve athletic performance?

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Prior to his 2009 superfight with Floyd Mayweather Jr, fight legend Juan Manuel Marquez garnered mainstream headlines for partaking in a rather unusal custom.

Marquez, who was was filmed drinking his urine during a training session covered by the HBO series 24/7, insisted the practice was of great nutritional benefit and aided his intensive workouts.

Perhaps desperate situations call for desperate measures? With Floyd Mayweather as his next opponent, a fighter is libel to try anything.

But was Marquez on the right track?


Is drinking urine good for you - and can it improve athletic performance?

Unbeknownst to many, ancient writings from China, India, the Middle East and Rome suggest the willful consumption of urine is nothing new. For centuries, many cultures have flirted with the notion that drinking pee promotes healing and overall health.

In fact, according to the official Xinhua news agency, more than three million Chinese drink their own urine and believe they are healthier for it.

So what is pee anyway?
Urine is a by-product of blood filtration - not of the body's waste disposal system - and is 95 percent H2O (or water) and 5 percent urea and a mixture of minerals, salts, hormones, enzymes and non-toxic waste products.

Without getting too scientific, urine is pure and highly sterile because the body's filtration process removes all of the toxins.

After his bout with Sam Peter in 2008, former heavyweight belt-holder Vitali Klitschko used his son's wet diapers to keep his fists from swelling up, insisting they helped him recover.

"Baby wee is good because it's pure, doesn't contain toxins and doesn't smell," said Klitschko, now the mayor of Kiev.

"I wrap nappies filled with my 3-year-old son Max's wee around my fists," Klitschko said, adding that he got the idea from his grandmother. "The nappies hold the liquid and the swelling stays down."

So perhaps pee offers some medicinal benefits but can its consumption improve athletic performance and overall health? 

Unfortunately, at this moment there seems to be no hard evidence to suggest drinking urine improves athletic performance, increases vigor and rejuvenates the body and soul.

Nevertheless, many who practice the ritual swear it has cured them of medical problems and insist the medical establishment has deliberately chosen to ignore the benefits of drinking urine because there are no profits in it for them.


Research is underway to investigate the potential of urinary substances to treat infertility and specific forms of cancer, and scientific studies suggest some components of urine have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral characteristics. 

So what if you're extremely thirsty and have no other alterative? Perhaps drinking urine has health benefits, right?

Helen Andrews, of the British Dietetic Association, said: "There are no health benefits to drinking your own urine, and in fact I think it could be quite detrimental."

"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."

"If you are stranded, your body will try to conserve as much water as it can. Drinking your urine would be like drinking seawater."

That stated, drinking your urine is better than the alternative - dehydration.

Maybe the jury is still out on the benefits of drinking urine?

Do you drink your pee or anyone else's? If so, please share your experiences.


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