People in Boulder, Colorado Are Drinking Their Own Pee—Here's Why They Shouldn't

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but a group in Boulder claims the panacea for their ills is something free and easily accessible: their own pee.

The members of the Urine Therapy Meetup group believe drinking the bodily fluid or rubbing it on their skin has health benefits untapped by others too squeamish to take advantage, 9News.com reported. Experts, on the other hand, aren't so sure.

Christopher Macor is among the members who gather in a public library in the Colorado city once a month. He told 9News.com that he suffered with eczema which regular creams couldn't clear, but the itchy condition disappeared when he started soaking his hands in urine.

Macor explained people have been using their pee for treatment for 4,000 years: "It's the fluid of your body that's being given to you."

Accounts of people consuming their urine span Europe, including ancient Greece and Rome, as well as ancient India and China. According to a study published in The Pan Africa Medical Journal entitled The Golden Fountain-Is urine the miracle drug no one told you about?—similar approaches using pee as medicine were likely used in ancient Africa and the Americas, too. (The answer to the question in their headline, the authors conclude, is 'no'.")

And in recent years, people have posted videos on social media claiming drinking the byproduct has cured them of illnesses.

On the Urine Therapy of Colorado event page, visitors are greeted by the image of a chalice of cloudy liquid, alongside a quote attributed to the Persian Sufi poet Rumi: "There is a fountain inside you. Don't walk around with an empty bucket."

Those interested are invited to learn about what is described as the "daily practice of auto-urine therapy" called Shivambhu.

Another group member, Indira Bhatt Gupta told 9News.com she has been drinking her urine since 1983. It's the first thing she does each morning.

"Let some part go, take the middle part, put it in my eyes, put it in my face, and just have some Chai in the morning," she explained.

Another member Therese Nicol said the gathering emboldened her to go from placing her feet in urine, to drinking it.

But a handful of anecdotal positive experiences doesn't prove a treatment is safe or effective.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairperson of the U.K.'s Royal College of General Practitioners, told Newsweek there is no clinical evidence of health benefits from drinking your own urine and doctors would advise patients against it.

"The best way to live a long and healthy life is to keep active, eat a balanced and nutritious diet, only drink alcohol in moderation, don't smoke and try to get enough sleep."

Dr Zubair Ahmed told BBC Three that urine is often thought to be sterile, but it becomes contaminated with bacteria when it leaves the body.

"Ingesting this bacteria can make you feel unwell and can lead to serious complications," he said.

While drinking a small amount might not be hazardous, "there is not enough modern evidence of its efficacy to suggest drinking it is healthy," he said.

Dr Andrew Thornber highlighted to BBC Three that urine is the body's way of ridding itself of excess fluids, salts and minerals after the kidneys have filtered the blood.

The liquid is largely made up of water, urea, uric acid, creatinine, electrolytes, phosphate and organic acids, trace amounts of proteins, and traces of hormones, glucose and water-soluble vitamins.

"Urine in a healthy person is made up of about 95 percent water, but the other 5 percent is waste products the body is looking to expel—such as potassium and nitrogen—which, if you have too much in your body, can cause problems," he said.

After consuming it, it will be passed back out of the body in a process which could be harsh on the digestive system, he warned. The kidneys will have to work hard to filter out the ingredients again.

The authors of the The Pan Africa Medical Journal wrote: "There may be rare situations where urine is the cleanest liquid at hand to pour over a dirty wound, or the only liquid to drink when buried under a collapsed building or lost at sea for days, but most of the time there are better or tastier ways to improve one's health."

This article has been updated with comment from Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard.

People in Boulder, Colorado Are Drinking Their Own Pee—Here's Why They Shouldn't | Health