In spite of what you might see on shows like Man Vs Wild, there is a highly debated topic in the world of survival: Can you drink your own urine to survive?
We’ve seen the likes of Bear Grylls do it, but is it actually a good thing to do?
First, we should mention that those who do believe in this concept also believe it should not just be done randomly. It is only advised as a last resort to prevent dehydration. Of course, in survival, there is something known as the “Rule of 3’s.”
You can survive 3 weeks without food, 3 days without water, survive 3 hours in a harsh environment, and 3 minutes without air. One should not try to go over this amount if at all possible.
This means if you have not found water by, say, the end of Day 2 and you have a container that you can pee in…you should do it. Just in case if on Day 3, you’re reaching dehydration levels and need to drink your own urine to survive.
Of course, there is still lots of risk behind this.
A Big Thing To Remember – Urine Is Not Water
Many people tend to assume that drinking urine to survive should be done as soon as you have liquid to spare on Day 2 without water. You’re unlikely to be at risk for dehydration at this point, yet even if you were there is a lot to consider here.
The big thing is that you need to actually understand what you’re about to drink. Urine is basically waste that your body has already filtered out. It kept the hydration and nutrients of what you already ate or drank, mixed it with water, and uses urine to expel the waste from your body.
In fact, it’ll essentially work like Coke or Pepsi. These drinks actually do not help much in dehydration moments and can actually cause even more dehydration issues. Some can cause you to be thirsty too. This is obviously not good.
While urine won’t make you thirsty, it won’t help as much as water or other nutrient-filled drinks available. However, it’ll ideally give you enough to get through a few more hours to even a few days depending on the person and how much they drank.
This has often been a concept that survivalists were not in favor of while those with military survival training were often given this concept the most. It seems that the military types learn this because they’re often going to have help coming for them, so drinking urine to survive a short period of time is pretty smart to do.
Survivalists often think about the long-term form of survival and therefore, know urine will not help for long if at all in some cases. Therefore, time should be spent looking for a water source one can exploit. However, survivalists do not consider the problems that military types might face. Therefore, both sides tend to clash here.
There Is A Way It Can Help You
One very important thing to remember about possibly drinking your own urine is that it technically can be useful under certain circumstances. This all depends on the color of the urine really.
For example, if it’s extremely dark then you might just be dehydrated or it could be that you are producing more waste. It could also mean that the Urea, or the main waste your urine expels, is higher. In cases of dark urine, you’re taking a possible risk while drinking it.
However, if the urine is light-colored then you’re not taking as much risk. You’re getting urine that is 90% water and sterile, therefore usually pathogen-free if the person is also healthy. This means it’s technically as safe to drink as it gets and your body could utilize it
The issue here is that the urine you’re drinking is going to contain the same waste product that your body will then filter out again. On top of this, you cannot continue to keep drinking your urine without ever introducing other hydration sources.
Once you drink your urine the first time, the Urea waste is going to be much higher in the second batch of urine. Drinking this again could potentially cause health complications.
Of course, while it can save you from potential dehydration there are some big risks when drinking your own urine. This typically comes in the form of sickness with two prominent diseases being the most common.
The first is typhoid and the second is urinary schistosomiasis. Typhoid is well known but tends to be a disease no one sees any longer. There was an explosion of Typhoid Fever back in the 1930s in Croydon, Surrey. This is mostly in the London, England area today.
This came from several different issues but the lack of chlorinating the water was to blame for a lot of it. That can make the water healthier to drink, which we knew for years beforehand and the English had no excuse for the outbreak.
Typhoid Fever has happened from drinking urine too, and this is not something you want to deal with in a survival situation. Finally, Urinary Schistosomiasis is possible to get from urination as well, though rarer than typhoid. This is essentially a parasitic worm.
Safest Way To Drink Your Own Urine
People tend to think that they must drink their own urine through urinating in some coconut and drinking it on up. However, there are safer options. The first is referred to as Membrane Distillation.
This was done in Belgium a while back where scientists were able to remove 95% of the ammonia from urine and separated the water within it. They were able to do this with a solar-powered boiler and membrane separator, which allows them to get safe water while also taking some of the bad stuff out to use in possible fertilizers too.
Yet you can also do something similar by grabbing a container and getting some plastic. You can use the sun to force the plastic to begin to sweat with the urine on top of it. The plastic will not let any urine pass through it but this WILL allow water to pass via another version of solar distillation.
It’ll take a while to get a lot to drink from this, but it’ll work.
Another way is by using a fire, pot, and urine to cream steam that can be trapped to cause the steamed urine to turn into drinkable water. Just like the former, there’s far less risk of pathogen issues or problematic things coming out of it.
However, it’ll also take a while to get a lot to drink. Either way, this process can be done repeatedly but it’s highly advised that you find a legitimate water source as soon as possible as you’ll soon run out of possible urine to even use.
Can you drink your own urine to survive? Sure. You just need to keep all of this above, in mind.