It has been fabled since the days of Gladiators in Rome that drinking one’s own urine while training for battle provided special nutritional value to the fighters in training. Fighters such as Lyoto Machida, who claims to swill his pee every morning, is one example. These individuals profess that their urine is full of nutrients that their body could not absorb on the first pass. But is there any medical validity to this ancient practice?
Dr. Johnny Benjamin, sports columnist and renowned orthopedic surgeon shared the truth behind this myth with us, “Urine is 95 percent water, 2.5 percent urea, and a 2.5 percent mixture of minerals, salts, hormones, enzymes and non-toxic waste products.
“The practice of drinking urine is certainly not new or limited to a few modern practitioners of combat sports such as world champions Lyoto Machida in MMA and Juan Manuel Marquez in boxing. China, India, the Middle East and Rome all have ancient and modern writings that discuss the willful consumption of urine.
“I recently viewed an HBO 24/7 episode with Mr. Marquez sipping a steaming glass of his golden nectar in preparation for an upcoming fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. I have the utmost respect for Marquez as a champion, but apparently the thought of a potential ass whipping will drive a man to consider a great many things.
“Although the potential benefits and healing capacities of drinking urine have been encouraged for centuries by many cultures, there is no credible medical literature or studies that support these beliefs.
“Urine has been consumed to combat dehydration in extreme survival situations for its 95-percent water content. Also, water is reclaimed from urine, purified and filtered for consumption on the International Space Station.
“Drinking your own urine may reclaim a small bit of water, but if the body didn’t want the other five percent (waste products and the like) during the first time, why would it want it the second time around? Wouldn’t it be easier (and probably considerably tastier) to just sip a tall refreshing glass of H20 and take a multivitamin?”
In addition, proteins are not present in a healthy individual’s urine. Loss of proteins in urine is a sign of kidney problems and necessitates further medical investigation. If you’re looking for extra protein in your diet, we recommend a hearty chicken breast or protein shake after your workout.
As Juan Manuel Marquez says in his HBO clip, he drinks his urine because “that’s where a lot of proteins and vitamins are, part of your vitamin intake, and why not drink them again instead of wasting them?” That’s an interesting question, Dr. Marquez. Our thoughts are that 1) it’s pretty disgusting, and 2) you can consume infinitely superior “proteins and vitamins” from any number of other non-urine-based sources. Are we supposed to believe that hot urine contains super-nutrients that you can’t find at the GNC, and the body is flushing them out of your system? No disrespect to our beloved light-heavyweight champion, but is it possible that the athletes who swear by urine-drinking just enjoy drinking pee? Maybe it simply serves as means of intimidation to the opponent. After all, we wouldn’t fight him.