You might think that drinking your own urine in a survival situation will keep you hydrated. However it turns out, you are better off avoiding any urine intake to increase your chances of survival. Following is a transcript of the video.
Hopefully, this never happens to you, but let’s say you’ve found yourself in an extreme situation. You’re out of food and water. And the only liquid nearby is…well your own.
You’ve heard about astronauts drinking urine in space. But they have high-tech filtration systems. And you don’t.
Your best option is to drink it straight like Aron Ralston did when he was trapped in a canyon for 127 hours before escape and rescue. So, if Ralston did it and survived, you should too, right?
Depending on the environment, an adult can survive up to a week without water and three weeks without food. But that window quickly narrows when you’re dehydrated, sick, or both.
For that reason, the Army has a Field Manual which has a “do not drink” list for just such an occasion, which includes: Fish juices, blood, alcohol, sea water, and yes, urine.
In fact, when you break it down, urine isn’t that different from seawater. It’s usually around 95% water with a mix of byproducts including sodium, chloride, and urea. Seawater, by comparison, is 96.5% water and 3.5% sodium and chloride. So drinking urine is basically like drinking sea water. It’s going to dehydrate you, which is the opposite of what you want.
To make matters worse, if you keep drinking it, the severe dehydration can trigger abnormally low blood pressure. Low blood pressure means less blood flow to vital organs like your heart, lungs, and kidneys, which can be damaged or fail, as a result. Not good!
Adding to your trouble is that urea. In a word, urea is waste. It’s not supposed to be in your body. That’s why your kidneys filter it out of your blood and into your urine, which, ordinarily, then leaves your system.
But if you drink the urine instead, your kidneys have to work harder to filter out that extra urea, which could also lead to kidney failure. Again, not good! Suffice it to say, drinking urine may be your kidneys’ worst nightmare.
And to top it off, there’s the bacteria. Contrary to popular belief, urine is not sterile. According to one study, it contains at least 85 different bacterial species. Some of the most common are ones like staphylococcus, which is known to cause food poisoning, and actinomyces, which is commonly found in gum infections.
So unless you want sore gums, nausea, and failing organs while you search for rescue, best to avoid that urine cocktail altogether.
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