Ok, I know this is an odd thought, but that’s what I’m all about right? Anyway, I was thinking, why is urine yellow? Out of all the colors in the world, why is our urine yellow.
So of course I went on a quest to find the answers for us all.
The Color of Urine
According to my research, I found out that each of our kidneys contain approximately a million nephrons. Nephrons are tiny filtration units, this is where our urine is actually made. Our kidneys act as filters to catch substances that our bodies do not need and expell them from our bodies. It is actually our blood which is being filtered through the kidneys. Our kidneys are extremely good at what they do, so not much gets past them. But beware, they can get overworked and give out on us if we insist on putting a lot of things into our bodies that will be rejected.
Anyway, the yellow color that we associate with urine is caused by a pigmented substance that’s called bile. Bile is released into the small intestine by way of our gallbladder. Bile is essential in breaking down fats that we eat throughout the day. But I’m sure most of us have noticed at one time or another that the color of our urine doesn’t always stay the same shade of yellow.
Sometimes our urine may be almost clear like water, and can get as dark as an orange color. This will all depend on how much water it contains. If we’ve been drinking a lot of water and haven’t sweat much of it out, then the color of our urine will be lighter, maybe even clear. But if we get dehydrated from not drinking enough water then our urine may become very dark in color and will even take on a stronger odor. This may also be caused by sweating too much which can also cause us to become dehydrated.
The Smell of Urine
The color of urine is not the only trait that will change. It may be completely odorless, or it may have a distinctive smell often times described as earthy or nutty. The myth that urine is a sterile substance is not entirely true. It is actually a sterile substance while in the body and as it leaves the bladder. Unless of course there is an infection present. But once the urine is exposed to the air, it will begin breaking down due to bacteria. This bacteria can come from the outer part of the urinary tract as well as the skin.
Bacteria is actually the cause for the salts that are present in urine. These salts will be converted into many different chemicals, including ammonia, which is why urine is often referred to as smelling like it. It is quite pungent and a very unpleasant smell.
Hydration is not the only factor that may affect the color and odor of our urine.
5 Factors that Affect the Color and Smell of Urine
- Certain medications, blackberries or beetroot, and also blood being present in urine may cause it to have a reddish-brown color.
- Asparagus may cause urine to take on a green tint and become quite smelly.
- Dark orange, yellow or brown urine can appear if someone is jaundiced. This is due to having too much bile pigment in their blood.
- Vitamin B supplements can cause urine to become bright yellow.
- There are also many diseases which can influence the smell of urine. E. Coli bacteria can cause a terrible odor and Diabetes or starvation may cause a sweet and fruity smell.
Is it Safe to Drink Your Own Urine
I know this is quite disgusting, at least in my book it is. But you know we’ve all heard tales of people doing this, especially during survival cases where they did it to keep hydrated.
But there are a select few out there that believe a regular dose of ones own urine may help keep you healthy.
Actually for thousands of years people have drank urine for medical and religious reasons. During the 1600s the common belief was that if you drank your own urine it could cure you of depression, gout, toothaches, high fevers and even heartburn.
During the 1700s there was a French dictionary of drugs that contained this advice:
“Fresh urine, two or three glasses drunk in the morning, fasting, is good against gout, hysterical vapors and obstructions.”
If we take a look at modern day, there are still folks out there that say drinking urine is good for fighting colds and the flu. Some also believe it will help against a toothache, dry skin, baldness and even cancer!
The Medical Facts
Drinking urine really shouldn’t cause any harm to the body, mainly because it is approximately 95% water. It also contains salts, vitamins, proteins, hormones and antibodies. But here’s the deal. Our kidneys are designed to remove toxins and waste from our blood, and if we drink our urine, we are essentially putting these things back into our bodies again. Aside from that, our bodies are designed to deal with most of what we throw at them.
As discussed earlier, urine is usually sterile unless there is an infection present. But the longer urine is in the air, once leaving the bladder, it can grow bacteria. Thus drinking infected urine will cause any infection to spread throughout the body if ingested.
So I guess caution should be used if you decide to make yourself a yellow cocktail, although I wouldn’t suggest it personally. Just the thought of drinking urine is pretty much all it takes for me to get rid of my last meal. But to each their own.
Hopefully this has been interesting and informative, if you have anything you would like to add, then help yourselves to a big glass of comments! 🙂
20 thoughts on “Why is Urine Yellow and is it Safe to Drink”
The only reason I would drink it is in a survival situation! Yuck -generally!
But I have heard it is the best thing to use to clean an oil painting safely without damaging it.
(I love your blog by the way.)
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