Medical and Science Records and Facts

Why is Urine Yellow and is it Safe to Drink

Urine kick to flush by Robert S. Donovan, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic LicensePhoto by  Robert S. Donovan

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

  1. Certain medications, blackberries or beetroot, and also blood being present in urine may cause it to have a reddish-brown color.
  2. Asparagus may cause urine to take on a green tint and become quite smelly.
  3. Dark orange, yellow or brown urine can appear if someone is jaundiced. This is due to having too much bile pigment in their blood.
  4. Vitamin B supplements can cause urine to become bright yellow.
  5. 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! 🙂

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20 thoughts on “Why is Urine Yellow and is it Safe to Drink
  1. err yuk ..seriously? LOL. If you have a sty on your eye …dab a drop on it and it’ll soon clear up. 🙂

    Jackie @ Minerva Collection UK Handbags

    1. Yes Jackie, I’ve heard that it’s great for a stye. Someone would have to throw it on me without my knowledge in order for me to try it though. lol

    1. Actually you can, but I’m sure it’s quite the acquired taste. Drinking your urine can possibly put contaminants back into your body that it is trying to get rid of. But as long as there is no infection present in your urine, it is safe to drink.

      But I would not recommend it, nor would I do it myself!

  2. Wow, I’ll never look at pee the same way again. I can remember when one of my high school teachers told the class that Some ancient civilizations used Urine as a form of toothpaste. That’s probably the only thing I remember from that class. LOL

    1. Yah, that’s crazy stuff. It was actually the ancient Romans that used urine in their toothpaste. Possibly because of the ammonia present in urine, it is a natural teeth whitener. 😀

  3. There is a whole science that study urine, seriously. i even saw a book , a huge book about to to recover from cancer with urine therapy…

    1. Very interesting Evan, thanks for the info. I’ll for sure be checking into some of those studies for more enlightenment.

  4. lol. Part of my thinks this is the most useful post I’ve read, ever. The other part is asking me what the hell did I just read.
    Ashamed to admit, I want to try the beetroot, blackberry thing and see what color pops out.

    1. lol, definitely keep us posted on your experiment James. I can’t wait to hear the results!

  5. lol, i’ll never drink my urine, even though if it makes me more healthy 😉

    1. I agree…I most definitely will not be the next one in line to do this either. But even disgusting things can be quite interesting don’t ya think? 🙂

  6. OMG..i can’t imagine drinking my own pee. It’s’s already got out of the i don’t think my body need it anymore. Why would it be great for medication ?

    1. That’s very true eddy. The urine does contain a lot of toxins that our bodies have excreted, but it also contains vitamins as well. I personally don’t think it’s worth a few extra vitamins to drink my own urine. Think I’ll stick to a Fiber One bar. lol

  7. hey sorry didnt see anywhere else to submit this, please feel free to delete after you have read it Robert. I thought you might like to edit a typo though…

    Vitamin B supplements can cause urine to become bight yellow.

    1. Hi Roy, thanks so much for pointing that out to me. I’ve made the correction. Thanks and hope you stop by again.

  8. When I was younger and I did step onto sea urchin my grandmother asked my cousin to pee on my foot. I knew it was gross but I had no choice to aid the pain. My swollen and painful foot was gradually fading, somehow. I do not know the underlying reason behind it.

    1. Very interesting Carol…I hear that is also a good remedy for jelly fish stings. I know it does sound like an odd remedy but it works very well!

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