Urine samples from athletes for drug testing (file image)
The post claims urine contains healing power and drinking it will "enlighten spiritually".

Wee problem with claim drinking urine cures diseases

Nik Dirga August 25, 2022

Drinking urine can prevent, control and even cure diseases such as HIV and cancer.


False. There is no evidence it cures diseases and could even be dangerous.

A Facebook post says drinking urine is an effective natural medicine, and they’re not taking the … well, you know.

But there’s a wee bit of a problem with claims the cure for many chronic diseases may be just a toilet trip away.

The post (screenshot here), shared on a Vanuatu news page on August 12, makes lengthy claims about the benefits of urine therapy as “nature’s gift”.

It says drinking urine can “Prevent, Control and Cure all kinds of chronic diseases such as Cancer, Diabetes, Blood Pressure HIV/AIDS, Kidney failure, Muscular Dystrophy, Arthritis, Psoriasis, Hair loss, Mental Retardation and Cerebral Palsy etc”.

A screenshot of the Facebook post.
 The post says drinking urine has many health benefits including curing chronic disease. 

Similar claims have been doing the rounds for years, but experts told AAP FactCheck there’s no scientific or medical basis to them and drinking urine can actually be quite unsafe.

Ian Musgrave, a molecular pharmacologist and toxicologist at the University of Adelaide, said drinking urine to treat ailments like cancer is a bad idea.

“Urine drinking is a very niche alternative therapy with wildly implausible claims of therapeutic benefit, but with no scientific backing,” Dr Musgrave told AAP FactCheck by email.

“Pursuing urine therapy for these conditions instead of conventional therapy is very dangerous and will potentially lead to death of the people who pursue it.”

Mark McKeage, a pharmacology professor at the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre, agrees.

“In over 25 years of clinical practice as a medical oncologist, I have never used ‘urine therapy’ as a cancer therapy,” Professor McKeage told AAP FactCheck in an email.

“I am unaware of any robust evidence supporting this claim that drinking urine can cure cancer or HIV.”

This specific lengthy post appears multiple times on Facebook pages, as seen here, here and here, and seems to have originated in 2017 via an Indian website. Claims drinking urine can cure COVID-19 have also been debunked.

A toilet being flushed (file image)
 The best place for urine is in a toilet, not inside your stomach. 

The idea of urine therapy has existed for centuries and pops up regularly in certain health fad circles, but medical experts note it has no scientific backing.

There were claims Indian scientists were able to kill cancer cells using cow urine in a 2018 study, but those findings have proven extremely controversial or have been wildly exaggerated in media coverage.

“Cow urine (or its extracts) may very well kill cancer cells or viruses in a test tube, but as I tell my students, so will extracts of old boots (and cyanide), but this does not mean that drinking it will do anything,” Dr Musgrave said.

There are antimicrobial properties to urine, but the fundamental reason for urine is to eliminate waste from the body including the nitrogen-containing waste substance urea.

Dr Musgrave said urea made up approximately two per cent of the volume of urine, which is mostly salty water.

“Drinking urine will not increase the levels of urea in the body to viricidal levels (and it would be very bad for you if it did, the whole point of urine is to get rid of harmful waste products like urea).”

Prof McKeage also noted urine therapy “could be unsafe because of the potential of transmission of infectious organisms”.

The Verdict

A Facebook post’s claim that drinking urine has miraculous health benefits is false. While the idea of drinking urine has been around in certain cultures for centuries, medical experts told AAP FactCheck there is no scientific evidence it cures cancer, diabetes or any other diseases. They say drinking urine may actually be harmful due to the possible transmission of infectious organisms.

False – The claim is inaccurate.

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