What is Urine?
Scientists are beginning to understand urine by analysis. Their studies have found 3,000 compounds in this sterile fluid, and have published the current state of analysis in an online database.
In the seven year study the researchers found that at least 3,079 chemical compounds can be found in urine. 72 of these compounds are byproducts produced by bacteria, while 1,453 are produced by the body in various chemical reactions. Then there are 2,282 that come from diet, drugs, cosmetics or environmental exposure. This is why one should be careful not to do urine therapy when you are taking pharmaceuticals, because there is a possibility of overdose of the drugs. You are ingesting some of that back into your system which may be a problem.
“Urine is an incredibly complex biofluid. We had no idea there could be so many different compounds going into our toilets,” said a study researcher, David Wishart, who is a professor of biology and computing science at the University of Alberta.
The list of known metabolites that have been found in human urine using current technologies is currently posted in an online database called the Urine Metabolome Database. Metabolome has to do with to the metabolites, which are the products of metabolism and include hormones, vitamins and other molecules.
Scientists seem to agree that the chemical complexity of urine makes it a substance hard to fully understand. Urine typically contains metabolic breakdown products from various foods, drinks, drugs, environmental contaminants, waste metabolites of the body and bacterial by-products.
When compared to other body fluids like saliva or cerebrospinal fluid, urine contains an estimated 5 to 10 times more chemical and biochemical compounds.
The researchers surprisingly found over 480 compounds in urine, which were not previously reported as being in the blood. The scientists have thought the chemicals in urine were just a subset of compounds found in the blood.
Why might that be?
“The fact that so many compounds seem to be unique to urine likely has to do with the fact that the kidneys do an extraordinary job of concentrating certain metabolites from the blood,” the researchers wrote.
But who really knows. That is their speculation.
The database of known chemical composition is not a finished project. The scientist themselves even say that it will continue to grow as new techniques and instruments become available to identify additional compounds.
“This is certainly not the final word on the chemical composition of urine,” Wishart said.