Skip to content

What's in your urine? Study finds thousands of chemical compounds

Scientists at the University of Alberta have determined that urine comprises roughly 3,000 chemical compounds, or "metabolites." PopSci reports on the scale of this seven-year study's findings:

According to David Wishart, [PhD,] the senior scientist on the project, medical textbooks list anywhere from 50-100 chemical compounds in urine, and standard urine tests (like when you pee into a cup to test for drug use) only check for six or seven compounds.

There's lots of potential reasons why we'd want to know exactly what's going on in our urine; it can help us understand how our diet affects our waste management system, and how our bodies process food and liquid.

In this study, published in PLOS ONE, researchers used a variety of chemical analysis techniques to identify and quantify chemical compounds from the samples and reviewed more than 100 years of scientific literature on urine using data-mining computer techniques, according to a release. The chemical inventory resulting from the study can be found in the Urine Metabolome freely available electronic database.

The release notes that new urine-based diagnostic tests are already being developed for certain types of cancer, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis and more, potentially sparing a patient blood tests or more invasive procedures.

And a fun fact from the study:

The average adult generates between 1.5–2.0 liters of urine per day, which over the course of their lifetime would be enough to fill a small backyard swimming pool (5 X 8 X 1.5 m).

Previously: Study links dental fillings containing bisphenol A with slight psychological changes in children

Popular posts