Is It Ok To Drink Your Own Urine?


“If you drink your urine 7 times then on the seventh time, its toxic,” Martina said at the dinner table. We were eating pasta that I had cooked.

“How do they know that?” I said.

“I don’t know,” she said, “I just heard that.”

We were talking about surviving in the desert and you are dying of thirst. If you drink your urine, pee it out, drink it again, pee it out, etc then on the seventh time, its toxic.

“I’d probably stop on the fifth time,” I said. “Why take chances?” I mean, did they test this out at the FDA and on the 7th drink, everyone died?

My youngest asked Martina, “Could you beat Cody at basketball?” Cody was a friend of ours who had played basketball for the University of New Mexico. Martina was visiting for a few days.

“No,” she said, and we all felt deflated by this. Martina had let us down. We had spoken for weeks before her visit about how she could probably dust Cody on a basketball court. She was 6’6” and had played professional women’s basketball.

“Men are different,” she said, “I don’t know what it is, but they are just faster and stronger at basketball. Even a pro woman player would have trouble against a great high school male player.”

“What was it like to play in the Olympics?” I asked her.

“It was great,” she said, “ because Canada hadn’t placed in a long time. So in 1996 the US had automatically placed in so that gave our zone an extra spot. So Canada got in, but we didn’t do very well.”

“How did you go pro after that?”

“I had to get an agent,” she said, “but then the pay wasn’t very well anyway. Maybe $2000 a month. But hey, I was 22 years old, traveling around Europe and making enough money. It was fun.”

“But,” she said, “I didn’t have the passion for it like I have now for yoga.”

Martina is visiting Claudia. They were spending their time doing yoga and talking about yoga and writing about yoga and talking about teaching yoga.

(Claudia and Martina)

The only time I ever spent real time on basketball was when I was daytrading for hedge funds and I needed to get some physical exercise in before the day started.

Particularly on days after I lost a ton of money. The pain inside of me was so bad I thought I was going to die.  I’d either have to play basketball or jump in the river and let the currents take me where they will. That’s because there was a basketball court right next to the river and train tracks.

I’d play “round the world” with myself. The train would every now and then pass by.

I’d feel sorry for the frying pan faces of the people staring out the window at 5 in the morning. They had a 90 minute commute. The city was going to eat them alive and whatever was left was going to take the 90 minute commute back later that night. A little piece of themselves gnashed off by the teeth of capitalism.

But even they had it better than me. Every day they knew they would come home with a little more money than they left with. For me, every day was up in the air. I could make money or I could lose money. Sometimes a lot. But you have to learn how to manage the stress. To keep going.

By 6am the local café would be opening. I had three books with me each day. One about chess, one about spirituality (a different book each day) and one about business or investing. Then I had a waiters pad and I’d start to take my notes for the day. I’d list who I would approach to invest in me, what other trading systems I could build, what other businesses I could start. I’d brainstorm after reading.

I’d stay there for at least an hour and a half, until I was sure that my kids were on their way to school. I wanted to return to an empty house. I wanted nothing to do with waking them up, dressing them, feeding them, transporting them. In 12 years of fatherhood I have never changed a diaper. Judge me if you want.

So if I was early I’d go to the Catholic church across the street and I’d just sit there. I was Jewish, had studied and practiced just about every other religion except for Catholicism. But my kids were Catholic because my ex was. “My kids are Catholic,” I would say to Jesus, “so please make my trades work out today.”

I was the only one at the church but one time I saw a priest peaking out at me. What troubles could this man be going through, he must have been thinking, to pray here by himself, on his knees like the most devoted worshipper of Christ our Lord and Savior.

(I sincerely wanted Jesus to help me with my trades)

But all I was praying for was a little bit of extra money that day. And that if God was truly Great he’d make the market move in the direction my computer programs were telling me they would go. I had a lot of people who depended on me and even though I wasn’t such a good person maybe  one of them were and please god, think of them and  not me when you determine the direction of the market today. Because they need the money and at least one of them has been good enough to you to deserve the money that I was going to make for them today.

Then I’d get home. At 9:30am I’d put the trade on. And there was those days where the trade would go instantly against me. And there’s no solace on those days. Every second I’d be losing money. And I’d feel it in my head and my stomach. Every tick down and I knew I was going to go broke. Again. And there was no more down I could go.

Where would I move now. I already moved here after going broke. Now where was I going to move? To the gutter? Would the rest of my family have to move in with in-laws?

And then one day the IRS wrote me a very stern letter about something that had happened years earlier. Now I even had more problems. And another day my dad had a stroke. And with my dad in a coma from the stroke, the IRS on my back, my biggest mentor firing me (even though I was up 100% for himi that year),  and trades against me and two little girls getting bigger I’d pound my head against the keyboard when the trades were going against me. How would Stevie Cohen hire me now when I was such a loser?

I had no skills at all and I had no background. I was no longer an Internet guy. I wasn’t a finance guy. My entrepreneurship in the 90s I considered to be a matter of luck because of the 90s boom. I couldn’t write articles about stocks because what did I know? My trades that day were going against me and nothing else was important. Please tell me, google, is it really true that if I put 3 cigarettes in a glass of water over night and then took the cigarettes out in the morning that I could drink that water and have a fatal heart attack within sixty seconds? Is it true? Because I needed to know. But Google, supposedly the brain of the planet, never had an answer to that question.

Someone the other day asked me if I still daytrade? Are you crazy? I wrote back. I needed to live past the age of 40. Nobody should daytrade.

“Daddy, we’re home!” my girls would shout around 3PM.  And if someone told me right then and there that I needed to drink my urine six times but NO MORE, I most certainly would’ve gone back to the well for the 8th.

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  • Anonymous

    I’ve drank my own urine. It was pretty foul. No, it was REALLY foul. I don’t recommend it.

    • H2O

      Clean body, clean urine. Tsk tsk.

  • Pete M

    No it’s not.

    Great article.

  • Bearish Grillz

    Bear Grylls seems to like it.

  • Hui

    Amaroli – Urine Therapy is a Yoga Practice

  • jel

    love this! ex stockbroker can totally relate, still feel the panic if i think about it, your writing really helps!

  • wsc

    Wolfram Alpha.  Random, I know. 

  • Hee

    “priest peaking out at me”

    typo? or priest abuse joke?

  • Bbstammis

    I have four kids (one is named Josie).  A couple years ago I calculated I had changed over a thousand diapers, a conservative estimate.  Sometimes, sir, it is so hard to not hate you. (insert smiling emoticon here)

  • Anonymous

    Urophagia is painless.  Pain, as Catholics well know, is necessary for successful self-flagellation. 

  • Brooke Farmer

    This is such an intense post. Love it. 

    I am really glad you’re not day trading anymore.. 

  • Ruth Hickerson

    Love your writing style. Look forward to reading each post.

  • Nina

    It is a brave thing to be so brutally honest with yourself.

  • cindyluwho

    Great Post!!! I always look forward to what you have to say…you have a gift.

  • AltucherFan

    Claudia looks tiny next to Martina. Mmm.

  • AltucherFan

    Claudia looks tiny next to Martina. Mmm.

  • 736hundred

    “The pain inside of me was so bad I thought I was going to die.”

    I can relate.

    • mousketeer

      I like some of the stuff on your blog/page, whatever it is.  Also a cutie!  ;-)

    • Brooke Farmer

      I think we all can at one point or another. 

  • martina jerant

    i have to be careful what i say around you :) i did some fact checking and came up empty handed. i have no idea where i got the seven figure. my brother often questions my facts if they’re real or “martina facts.” does anyone know where i might have heard this?

    • James Altucher

      Thats ok, Martina. Whether it is fact or not, not many people will have to try out the theory. And more interesting was the basketball stuff! 

      • yumme yumme yumme

        You may think I’m joking, but I mean every word I’m about to type: Urine is very good for you.  If you follow a plant-based diet with no chemically-processed foods, don’t smoke, don’t take lots of caffeine, etc., then you will find your body supercharged if you just drink a little of your first urine in the morning.  Take it from the middle of the stream much as a nurse would have you collect for urinalysis work.  If you don’t believe me then I invite you to do some googling.  You will find a growing-movement of pissdrinkers and a growing body of great literature both online and in print on the subject.  Happy drinking, and to good health!

        • G. Ribeiro

          this topic pisses me off

  • Anonymous

    would love to hear more about the “very stern letter” and how you dealt with it…scary!

  • Todd Haugen

    In your last paragraph, are you saying when your girls came home you wished you could commit suicide or are you saying at that point, nothing can kill you?

  • Andrew Ramponi

    OK. Strange perhaps, but completely true.

    Years, maybe a lifetime ago I had developed an itching allergy from some washing powder. Various doctors told me to take antihystamine to reduce the itching saying it can take some time for the body to rebalance after some thing triggers a reaction. Every time I reduced the antihystamine to see if the itch had gone it’d still be there so I started to get more desperate, as you do.
    I came across a book , I think called “The Water of Life” which advocated a heap of good reasons to drink ones own urine. The emphasis was on first thing in the morning “first draught mid-stream”. So, with nothing it seemed to lose and much to gain (?) I started a course of drinking my own urine.

    Truthfully the first few mornings was a gagging experience, not as bad as some of the worst tasting food I’ve tried over the years but still pretty bad. Then it just got easier and easier – the awesome power of habit. I even started to get into the nuances of the taste on different mornings; I remember particularly after a beer drinking session what surprised me was the urine was for the first time cool instead of warm.

    Anyway, a few weeks later and with no apparent change in the itching, spots appeared on my forehead, and, worse, at times I’d belch in the morning at work (in the hats and hosiery department of Harrods, London) and get a slightly unpleasant repeat of the taste. So, experiment over, I stopped and have never had the temptation to try it again. (the allergy finally went went some time later after shiatsu treatment but that’s another story) 

    My conclusion is there is no harm in drinking ones own urine. Possibly though the main good is finding out it does no harm. I don’t suggest anyone tries it, but if they are truly curious then go ahead, just take “first draught, mid-stream…”

  • Zachary Burt

    I love you man

  • Zachary Burt

    “If you drink your urine 7 times then on the seventh time, its toxic,” Martina said at the dinner table. We were eating pasta that I had cooked.Great Writing

  • RacerRick

    I know a guy, a doctor actually, who used to regularly drink his own urine.  He had some rationale that I should remember but all I can recall is that he drank his own urine. 

  • FX

    This is getting better and better..

  • Msstrong24

    Complimentary to the “Was it Worth It?” piece.  Everyone on Earth goes through rough times.  I think you do a great job of inspiring people to tough those times out.  And when one does, the good times are all the more sweeter.

  • Matt

    World Champ Manny Pacquiao drinks his own urine.

  • Bdtarzantx

    The idea of this notion, “drinking one’s own urine”… who thought this would be a good idea?  I read earlier that someone stated that pound for pound champ, Manny Pacquiao, drinks his own urine.  I’ve never heard that, and I follow boxing like a rabid fan, so I doubt it… but could be true- stranger things happen.  Juan Manual Marquez, who will fight Pacquiao for the third time in November, reportedly (via HBO 24/7) drank his own urine as some ancient Mexican warrior formula to tap into inner spiritual strength as he was training for an important fight.  A bunch of crap if ya ask me, and I doubt they were actually serious about it.  His trainer, Nacho Beristen, and him were probably laughing at the inside joke, and amused that HBO would buy in to such nonsense.

    By the way, James, I like your blob- just happened upon it recently.

  • Rohit Gupta

    I had a fascination for finance, which is waning every passing day as I read your posts excavating them from the recesses of history. I still have a couple of tabs open!