The researchers, hard at work.
Elycefeliz
The researchers, hard at work.

It’s almost weird that we DIDN’T know exactly what was in pee before (other than drinkable deliciousness — thanks, Ke$ha!). But now, seven years after they started on this epic quest, scientists have returned from the Lost City of Atlan-piss. (If you don’t like potty humor, urine for a real headache.) And by that I mean that researchers just published an exhaustive guide to the 3,000-plus chemical compounds in wee for the VERY FIRST TIME.

Live Science has the story:

[R]esearchers found that at least 3,079 compounds can be detected in urine. Seventy-two of these compounds are made by bacteria, while 1,453 come from the body itself. Another 2,282 come from diet, drugs, cosmetics or environmental exposure (some compounds belong to more than one group).

“Urine is an incredibly complex biofluid. We had no idea there could be so many different compounds going into our toilets,” said study researcher David Wishart…

Ahhh. Our much-maligned liquid gold is as rich in intrigue as it is, uh, accessibility:

“Urine has long been a ‘favored’ biofluid among metabolomics researchers,” because it is sterile and can be obtained easily in large volumes, the scientists wrote …

OR IS IT a favorite because it’s just plain funny? Especially when you stick the hand of a sleeping research fellow into some warm water, right?!

However, the chemical complexity of urine has made it a difficult substance to fully understand, the researchers said. As a biological waste material, urine typically contains metabolic breakdown products from a wide range of foods, drinks, drugs, environmental contaminants, waste metabolites of the body and bacterial by-products.

Perhaps piss holds the key to unlocking the truth about all the toxins that get in our bodies, whether from pollution, pesticides, meat treated with hormones, BPA, or something else. What a chamber-pot of secrets.