Is Urea the Same as Uric Acid?

Urea and Uric Acid test

There is a ton of confusing, often misleading information out there today regarding urea and uric acid. Most of it goes something like this: "Urea and uric acid are two names for the same thing" or "Our synthetic urine product contains uric acid, the only thing you'll need to ensure you get a positive result on your next test." 

That all sounds very well and good, but the fact is that neither statement is true. Many labs these days don't test for uric acid and the ones that do only use it as a kind of fallback position because urea can be notoriously fickle and dissipate so quickly that it's hard to detect. Which leads to the first point; that urea and uric acid are the same things. They're not. And below we’ll discuss the difference.

corporate man with questions

People who are either misinformed or trying to angle you toward selecting their product that contains only uric acid will often say that urea and uric acid are the same things. That, in essence, they are two sides of the same coin. This is not true.

A better analogy would be that they are like carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Both of those things result from the burning of fossil fuels and can be found in car exhaust, yet they are fundamentally different compounds. Both urea and uric acid result from metabolic processes and can be found in urine. They are not chemically the same and are not regarded as being interchangeable by the people who conduct drug tests.

The Boring Science of Pee

Before we go any further, let's take a more or less scientific look at these two compounds, what they are and how they are both similar and very different. ("More or less" because we're going to eliminate most of the scientific jargon.)

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    What is Urea? - Urea is the result of a metabolic process. A metabolic process is that which converts food into forms of energy the body can use to power itself. In this case, urea is the result of the metabolizing of proteins and amino acids by the liver. More to the point it is a waste product that moves from the liver into the kidneys before being expelled by the body in urine. The way of sweat also discharges a small percentage of urea. Urea is a toxic substance, which is why the body expels it. But it is also vital because it carries with it excess nitrogen that would otherwise accumulate in the blood. Why is that important? Because excessive nitrogen levels lead to a condition called uremia. Uremia symptoms include confusion, fatigue, general physical weakness, dry mouth, edema, tachycardia, passing out and more. ​
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    ​​Urea has been on the chemist’s radar since 1773 when it was first identified. Some 50 years after its discovery it also became the first organic compound that scientists were able to synthesize. And they have been doing so ever since. Today, laboratories around the country produce some 1 million pounds of synthetic urea every year for use in fertilizers and other products, including synthetic urine.​
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    ​A typical person expels roughly 30 grams of urea every day. Most of it in their pee and the rest of it when they sweat until recently, testing facilities did not check for urea. But as the means of evading the testing machines have grown more sophisticated those labs have changed course and started looking for this most important of indicators that they are dealing with pee and not apple juice.
Uric Acid & Urea Elements
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    ​What is Uric Acid? - Like urea uric acid is a waste product of metabolic processes. In this case, it is produced by the kidneys as the end process of the metabolization of particular nucleotides. Because it originates in the kidneys the only mechanism for expelling uric acid is through urination. That's in contrast to urea, some of which is excreted via sweat. Humans are not the only animals that generate uric acid. Birds and reptiles also produce this metabolic waste product. In those animals however uric acid is expelled in both solid and liquid forms, mostly solid. While in humans uric acid is always expelled during urination.

​​So What’s the Difference as Far as Testing is Concerned?

Let’s see if we can clarify this issue for you a bit more thoroughly by taking things point by point.

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    ​Uric acid and urea both result from metabolic processes - Urea is a byproduct of the liver metabolizing amino acids and proteins. Uric acid, on the other hand, is produced during the final stages of the metabolic process of specific nucleotides by the kidneys. The two have fundamentally different chemical structures.
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    ​Urea and uric acid are expelled differently - Most of the urea your body produces is expelled in urine. However, a small proportion is discharged in sweat as well. Uric acid on the other hand, because the kidneys produce it, is only expelled by way of urine.
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    ​Uric acid is not a reliable indicator - The fact that a sample contains uric acid is not a reliable indicator that it is pee and not some fake.
laboratory yellow liquid test
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    ​Urea is a good indicator that pee came from a person and not a lab. As a result, many companies have begun looking for urea or both urea and uric acid, rather than merely checking for uric acid.
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    ​Beware uric acid only - If you are in need of a synthetic urine product beware of those that advertise they contain uric acid and/or state that uric acid is the same as urea. It is not. Chances are if a drug testing company is looking for one of these metabolites it is urea they are looking for, not uric acid.

It's essential that anyone in search of a synthetic urine product make sure that the product contains both uric acid and urea. Any synthetic urine sample that does not contain urea runs the genuine risk of being deemed non-human, which means a failed drug test and botched career.

About the Author Anna Miller

Anna is a content writer, blogger, and entrepreneur. When she is not spending time managing and supervising her business, Lindsley's Lumber, Anna creates content for her synthetic urine website. Aside from being an entrepreneur and blogger, she is also a pet lover, loves to cook and maintain her home garden. You can find out more about me here.

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