Life & Style Magazine

What is urea?

Urea, (NH2)2CO, is an organic chemical compound which essentially is the waste produced when the body metabolizes protein. It is a compound not only produced by humans but also by many other mammals, as well as amphibians and some fish. Urea was the first natural compound to be synthesized artificially using inorganic compounds— a scientific breakthrough. Urea was discovered in 1773 by the French chemist Hillaire Rouelle. In 1828, just 55 years after its discovery, it became the first organic compound to be synthetically formulated, this time by a German chemist named Friedrich Wöhler, one of the pioneers of organic chemistry.

The body produces urea each time the liver breaks down amino acids and protein. The urea helps excrete the excess nitrogen. It is highly efficient at this, being very soluble. The typical human being produces an average of 30 grams of urea in a day. Given this, doctors will check the levels of urea in patients to check for any signs of kidney malfunctioning, dehydration, or excessive protein intake.

urea composition